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What do IoT and DevOps have in common with Game of Thrones?



If you’re in software development or in IT operations –and you are a fan of Game of Thrones–, you have undoubtedly identified yourself with one of the characters in the series.

In a nod to Comic-Con 2016 in my hometown San Diego, and all the madness that ensues, it was inevitable for me to use Game of Thrones analogies to explain how the Internet of Things and DevOps represent a great opportunity for developers and IT Ops to conquer.

This is how I see IoT and DevOps in a Game of Thrones universe:

The Internet of Things (IoT) = Seven Kingdoms

Even though there is an ongoing rebellion, the Seven Kingdoms are a thriving economy, plentiful of resources and, most notably, that pretty much every other king has set their mind on conquering.

Likewise, IoT is at the forefront of technology trends. This is a result of the maturity of many other technology trends, like wireless connectivity, data analytics, and the de-centralization of compute –bringing compute power closer to the things, or Edge Computing, amongst others.

Industries such as Manufacturing, Oil & Gas, Utilities, Transportation and Logistics, are noticeably amongst those betting on Industrial IoT (IIoT) projects. And rightfully so: IIoT applications have been calculated to have an economic impact of $3.7T per year in 2025, in factory settings1

Iron Throne = IoT PlatformThe IoT Platform = the Iron Throne

This is where all the power converges. Only the King may reign and control the Seven Kingdoms, manage all of its resources, ensuring the security, peace and prosperity of the people.

An IoT platform is not too different. It is a cloud-based software that enables companies to control their IoT environment end to end, starting with device connectivity management, device data collection for analysis and business insights, integration with other business applications which, in turn, provides the ability to generate value or monetize IoT data.

Why should developers and IT operations care? Developers and IT Operations have the increasingly growing opportunity to create and launch applications that integrate with the IoT platform and leverage the troves of data coming from a myriad of devices to generate value for their organizations: new innovative products, generate efficiencies and reduce costs.

Jon Snow = The SW DeveloperThe Developer = Jon Snow

Jon has gone through several misfortunes, fought epic battles, forged impossible alliances, and defied the status quo. He is resilient in pursuing his goals and a true leader, but the most importantly, Jon was born to conquer the Seven Kingdoms, with the help and support of alliances, as well as the resources that come with them.

This characterization of Jon Snow is very fit to a Developer persona. Here’s why:

The Digital era is disrupting economies, business and industries. This means to Software Product teams –hence, Developers– building, testing and releasing quality software faster and more frequently is not only a requirement, but a must. This calls for the tools, processes and overall environment that aDevOps culture can nurture (more on that below), and equally important, building alliances and partnerships internally and externally to get through that list of functionalities and features to develop.

Btw, one remarkable similarity between a developer and Jon Snow is how they are both meant to conquer the world

Daenerys Targaryen = IT OperationsIT Operations = Daenerys Targaryen

The Mother of Dragons, the Breaker of Chains, Mhysa, Khaleesi.  Many titles have been awarded to “Dany” that serve as badges of honor for each battle fought and struggle overcome. She certainly has come a long way – from being treated practically as a slave, to finding and seeking her true destiny, to actually achieving the goal of getting an army and the ships needed to take what is rightfully hers: the Seven Kingdoms.

Similarly to Jon Snow, the Mother of Dragons is supported by and leads a very diverse set of alliances, each one bringing skills, resources and experience to the battlefield.

If someone from IT Operations can identify with Daenerys and her triumphs up to Season 6, raise your hand and pat yourself on the back. You have achieved quite a lot, but the struggle does not end there. Conquering the Internet of Things –the Seven Kingdoms (as mentioned in bullet #1) – will require managing and maintaining a larger infrastructure, as new systems are integrated to provide the capacity for device management, data acquisition, processing and analysis, connectivity management, and more importantly, working with Developers on launching new applications that bring value to the company.

Weapons and Strategy = DevOpsDevOps = Weapons and Strategy

Winning a battle requires a deep analysis of your opponent’s weaknesses and strengths, as well as the landscape, in order to come up with a solid strategy.

Similarly, a DevOps culture brings a collaboration methodology with best practices, and supported by a set of tools for version control, application building and testing, base code changes managing, automating software releases, as well as monitoring performance.

This is where the Internet of Things comes to life and brings value to companies: in the development and launch of applications that make use of the troves of data generated by connected “things”, and giving that data and insights a purpose – being that efficiencies, reduce costs, or develop innovative new products, experiences and revenue streams. And DevOps brings the right tools and strategy to ensure seamless collaboration and streamline all stages of application development all the way into production.


Have you noticed that both Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen are thriving leaders – but neither would have got this far without the alliances they have built?

Alliances and partnerships are the secret to success – in Game of Thrones and to conquer the Internet of Things. Companies looking at harnessing the power of IoT must partner with the right technology leaders.

The good news is that the work of finding the right technology partner for each stage of your IoT deployment has already been done. Hewlett Packard Enterprise announced a series of IoT partnerships including General Electric and National Instruments, which will be of tremendous benefit to companies in any industry.

The alliance with General Electric, specifically, combines decades of experience in technology and industries:

HPE brings the IT in IoT, and decades of leadership and specialization in computing (check out the new converged systems for IoT), connectivity, data analytics, security, and services you need to get started in your IoT journey.

Likewise, GE brings decades of expertise in developing technology for industries like Manufacturing, Oil & Gas, Energy & Utilities, Healthcare, amongst many others – and puts it all together in their next-generation IIoT focused platform (PaaS) GE Predix.

HPE will be attending the GE Predix Transform 2016 event, showcasing HPE DevOps solutions like LoadRunner for performance testing, Fortify for application security, as well as solutions for simulations like environment virtualization and network virtualization.

1 See “The Internet Of Things: Mapping The Value Beyond The Hype”, McKinsey Global Institute, June 2015.

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