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The Role of DevOps in Building Startups — Rob Hirschfeld // RackN

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When you’re building something that needs to run people’s production data centers, or people start depending on your product, they don’t want it to be an MVP; they want that DevOps discipline of building CI and CD systems, testing, security checks, and all those pieces. Want to know more? Listen to Rob Hirschfeld, CEO and Founder of RackN, as he discusses the role of DevOps in building startups.

About The Speaker:

Rob Hirschfeld
Rob HirschfeldFounder & CEO
Rob has been in the cloud and infrastructure space for 20 years and has done everything from start-ups working with early ESX betas to serving four terms on the OpenStack Foundation Board and as an executive at Dell. As leader on, he believes that the technology of running data centers and applications on cloud is just part of the bigger story. He trained as an Industrial Engineer and carries a passion for applying Lean and Agile processes to software delivery. Rob has received degrees from Duke University and Louisiana State University.

Episode Resources:

Check out

Rob Hirschfeld: Website // LinkedIn // Twitter

Etienne de Bruin: Website // LinkedIn // Twitter

Show Notes


Are DevOps and startups mutually exclusive?

If you look at DevOps as a systems-thinking approach to building infrastructure and creating pipelines and automation, then no, startups more desperately than any other company need to have a DevOps approach.


Systems thinking applied to DevOps, whats that about?

DevOps is built on the principles of Deming, just-in-time manufacturing, and things like that. And so those concepts are the lifeblood of startups.


Unpacking DevOps. What does it mean?

DevOps is tied into how we run infrastructure. How are we operating the infrastructure? How do we create automation?


What role does DevOps play in a startup that is rushing to find a minimum viable product?

The challenge for any startup is to not confuse building their technology stack with getting product viability fit.


Why not just do those build systems right from the get

You do have to be careful that you don’t let building for your scale targets interfere with building sufficient scale. If you solve all of your future problems, you might never have those future problems. And it’s very hard to know where what those future problems are going to be.


Gold Law of systems thinking and why it matters

Any complex system that works inevitably was built on a simple system that worked.


What is the most simple build system or automation that startups should have?

As a minimum, you should have a gated review git process.