Embedding DevOps at the ASX

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Embedding DevOps at the ASX

Hard work finally paying off.

The ASX is finally gaining “serious momentum” towards a deep cultural turnaround within its IT shop after a bit over a year of effort, according to its DevOps chief Katherine Squire.

“Now we’re starting to fly,” she said.

“It’s taken off now but it took a long time to get there and a lot of hard work.”

Speaking at the Future IT Infrastructure forum in Melbourne last week, Squire said she met with several early challenges convincing the business that the journey she was on was a cultural one and couldn’t been solved by buying a product off the shelf.

But now, she said, her efforts are gaining ground with a fundamental “rethink” of how infrastructure and applications teams go about their work, and how they can more collaboratively manage the software lifecycle.

“We had quite distinct silos. We cut some dev and then we chucked it over the fence to testers,” she said.

“I do worry when I hear some of my business stakeholders talking about ‘delivering DevOps’.

“I’m not delivering anything. I’m changing the culture of how we work. Sometimes it feels like I’m meant to be delivering world peace - which would be a nice thing to do but I don’t think I can achieve it with DevOps."

The DevOps model removes the walls that traditionally exist between IT development and operations staff and groups them according to task, while aiming to automate repetitive processes.

The ASX is applying this approach to the task of slowly breaking its reliance on the legacy technology holding the organisation back, a four-year, $50 million core systems overhaul.

She is taking an application-by-application approach to the transformation initiative to avoid the kind of “massive decommissioning project” she says is destined to turn into “a giant money pit”.

Squire has so far applied the DevOps model to the rearchitecting of an old optimisation algorithm to run on AWS’ Lambda serverless computing platform.

She described the move as “dipping our toe in the water” to see how public cloud environments are able to match up to the exchange’s strict regulatory demands.

Squire said she tried to build a brand and a story around her cultural change ambitions to incrementally and organically win advocates over to the DevOps model and embed the mindset at the ASX.

“You create little cells of excellence - a little circle of sanity. And then people start looking over and saying ‘that looks ok’. Before you know it you can have wildfire happening,” she said.

“[At the ASX] everyone is [now] interested, everyone wants to be part of it."

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