My GDC presentation, lavishly titled “Devops: Bringing Development and Operations Together for Better Everything”, will be was on Tuesday, 10/9 at 4:50 PM. This post is a placeholder for comments and links to resources.

Your comments, positive or negative, are vastly appreciated.




Mailing Lists


  • devopsdays: worldwide, sessions recorded & freely viewable
  • Surge: Baltimore, run by OmniTI, sessions recorded & freely viewable
  • Velocity: Santa Clara, Europe, China


I’m very pleased to let y’all know that I’ll be presenting at GDC Online in Austin this October. My session is “Devops: Bringing Development and Operations Together for Better Everything” and it’ll be, you know, the kind of things I talk about. The target audience is anyone in game development who wants engineering and technical operations to work better together. I’m really psyched. Also really nervous, but that’ll pass once I actually deliver the talk.

Yep, it still works. Neat.

I’m a year or so into the new job, which still rocks, and for various and sundry reasons it’s a good time to start blogging about geeky MMO operations stuff again. Excellent. Quick note on policy, here: I’m not going to talk about where I am and I’m going to steer clear of talking about what we’re doing, because we’re not ready to talk about it yet and because I am explicitly and emphatically not speaking for the company in any way, shape or form. I’m not keeping my employer a secret — y’all know how to use LinkedIn, right? — but I’m keeping some separation in order to, well, keep some separation.

Mostly I’m just jazzed to be talking about the stuff I love again.

Brief hiatus here, cause, um, I just got a job! Which is ducky. But I do want to figure out if there’s any company policy on blogging, etc. on the better safe than sorry theory.

Great timing, huh? I can’t really find it in myself to complain, however.

Hey, that’s a week. Neat. Thoughts and questions for people who’ve found their way here:

Anything in particular you want to see? I have pending requests for another post about datacenters, something on customer service, and a piece on planning for usage spikes. If there’s anything in particular you want me to talk about, let me know.

For that matter, if there’s a general category of stuff which is more interesting, let me know that, too.

I fiddled around with the look of the blog a bit over the course of the week. Comment links are now at the bottom of each post instead of the top. I don’t imagine anyone really cares, but if you want those links at the top as well as the bottom, I could do that.

There is a Livejournal feed, which I should put in the sidebar. There is also now a Livejournal feed containing just excerpts, since the fairly large posts do chew up a bunch of room: imgnry_cgs_shrt. Not the most memorable name in the world but there’s a length limit on Livejournal syndication names.

I’m away on business Monday, so see you again probably on Tuesday. Thanks for coming by.

I’ve been thinking about writing a Massively Multiplayer Online RPG blog for, oh, years or so now. I’ve never quite felt comfortable starting one while I was working for Turbine or Vivox. Turbine, because I didn’t want to risk slipping into talking too much about what I was actually doing, and Vivox, because I wanted to be comfortable expressing opinions without making our customers potentially angry. In both cases I don’t think the waters would have been that hard to navigate, but better safe than sorry, right?

Also, I have a massive fear of being outed on the forums. We have community managers to take the heat when downtime runs long. It’s easier when customers think of us ops guys as a sort of faceless amoeba which cannot reasonably bear blame for anything.

So what changed? Well, first off, I’m unemployed. This means I have a certain amount of spare time and some of the previous worries have gone away. Obviously, I’ll still steer clear of anything covered by NDAs, for both practical and moral reasons, but it’s helpful knowing I’m not in any way likely to be seen as the voice of anyone but myself.

Second… you know, people do this. Scott Jennings blogs. Anthony Castoro blogs. Half of 38 Studios blogs. Eric Heimberg and Sandra Powers blog together — well, maybe that’s a bad example, I dunno if they’re ever going to be foolhardy enough to work in MMOs again. But you get the point; it’s OK to have personal opinions.

Third, there still aren’t many if any people blogging about MMO operations. Fertile ground! And hey, I have an ego on me: I think I can say useful and relevant things.

So there’s a topic for you. Massively Multiplayer Online Operations. I’m primarily interested in the gentle discipline of running the datacenters and all the myriad of details that surround that task, because that’s what I’ve done for the last fifteen years of my life. (Not always in gaming.) I take code and content from the developers, or the release managers, or QA, and I ensure that it winds up on the servers I chose, bought, and installed. After it goes live, I lie awake at night worrying about whether or not it’ll crash. If it does, my team and I bring the servers back up, gather data, and do what we can to help developers make sure it doesn’t happen again.

I also worry about a lot of other things, though. Any ops guy who thinks of the above as the sum total of his job isn’t any good. I do due diligence on other companies to help choose good vendors and good partners. I care about billing, business development, customer service (a lot). I hopefully help developers write server code that makes sense in our datacenter environment.

Maybe I just like having a peek into everything. But man, it makes my life easier when I do, so I’ll talk a bit about all that stuff.

I do not know much about game design, other than as a player. I have strong opinions there. They aren’t really informed, though, other than that I don’t tend to think that the devs are incompetent boobs who’re out to get players whenever possible. The evidence against that is too strong. Anyways, I won’t geek much about game design except where it overlaps with operations, which is here and there.

I was going to write a big fancy statement of intent, but come on. I’m a blogger. I’m going to write about the aspects of operating MMOs that interest me.

More about me: here. More about the job: future posts. Onward.