Thank you Deutsche Bahn, we had a good time

As I am writing this, my last minutes of employment at Deutsche Bahn (DB Systel, DB) are running out. Tomorrow I will start my new job at Forto – time to look back at my 4 years with DB.

This was my first time working at a really large company, even a corporation. 320,000 employees is really a lot and till the very last week I met new people with interesting topics. Working at such a large company – especially one with so many subsidiaries – was a novel experience for me. I learned a lot about corporate politics and about the motivating factors in such a large organization.

For me these last 4 years were a very good time, where I was allowed to work in a very interesting position (Chief Architect Cloud in the CTO Team of DB Systel) and together with very interesting and inspiring colleagues. I learned something from every one of my colleagues, and I would like to take this moment to tell you all a big thank you for this time together.

A lot happened during those years, and I am thankful and proud to have been part of some endeavours that also gained visibility outside of DB. Most of my personal highlights are also reflected in my talks (some talks are in German, the slides are always in English):

From DevOps to GitOps

In 2017 DevOps was already known at DB, although not yet an officially approved method. As I have some experience with the DevOps transformation, I could support the DevOps transformation and we came up with a new definition for DevOps: The 5 DevOps Principles help to define KPIs for "DevOps accomplishment", and "DevOps Coaching" helps to get engineering teams "on the DevOps road", like a DevOps Driving School. The goal being that DevOps is Normal:


With DevOps comes the fear of losing control, if suddenly everybody has full production access. The solution is interpreting IT compliance and governance requirements as an automation problem. This led to the development of the Compliance DevOps ideas or Automated Governance:

The next question is, then, how does this fit into a bigger picture? What could be the right motivation to fundamentally change the way how we "do IT"? My answer is simple: This is the only way to survive and be able to meet the ever-increasing demand for IT compliance whilst increasing our "IT output". Putting it all together requires drawing a big picture, as described in The GitOps Journey.

I believe that GitOps is a very important lever that helps to shift an entire company towards a high degree of automation in all related IT processes, and it provides a natural motivation to automate:

Open Source Compliance, done properly

I have always tried to push OSS adoption and mindset, and at DB I learned a lot about the corporate and legal perspective. And I learned to pair work with legal experts and to better understand their thinking and language. This is actually also applied DevOps: putting yourself into the chair of a colleague and working hard to understand the problems from their perspective. Only then can you actually find a good solution.

At DB Systel the result of this cooperation can be found on GitHub at

  1. Open Source Contribution Policy and accompanying talk
  2. DB Inner Source License which governs code sharing within the entire group and puts code under a group-wide internal copyleft license.

For DB Systel and DB this is only a starting point in a longer journey towards a comprehensive Open Source compliance framework, and I am very glad that I was able to contribute to its beginning.

Thank you DB

There are much more topics where I was able to contribute, for example developing the next generation Cloud account architecture or writing security policies in the context of the software development life cycle.

I will take with me the interesting discussions, experiences and perspectives that we shared and I wish Deutsche Bahn and DB Systel lots of success for the future. Going by train will never be the same for me, as I will be thinking back to my time at DB.

I can wholeheartedly recommend Deutsche Bahn and DB Systel as an employer, the company is very family friendly and has a strong culture of supporting employees whatever their personal situation.


  1. What a ride through the changes in our industry. Good luck with the new challenge ! Cheers Ulf

  2. Hi Schlomo, so sorry to see you go, but all the best for your next episode.


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