Developuction

Developuction: when a service or host intended for development gets pressed into production. Usually this is done in a reaction to some external event, and nearly always results in fail somewhere down the road. If sysadmins are lucky, it just means the service collapses under a load it wasn’t designed to handle. If they’re not lucky, it means that somebody took a shortcut that compromised security somewhere, and the box gets well and thoroughly pwned. This is nearly always the fault of the sysadmin and not the developer who wrote the code, or the manager who caused the service to be pressed into production.
Developuction is a fact of life for many system administrators, and points to one or more serious issues in their shops. For instance, they could lack professionalism. This is generally ignorance, which is sometimes willful. They could be not granted any authority over technical decisions, in which case management needs to understand why it is that professionals are hired. But ultimately, it’s a sign that short-term answers are favoured over sustainable long-term stability. Sometimes shops get lucky with developuction, and later they run into trouble when this luck is confused with competence.
We’ve all done developuction at some point or another. Sometimes it really is the best way to solve a problem. The key is understanding when it’s acceptable, and being able to properly analyze the risks involved. It helps if you’ve not treated the development machines as a place where processes don’t matter because “it’s just a dev box.”

One Response to “Developuction”

  1. dan says:

    I sometimes wonder how this is outside academia. Here, I never make what I planned to make, and I think that fact infuses all of our lives, even in your part of campus, with a sense of developuction.