Ten years ago, the process of deploying new software features, fixes, and updates looked much different than it does today. Back then, Development and Operations teams functioned separately, and the lack of cohesion between application and infrastructure methods used by each team created challenges. When companies and IT professionals finally began to address this disconnect Development Operations, more commonly known as DevOps, was born.
In the years since, DevOps has grown rapidly. Companies and organizations across many industries have found that integrating developers with operations teams improves collaboration and productivity. By automating infrastructure and workflows, DevOps teams are able to release new products to markets quickly and continuously measure application performance.
However, with more and more DevOps tasks becoming automated, some members of the tech community believe that DevOps is slowly heading towards extinction. Others though see the future of DevOps as a bright one and point to the positives of automation, improvements in cloud infrastructure implementation, and the rise of cross-functional teams. Let’s break down the current state of these operations and look at what exciting opportunities the future of DevOps holds.
The Demand for DevOps
One of the best and most comprehensive industry reports on DevOps comes from DevOps Research and Assessment, known more commonly as DORA. In 2018, DORA, with support from Google Cloud Platform, released the Accelerate State of DevOps Report, which surveyed nearly 30,000 technology professionals. The report looked at what practices lead to higher software delivery performance and what impact this has on business outcomes.
One of the key takeaways from the report is the extent to which software delivery and operational performance helps unlock competitive advantages for companies. As technology continues to transform business outcomes and drive quality improvements, DevOps has an important role to play. The 2018 Accelerate report noted that, for the fifth year in a row, software delivery performance was a key component in the commercial and non-commercial success of organizations.
As businesses invest more in DevOps, software development and delivery has continued to grow and improve across many industries. The DORA report, which sorts companies into high, medium and low performer categories to examine trends and changes, found that the high performer group grew and expanded significantly in the last few years. The authors believe this trend signals that success in software development and delivery is now attainable by many teams and no longer belongs solely to an exclusive group.
Increasing Automation and Innovative Opportunities
There’s no denying that DevOps has become more and more automated over time. Initially, some in the tech community feared this would eliminate positions and deter growth in the field. Today, however, the consensus seems to be that the greatest opportunities to advance DevOps lie in increasing automation.
Asked about the future of DevOps, one industry executive noted that his company, like many others, was aiming for 100 percent automation in testing and deployments for the development, staging and production environments. Using automation for repetitive tasks allows tech teams to improve quality and consistency and frees up time for technical staff to be more innovative. In fact, the Accelerate Report by DORA found that high performing organizations were doing much less manual work than their low performing peers. Increased and improved automation allows DevOps teams to refocus their work in ways that add real value to their organizations.
The Growth of Cloud Computing and Improvements in Infrastructure Implementation
While many technology trends come and go, cloud computing is here to stay, and along with cloud implementation comes DevOps. The centralized nature of a cloud computing system makes it the ideal platform for DevOps automation, and most public and private cloud infrastructure providers already support the use of DevOps through continuous integration and development tools. Additionally, a DevOps approach to cloud systems allows organizations to keep up with consumer demands through quick and responsive deployments without service interruptions.
As more businesses come to rely on cloud software, spending on cloud infrastructure will continue to increase. In fact, cloud computing services are expected to outgrow SaaS by the end of 2019. This is good news for DevOps, and is supported by the aforementioned 2018 DORA report, which found that 67 percent of the technology professionals surveyed were already working on an application or service hosted on a cloud platform.
Cross-Functional Teams and Lean Product Management
At the heart of Agile development is the concept of cross-functional teams. In some ways, agile teams are a continuation of the trend that began with the rise DevOps. But now, these cross-functional teams and the lean product management they deploy are crucial to software delivery and organizational performance.
In order to successfully shift to agile teams and lean management, a culture change within organizations must take place. For example, lean product management requires working in small batches, team experimentation, and gathering and implementing customer feedback. To accomplish these objectives cultural changes such as encouraging autonomy, empowering teams, and changing mindsets are necessary to shift from a focus on control to agility without harming outcomes.
The Future of DevOps
DevOps is here to stay, and in many ways is just getting started. Not sure where exactly your company stands in its DevOps journey? Check out the most recent Puppet report on the State of DevOps for a breakdown of the five stages of DevOps evolution and steps you can take to begin or improve your development and operations integration.
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