DevOps Hell's Kitchen

Yesterday, while sharing a beer with my coworkers, we discussed an idea I’ve been kicking around for many years now. We joked and laughed while wondering aloud if anyone would be interested. Then, the name was coined: “DevOps Hell’s Kitchen”.

The premise is fairly simple. Two teams of software engineers compete in head-to-head challenges week after week. These challenges could be oriented around known computing problems or designed to educate. Things like “process a million messages from a queue” or “send billions of emails”. Every challenge is cost-bound, meaning the team that successfully completes the challenge in the time allotted, for the lowest cost, will be the winner. The losing team votes a person off the team.

Then, the idea came up to make them all live in the same house, Real World style. Also, they would have an on-call schedule to manage. Maybe the infrastructure they build needs to be maintained throughout the night. This might exacerbate hard feelings about cutting corners throughout the day.

After enough people are voted off the teams, they could form a “red team” that attempts to attack infrastructure the teams have built. This would obviously make the on-call rotation much less enjoyable.

I would probably structure the challenges so that each one would leverage whatever they built previously. Early challenges would be designed around establishing a deployment pipeline. Then, the later challenges would be highly accelerated by using those pipelines. If they choose not to use their early work, they’re probably going to have a bad time.

I’m not sure how entertaining the show would be on the surface. I think it would definitely need color commentary from entertaining industry professionals. The content created throughout the show could be very educational for organizations hoping to tackle similar problems. Maybe the code is open-sourced or something. I’m also not sure what kind of prizes would attract the right kinds of individuals to make this show successful.

If you have the money or resources to sponsor something like this, hit me up. I’d love to be involved somehow.