It seems that every day there is a new how-to article about DevOps adoption or a new message in my inbox about why I need DevOps in my life. In software development, trends gain more popularity as early adopters embrace them and spread the benefits of adoption. Often, it’s simply because that’s what everybody seems to be doing and there’s a Fear of Missing Out (FOMO). This leads some organizations to get swept up in fads, some of which are so short-lived that the fad has passed before any real benefits are recognized and it’s on to the next development craze.
Today, DevOps is the trend that’s grabbing headlines and attracting all the attention. Some organizations jumped in feet first and haven’t looked back, while others have held out – either because of confusion about what DevOps entails, concerns that it may just be a passing fad, the impact it has on culture or a simple aversion to change. The organizations in the first group are eager to overcome their competition. These companies are differentiating themselves and delivering higher quality software faster by aligning development and operations across the DevOps trinity – people and culture, process and practice, and tools and technology.
So, the real question is which group has it right? At times like this, it pays to step back, take a breath and take stock of where we are and where we are going. That’s when it becomes clear that DevOps is not a fad; rather it is the way successful organizations are industrializing the delivery of quality software today.
While research from Capgemini shows that most companies surveyed are planning to or are already transitioning to DevOps enabled by continuous delivery (CD), it doesn’t fully address the question about the status of DevOps as a fad or foundational shift. By taking a closer look, an answer to that question can be found within companies that have already adopted CD practices and a DevOps culture. Many of these companies are established leaders in their respective industries and hold a dominant market position. These companies have made substantial, long-term investments in CD and DevOps, clearly deciding that DevOps is here to stay. As a result, they are seeing impressive benefits. For example:
- Amazon, the leader in public cloud infrastructure, now releases on average every second
- Etsy, the leading peer-to-peer e-commerce marketplace, went from deployments that took hours to deploying changes 50 times per day
- Ticketmaster, the world’s leading ticketing company and one of the world’s top 10 e-commerce sites, deploys to production at the end of every sprint or multiple times per sprint
- Netflix, disrupter of the entire cable and TV industry and responsible for about 30% of North American internet traffic, deploys thousands of times daily
- Allstate, the largest publicly held personal lines property and casualty insurer in the U.S, is now delivering new applications in half the time it took to deploy a single new feature
- Coca-Cola, the world’s third most valuable brand, has accelerated project delivery by up to 50% and cut defects in production by up to half
The investment of time and dollars that these innovative leaders and industry giants have made in DevOps is a direct indicator that they believe that DevOps is no mere fad, and the influence that these companies exert in these sectors will continue to build momentum for DevOps as other companies seek to keep up.
As we look ahead to the next few years, companies that implement a successful DevOps transformation are going to retain and attract talented people, who will drive further quality improvements, productivity improvements and ultimately success at the company. Meanwhile, companies that fail to embrace DevOps will bleed talent and fall further behind their competition. Investments in DevOps will begin to yield higher returns, DevOps practices will be better defined and there will be less confusion across industries about exactly what DevOps is. This will further cement DevOps as a standard in software development. Furthermore, as DevOps becomes more industrialized, we will see DevOps incorporated into formalized training and integrated into university curriculums.
Why should you be learning about DevOps and embracing it? As General Eric Shinseki, former chief of staff of the U. S. Army put it, “If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.”
DevOps to Infinity and Beyond
DevOps is moving towards mainstream acceptance. A leading analyst firm pegs this stage at about four to five years from now, but it is likely to be sooner.
Buzzwords of trends tend to fade, while the underlying tenets and principles are absorbed by organizations as the new standards for delivering software. For example, in 2016 fewer people are talking about Extreme Programming (XP), but the agile development methods and continuous integration principles that support XP are now standard practices for today’s successful teams.
In five years, we may or may not be using the term “DevOps” as much but what will remain are the underlying principles of using automation to bridge the gap between development and operations across people and culture, process and practice, and tools and technology.
There is no going back. As you survey your market today, it is safe to assume that the more successful competitors will be embracing DevOps in five years or sooner. The question you must answer is, “Where will your organization be in five years?”