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An early adopter, Facebook is still leading DevOps best-practices

Facebook has become a marque organization by embracing a DevOps-style philosophy. It’s a model worth following, and one companies should follow to compete.

"DevOps" may seem like a recent trend, but to some organizations, it’s old news. For Facebook, crucial tenets of DevOps like automation and continuous improvement have been standard practice for years, even if the company didn’t organize these interconnected agendas under the umbrella of DevOps.

Thanks to Facebook and some of its contemporaries, software development and deployment (along with customer expectations) have been forever changed. In fact, it's to the point that companies not willing to adapt to the new, fast-paced development and delivery cycle like Facebook DevOps, often find themselves at a competitive disadvantage.

Take, for example, Facebook's mobile app: it's updated every two weeks, effectively telling users, "You can have what you want, and you can have it now." That doesn't exactly bode well for the old way of doing things, at least not if you want your company to survive. In this day and age, if your product is buggy  – or even just suffering a stale set of features desperate for a refresh – those fixes and/or updates simply cannot wait, and a DevOps-style philosophy is exactly how Facebook makes sure that they don't.

Facebook accomplishes this through a code ownership model that makes its developers responsible--that includes testing and supporting through production and delivery--for each kernel of code they write and update. It’s through policies like these that Facebook has developed a DevOps culture.

While it's true that certain aspects like code ownership and incremental changes have long been a part of their toolbox, Facebook continues to adopt new tools and strategies as it strives for faster, smoother development and delivery processes. For instance, Facebook recently migrated all of its infrastructure and back-end IT to Chef and turned off CFEngine servers, a move that took three years due to the scale of the structural change, but will soon pay off in the form of better OS speed and management efficiency.

It's important to remember, however, that Facebook isn't the only company using DevOps; just because they were one of the pioneers doesn't mean that your company can't compete too. After all, it's not like DevOps is an expensive product or tangible solution that only filthy rich companies like Facebook can afford. It's a paradigm shift that, with the right leadership and dedication, can and should be used by anyone who wants keep up with the competition in this fast-paced, altered landscape.

This was last published in March 2017

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