Stephen Thair

DevOps / Entrepreneurship

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Bio

I am the CTO and Co-Founder of DevOpsGuys and a Microsoft Regional Director.

I started in IT in 1990 as a junior programmer subcontracted to IBM working on mainframe systems management software (Netview). After about 3 years of this I decided I wasn’t well suited to spending my whole life behind a desk and I wanted a more hands-on role, so I got involved in setting up a server and local area network in my companies office (at the time this was Novell Netware 3.x and Winfows For Workgroups 3.11).

I then started supporting Microsoft LanManager and other Microsoft systems. Over the next 15 or so years I worked my way up through 1st/2nd/3rd line support into senior engineering and technical architecture roles, with an increasing specialisation (since 1998) in Microsoft web hosting platforms based in Windows NT / Windows Server and IIS. When I moved to the UK in 1999 I worked in that capacity for large enterprise organisations like BNP Paribas, Vodafone, CSFB etc.

In 2005 I moved to Totaljobs as their web operations manager, running their online job board platform which is based on high-volume Windows/.Net/IIS/SQL Server platform.

After leaving Totaljobs in 2008 I had had a series of roles around web operations, monitoring and performance leading up to the founding of DevOpsGuys, one of UK leading DevOps consultancies and a Microsoft Gold partner in 2013.

My involvement in the DevOps community grew via extensive blogging, presenting at conferences like QCON, Atmosphere and different London DevOps Meetups (including our own DevOps Cardiff) we felt that the Microsoft and Windows community was significantly under-represented by the existing DevOps meetups so we coined the term #Winops and organised the first ever “DevOps on Windows” conference WinOpsConf in Sept 2015 and so we decided to follow this up with a regular monthly meetup WinOpsLDN.

Spotlight

Enterprise organisations are struggling to cope with Digital Transformation – they are rapidly being overtaken by faster, nimbler, cloud-native new entrants across a wide range of markets. Many of these Enterprises are unable to respond to these challengers due to mountains of technical debt in their legacy systems, heavily fragmented and siloed organisational structures and a lack of core capabilities within the IT function due to years of outsourcing. CIO’s and CTO’s need to rebuild their in-house product development capabilities to bring new, innovative products to market if they want to stay relevant to today’s consumers.

DevOps methodologies, focusing on product-centric, cross-functional teams that design, build and run cloud-hosted solutions are seen as a key part of responding to this digital transformation. Unfortunately, many organisations are struggling to implement DevOps successfully, choosing to focus only on new tools and automation while ignoring the cultural and leadership challenges inherent in designing a new operating model for IT. My team and I are working with large Enterprises to devise training and coaching programmes to help kick start the cultural transformation, consultancy techniques to identify key pain points, as well as accelerating their technical transformation via DevOps engineering.