This Much is True: More IT Shops Adopt DevOps

Ah, but we do miss the 1980s (he said, tongue in cheek). So, to twist a phrase coined by poofy-haired ‘80s new wavers Spandau Ballet, this much is true: DevOps isn’t exactly universally loved. 

But two recent studies suggest that more information technology operations are embracing DevOps. For the uninitiated, this software development technique aims for faster development and better results through collaboration between the development and operations side of IT shops. 

One of the studies was produced by RightScale earlier this year. It examined the attitudes of 1,068 technical professionals toward the broader matter of cloud computing. 

But it also asked the respondents for their views on DevOps. Here are a few tidbits on that front:

  • Companies that focus on the cloud also embrace DevOps, according to 71 percent of respondents. Self-service IT isn’t far behind, at 68 percent.
  • DevOps is “now being adopted by 62 percent of organizations, up from 54 percent in 2013,” the study says.
  • At a broader level, the deeper companies go in adopting cloud computing, the deeper the penetration of DevOps practices among them, the study says.
  • In adopting DevOps practices, many businesses use configuration management tools, which automate and standardize the deployment and configuration of servers and applications, the study says. Between the two leading such tools, Chef (26 percent) led Puppet (21 percent) in use. 

CA Study Found Similar Impact from DevOps 

CA Technologies, a sponsor of this site, commissioned a separate study done in May and July of last year that produced similar findings. The survey of 1,300 “IT decision-makers worldwide” found that following the implementation of DevOps, many organizations saw improvements of between 17 percent and 23 percent in business metrics such as revenue, time to market and new customer acquisition. 

A few items of note from this survey:

  • Roughly two thirds of those surveyed said they had already adopted DevOps or were planning to. Some 18 percent said they had no plan to adopt it, and another 16 percent said they don’t know what it is.
  • Among the 859 respondents who had DevOps implemented or on the planning board, roughly 73 percent expected investments in new tools, while many also expected to spend on training for DevOps personnel (71 percent) and hiring new people with necessary skill sets (53 percent.)
  • Improvements in key business metrics included better collaboration between departments (23 percent,) improved quality of deployed applications (22 percent) and increased revenue (19 percent.) 

Lessons to Learn from Study Results 

Now let’s get the usual disclaimers out of the way. These are simply two studies. Like any work of social science, they must be replicated by other parties. 

Still, the results do suggest strongly that DevOps is taking hold in more organizations. Which raises the question: What is inhibiting these organizations in their attempts to implement DevOps? 

In the CA Technologies study, the No. 1 reason was “organizational complexity,” meaning “too many people or departments involved, (and) too much interdependence.” 

That represented 35 percent of the 1,300 respondents.

Other obstacles included a non-alignment of roles and responsibilities across development and ops (28 percent) and “security or compliance concerns” (25 percent.) 

Time to Roll Up Your Sleeves

Here are a couple of lessons for IT managers from all this. 

DevOps is coming. You may like it or you may hate but, but don’t be surprised if your competitors start embracing it. And, by the same token, if your board starts asking whether this development technique would be a good fit in your organization. 

But as we’ve alluded to before, DevOps is not the same as half-assed. If you’re going to do it, you must jump in with both feet and get your hands dirty. You’ll need to allocate time, money and effort from everybody to make a DevOps program work. 

Don’t think so? To paraphrase the 1980s heavy metal giants Judas Priest: You’ve got another thing coming.