(Image credit: Artist: Mayumi Tokuda)
Parity. While the word means many different things, I think that in the world of infrastructure, we tend to lean towards the idea of parity within storage. (Insert seriously interesting read here.) For this post though, I want to branch out a bit and move into a realm of software/DevOps/automation engineering. Let’s start with some, very simplified, definitions:
Feature Parity: The ability to maintain specific features between multiple systems, matching individual components of those features.
Example: The Orion Platform maintains feature parity across all products within the reporting and alerting engines. While there are multiple modules that focus on varied monitoring disciplines, all access web reports and alerts in the same way.
Functional Parity: The ability to maintain a common end-result between multiple systems, regardless of features used to achieve the result.
Example: SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor (SAM) and Log & Event Manager (LEM) both have the capabilities to monitor, report, and alert on specific Windows Events. However, their individual approaches to those functions vary greatly.
Now, let’s get further down this rabbit hole and apply these definitions of parity to our careers.
A few weeks ago, I was blessed with the ability to attend THWACKcamp 2017 with a group of my peers and fellow THWACK MVPs. During “camp,” we spent a LOT of time socializing with each other and sharing backgrounds, passions, hobbies, and Limoncellos with Crab Cakes. One thing that really struck me was the vast array of paths that each MVP took to get where they are today. Off the top of my head, I can remember several small-business owners/consultants, infrastructure architects, way too many network engineers (where are all the DBAs and DevOps pros???), a few dreaded infosec professionals, several monitoring engineers, lots of jack-of-all-trades engineers, and two current SolarWinds employees. However, despite all of the titles we each hold individually, we all hold the MVP title collectively.
I think the singular thread that tied all of the MVPs together at camp was the urge/need to constantly improve our skills mixed with a healthy level of self-deprecation that keeps us motivated to spend those personal hours getting better and better. What’s interesting is that in our sample group, there was a mixed amount of Feature Parity for backgrounds, but almost 100% Functional Parity as to where we are right now. And I think we can take this further and expand that to the entirety of the THWACK community (all 130,000+ of us). To me, one of the absolute BEST parts of being involved in the SolarWinds software suite is the community, and I am constantly in awe at the knowledge, innovation, and selflessness that I find in these “hallowed halls.”
What do you think? Does one type of parity (Feature/Functional) outweigh the pathway of your career and ultimate goal(s), or would it be a symbiotic relationship between the two? Or maybe you think this is all hogwash and you can share your opinions on whatever version of parity that you want!
Name: Zack Mutchler
Title: Bearded Monitoring Engineer, SQL Fella, PowerShell Aficionado, and Whiskey Connoisseur