Ben Zvan

Title: What if You Can’t Tear Down All The Silos?


We keep hearing that to 'do DevOps right' we need to tear down all the silos in order to get everyone collaborating as well as just cooperating. How do we continue to benefit from DevOps practices when the silos are there for the foreseeable future and may actually have some benefit, even if only perceived?

In a large enterprise, dedicated operations groups frequently serve multiple development groups, using the specialization of these groups to increase efficiency by having a smaller operations staff. These organizations use separation of duties to avoid real or apparent conflicts of interest and a higher level of security. Silos become firmly embedded because they work in these situations.

When silos are entrenched and can’t be torn down, or even when they’re just dictated above our pay grades, how can we use DevOps to increase collaboration and empathy? What other concepts of DevOps can we use to reduce the pain? What can operations teach development and learn from development to make systems more reliable and IT more successful?

In this session, I’ll present my version of the DevOps philosophy and how it can be applied in an enterprise environment without tearing down all the silos. I’ll tell success stories and failures as well as discussing continuing challenges to make improvements and change the culture in the trenches.


Ben Zvan

Ben Zvan


Ben Zvan is an IT professional who has been using Linux since 1996. He started his professional Ops career at the University of Minnesota in 2006 and moved to Capella University, a for-profit university in Minnesota, in 2011. He has concentrated on the mantra “simplify, standardize, automate” since hearing the phrase from Jim Hall at the U of MN, when he realized that’s what he had been doing for years. Learning about agile and DevOps made him an instant evangelist. He currently struggles with change management, production support, and not having enough time for photography or motorcycling.