DevOps Unicorns Horses and Mules

DevOps folk use the terms "unicorns" and "horses" as if everybody understands what they mean. Quite possibly you don't. So here's the gist:

Unicorns are special spangky sites that do wondrous magic with DevOps. (Originally a unicorn was a tech startup with a valuation over a billion dollars. There's an overlap). Amazon spins machines up and down at will. NetFlix pushes to prod a bazillion times a day. Etsy walks on water.

Horses are the rest of us: the everyday organisations trying to do what we can with limited resources and seemingly unlimited legacy crap to deal with.

Some variations:

There is talk of "elephants": the particularly ponderous IT organisations, presumably with mainframes (queue "dinosaur" joke...)

I prefer the term "mules": tough, hard-working, load-bearing and, yes, conservative, stubborn even.

I'm also going to use the term "zebras" to talk about horses that think they're unicorns because they look different.

After the excellent DevOps Enterprise conference, I said to Gene Kim that even though most companies presenting were indeed horses, it seemed to me that they had one sparkly blue leg i.e. the DevOps is only in one team or silo (as Agile was in its early days)

And somebody once pointed out that you should look closely because a supposed unicorn might only be a donkey in a party hat.

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