Among technology trends DevOps is certainly generating its share of heat. But is that heat actually driving adoption? “I’m going to give the answer everyone hates: It depends,” says Nicole Forsgren, founder and CEO of DevOps Research and Assessment LLC. “It depends on where each team is, on where the organization is. I talk to people all over the industry, and I work with organizations all over the industry, and everyone is at a very different place.”
Some of the organizations Nicole has spoken with are pushing the DevOps envelope. “They’re almost squeezing blood out of a stone, finding ways to optimize things that have been optimized at the very edge. They’re doing things that most people can’t even comprehend.” Other organizations aren't feeling it. "There’s no DevOps,” says Nicole. “DevOps is nowhere near on their radar.”
Some organizations that had figured out DevOps stumbled a bit when the word came down to move everything to the cloud, explains Shay Shmeltzer, product management director for Oracle Cloud Development tools. “A lot of them need to rethink how they’re doing stuff, because cloud actually simplifies DevOps to some degree. It makes the provisioning of environments and getting stuff up and down much easier and quicker in many cases.”
As Nicole explains, “DevOps is a technology transformation methodology that makes your move into the cloud much more sticky, much more successful, much more effective and efficient to deliver value, to realize cost-savings. You can get so much more out of the technology that you are using and leveraging, so that when you do move to the cloud, everything is so much better. It’s almost a chicken and egg thing. You need so much of it together.”
However, that value isn’t always apparent to everyone. Kelly Shortridge, product manager at SecurityScorecard, observes that some security stakeholders, “feel they don’t have a place in the DevOps movement.” Some security teams have a sense that configuration management will suffice. “Then they realize that they can’t just port existing security solutions or existing security methodologies directly into agile development processes,” explains Kelly. “You have the opportunity to start influencing change earlier in the cycle, which I think was the hype. Now we’re at the Trough of Disillusionment, where people are discovering that it’s actually very hard to integrate properly, and you can’t just rely on technology for this shift. There also has to be a cultural shift, as far as security, and how they think about their interactions with engineers.” In that context Kelly sees security teams wrestling with how to interact within the organization.
But the value of DevOps is not lost on other roles and disciplines. It depends on how you slice it, explains Leonid Igolnik, member and angel investor with Sand Hill Angels, and founding investor, advisor, and managing partner with Batchery. He observes that DevOps progress varies across different industry subsets and different disciplines, “whether it’s testing, development, or security.”
“Overall, I think we’re reaching the Slope of Enlightenment, and some of those slices are reaching the Plateau of Productivity,” Leonid says.
Alena Prokharchyk began her journey into DevOps three years ago when she started her job as principal software engineer at Rancher Labs, whose principal product targets DevOps. “That actually forced me to look deeper into DevOps culture,” she says. “Before that I didn’t realize that such problems existed to this extent. That helped me understand certain aspects of the problem. Within the company, the key for me was communication with the DevOps team. Because if I’m going to develop something for DevOps, I have to understand the problems.”
If you’re after a better understanding of challenges and opportunities DevOps represents, you’ll want to check out this podcast, featuring more insight on adoption, cultural change, tools and other DevOps aspects from this collection of experts.
A very special thank-you to my colleague Javed Mohammed for his invaluable role in organizing and co-hosting this program.
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