DevOps is a new approach to business that is based on applying Agile and Lean philosophies to operations work. In the past, operations and development engineers worked in separate silos and it was a case of ‘never the twain shall meet’. DevOps has completely changed this idea, creating a situation where the two work closely together throughout the entire service lifecycle, from design through the development process to production support.
In effect, you could say that DevOps simply extends the standard Agile principles beyond the boundaries of the code written by developers, taking it across the entire delivered service instead.
While changing the mindset of how organisations function obviously takes time, the new cultural and professional approach that DevOps demands has already begun to have a significant impact across companies. This could be due to a range of reasons, including creating more stable operating environments, faster delivery of product features or continuous software delivery.
Either way DevOps has proven that it can benefit a company’s product lifecycle, competitive advantage and its ability to rapidly meet customer requirements. With this in mind, let’s look at some of the key DevOps trends that businesses have been adopting this year.
The first trend is the recognition by enterprises that DevOps is not simply a new market, but rather a philosophy and a cultural shift.
Gartner points out that an increasing number of organisations are coming to the realisation that DevOps goes beyond implementation and technology management, to the point where it becomes about people within the business developing a deeper focus on how to effect positive organisational change.
In my opinion the key to benefiting from the emerging DevOps market lies in understanding that it is ultimately about the people who are doing it and the culture that surrounds them, instead of being about the technology or the tools being used.
The second major trend has been an increase in modular approaches to system building and a move away from building monolithic products for customers. The DevOps approach focuses instead on employing small, nimble teams to take care of individual applications.
You could say that the crux of its success lies in breaking activities into bite-sized chunks. Recognition of this fact has led to applications being developed with a modular approach in mind.
A third noticeable trend in 2016 has been the fact that developers have begun taking increased ownership of the entire product lifecycle.
The proliferation of DevOps-ready tools has enabled a surge in adoption, which in turn has led to the logical breaking down of the traditional silos between developers and operations. As the focus becomes increasingly about continuous delivery and improvement, it is leading to greater accountability and ownership from the developer teams to build and run their solutions.
The growing focus on DevOps means that for developers, their job no longer ends once the application is delivered. Instead, they will now be expected to remain a part of the entire lifecycle, while also having complete visibility into its progress.
A fourth trend is that of programmable infrastructure. While automation itself is not a new thing, the ability to provision infrastructure easily and seamlessly, thanks to a DevOps approach, is. This means that teams can develop the software and operate its environment simultaneously, so rather than considering automation after the development is finished, businesses can now prioritise automation and integrate it as part of the initial development phase.
The last key trend is that of reduced deployment time, something that is increasing as more enterprises adopt the DevOps approach. A side-effect of this trend is the fact that systems will also become more risk tolerant, as any changes that are made will be less likely to have a negative impact on the entire system. This means that time to production will be continue to be reduced.
I believe that these trends demonstrate that DevOps is increasingly becoming the de facto standard for how teams operate.
As we head into 2017, I expect we will only see more organisations upending their traditional processes and focusing on the DevOps method instead. In other words, we will see businesses cultivating a culture that unites people, processes, workflows and technologies, in order to bring tangible returns to the business. Inevitably, some businesses will pass on adopting a DevOps methodology, but those that do will be running the risk of serious competitive disadvantage.