Past, present, future of SysOps, DevOps, SRE, and beyond

Marcelo Barbosa
4 min readMay 6, 2022

I’ve been studying and working in the infrastructure area for a long time, so I believe that many things that have happened in my career are starting to make sense now. What motivates me to create this article and share it with all of you.

Booted up in 1993, this server still runs — but not for much longer

SysOps

At the beginning of my career, around 1993, I didn’t have the slightest idea of ​the direction I’ll go or if I wanted to be an engineer, and in what area I would work. The times were very different from today.

In my first experiences as ​​SysOps, I received the guidance that it is not necessary to coding necessary or know any programming language, just small scripts in Bash. At that time, we had an internal knowledge base where all the processes and tasks, such as preparing a server, configuring some services, or making a backup, were defined by documents step-by-step. If we received a demand to deploy many servers, we did a task force with the whole team dividing activities. It was something very primitive and somewhat repetitive, and error-prone. I realized that we could not scale if we continued working similarly.

Another aspect that was present was the divisions of departments. Software engineers did not interact with SysOps engineers. We thought they should develop better software without any knowledge or interaction with infrastructure specialists moving away from the environment in which the software would run from those who created it. Huge mistake if we think about it nowadays.

SysOps was glamorous, arrogant, slow, and unable to meet business demands regardless of the organization’s size.

NASA computer array in 2010

DevOps

Between 2007 and 2008, the DevOps movement started to gain traction, bringing new concepts to the infrastructure area together with the Agile movement. Those concepts appeared with many promises, and the new order was to break down the barriers between software engineering and infrastructure. Teams experimented with new work models, sizes, etc. New tools emerged as others came back to the whiteboard. The requirements were changing, and some of our gaps were…

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