Day in the Life of DevOps at Allianz GDF

Meet Harshavardhan Nayak C.

“As a DevOps & Cloud Enthusiast, I take the pleasure of harnessing integration, interaction and innovation here at GDF, a prodigy unit of Allianz Technology.”  

In what follows I’ll walk you through my average day as a DevOps Engineer and try to shed some light on what our Team works on. 

In 3 words I would describe my work as:  

- Release on demand 

- Eliminate technical debt and repetitive work 

- Fail smart/fast/safe 

Harsha portrait

A typical day would start with a daily standup. During the meeting, we discuss tasks for the day, any issues that came up and whether the build and deploy pipelines is working correctly etc. Since DevOps is an iterative process, there is a lot of back and forth assessing priorities regarding each code configuration and deployment, fixing bugs, defining the next iteration, and testing cycles, in short - a very dynamic setup.

DevOps is the combination of cultural philosophies, practices, and tools that increases an organization’s ability to deliver applications and services at high velocity: evolving and improving products at a faster pace.  My area of expertise demands:

Make sure that the pipeline is running smoothly –  One of the most important tasks of a DevOps engineer is to ensure CI/CD pipeline is intact, fixing any issue or failure with it is the #1 priority for the day. They often need to spend time on troubleshooting, analyzing and providing fixes to issues.

Interaction with other teams – Co-ordination and collaboration is the key for DevOps to be successful and hence daily integration with Dev and QA team, Program management, IT is always required.

Work on Automation Backlog – Automation is soul of DevOps, so we need to plan it out and I can see DevOps engineers spending lots of time behind the keyboard working on Automating stuff on daily basis.

Infrastructure & Configuration Management – I am responsible for maintaining and managing the infrastructure and making sure that the services are up and running and being used optimally is also part of my daily schedule. Ex. Working on Backup, High Availability, New Platform setup etc. 

Dealing with Legacy stuff – Its typically not so easy to move away from a legacy infrastructure for varied reasons and DevOps engineers are no exception in planning and implementation of legacy services. Hence, I do need to spend time supporting, modernizing and cloudification of services. 

Exploring & Innovation – DevOps leverage a lot from the various tools which are available, there are many open-source options out there and we need to keep an eye on this to make sure the adoptions are apt as necessary. 

Removing bottleneck – DevOps primary purpose is identifying the bottlenecks / Manual handshakes and work with everyone involved (Dev / QA and all other stakeholder) and eliminate them. 

Documentation – I make it a point to spend some quality time on a daily basis working on the documentation artifacts. Be it updating server Information, confluence pages, Scrum / Kanban board or Simple steps to configure / backup or modify the infrastructure. 

Training and Self Development – Self leaning, and Training is very useful in getting better understanding and Allianz Technology encourages their employees to take the time out and do some of these. I personally enjoy attending technical conferences, meetups, and getting some certifications. 

Continuous Improvement as Practice – Last but not the least, it’s up to the DevOps folks to build awareness on the potential of CI/CD and DevOps practices and building a culture of leveraging it for doing things better, reducing re-work, increasing the productivity and optimizing the use of existing resources. I make it a point to volunteer in meetups, internal conferences like eMerge to build the DevOps and Continuous Improvement culture. 

I am currently engaged with infrastructure migration topics, DevOps for Frontend and BFF, Allianz developer portal (More about this in another article. Stay tuned) 

What I like best is DevOps relies on individuals across functions working together toward the same objective — rapid, continuous delivery of high-quality code. To succeed in this endeavor, DevOps engineers are the engine that makes the team go. They are the ones who enable practitioners through automated tools, testing, orchestration techniques and communication to efficiently satisfy their customers. 

DevOps signifies a culture shift within technology, unifying development skills with interpersonal skills, critical thinking and a desire to initiate positive change. Possessing both technical and soft skills allow you to collaborate with multiple teams and have an overarching view of the business. The integrative, cross-functional culture behind DevOps will shape the technology landscape going forward, so pursuing a DevOps Engineer role will equip you with a varied skillset that will boost your career. 

Behind the scenes look

Working Remote:

Nine months into a monumental shift to work-from-home, I am more convinced about the productivity achieved, but I am no closer to giving up the office space. That being said, working remotely has been phenomenal and smart, thanks to Allianz Technology for the support through thick and thin. 

Advice for future DevOps Engineer:

For me, being a DevOps engineer is about working on a wide variety of tasks with a wide variety of technologies and tools with passion. It’s understanding the bigger picture and being able to investigate issues efficiently. It’s challenging, scary, and often frustrating but It’s hugely satisfying.   

When I manage to implement improvements that help others develop software more easily, or when I figure out some issue I had absolutely zero chance of solving just a short time ago. 

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