Looking back at 2015, this past year saw significant changes in the software industry. Increasingly, software is more and more pervasive in nearly all aspects of our everyday lives: from business, government, and education, to shifts in the way we travel, parent, and monitor our health and homes. Three major mainstream shifts that happened within our industry are the advent of the Internet-of-Things (IoT), the rise of Microservices architecture and Container technology, and the advancement of DevOps as an extension of Agile practices.
By connecting, collecting, and analyzing machine data from billions of sensors—from the connected car to smart home appliances—IoT offers the promise to turn data into knowledge, and knowledge into action. In the development world, the rise of Microservices architectures and container technology has disrupted the way in which organizations build and deliver software. Another recent shift is that DevOps has clearly superseded Agile as the software delivery initiative of the year. The main difference with the DevOps movement is that, unlike the grassroots origins of Agile development, much of today’s DevOps innovation is happening within larger enterprise organizations with strong business and executive sponsorship.
Some Predictions for the Coming Year:
1) DevOps Goes Mainstream in the Enterprise
As the benefits of DevOps become more well known, the idea of DevOps as cutting edge innovation has given way to the idea of DevOps as mainstream. As was evident at this year’s DevOps Enterprise Summit, the conversation among industry experts has moved beyond hype-cycles to real-world approaches and use cases.
While DevOps is still relatively loosely defined, and is not a “one size fits all”, we’re going to see more patterns emerging for successful DevOps implementation and for accelerating the transformation in large organizations. These patterns will unveil common challenges, but also common architecture and specific use cases for different verticals, such as Finance Services, Retail, Healthcare, and more. As more large enterprises mature in their DevOps journey and share their experiences with the community, they’ll move DevOps adoption forward, leading to more success and industry innovation.
In addition, as expertise in DevOps practices becomes more and more critical to businesses’ successes, management teams are being restructured to reflect this.
2) DevSecOps: DevOps as an Enabler to Security and Compliance Controls
With the increase in always-on connected devices, accompanied by an increase in costly data breaches, vulnerabilities of open-source components, and cybersecurity threats, Information Security and Compliance are even more critical to businesses these days.
Traditionally, DevOps was viewed as a risk to Information Security (InfoSec), with the increased velocity of software releases seen as a threat to governance, security, and regulatory controls. As enterprises continue to prove that DevOps practices actually mitigate potential security problems, discover issues faster, and address threats more quickly, 2016 will be the year DevSecOps matures. We’ll see InfoSec embracing DevOps and collaborating with other stakeholders in the organization, to bake-in Security and Auditability into the software delivery pipeline, and better align these with business goals such as fast time-to-market and innovation.
3) Burst of Microservices, and the Patterns to Manage Them
By splitting the Monolithic application into smaller services and decoupling interdependencies (between apps, dev teams, technologies, environments, and tooling), microservices allow for more flexibility and agility as you scale your organization’s productivity. In 2016, look for Microservices architectures to gain further traction as common use cases and best practices take hold in the market.
While they can support Continuous Delivery and more rapid releases, microservices do introduce architectural complexities and management overhead, particularly on the testing and Ops side. What was once one application with tightly coupled processes, is now a composite set of orchestrated services that connect via the network. This has an impact on your automated testing, monitoring, how you ensure governance and compliance of all the disparate apps, and more. 2016 will see the emergence of more tools and best practices for managing Microservices on a large scale–from container orchestration, service virtualization, service discovery, and more.
4) Rethinking Configuration Management
As Docker and container technology grow in popularity, and as the industry matures to understand the difference between configuration management (CM), end-to-end Continuous Delivery (CD) orchestration, and Application Release Automation (ARA), where do configuration management tools fit into the shifting landscape of cloud, configuration, and provisioning?
Many of the challenges that configuration management tools were developed to address—such as the need for reproducible environments—are becoming simpler with Docker and model-driven deployment capabilities of ARA solutions. This is not to say that configuration management tools will cease to exist as containerization gains share of the (production) market, but in 2016 we will see how this competition affects the software delivery space, as CM vendors adapt to the changing landscape.
5) Things are Getting Faster
Docker and containerization are big trends in the industry right now. The spin-up speed of containers is one reason why they’re often favored over Virtual Machines (VMs), but that will likely change in 2016. Companies like Intel, VMware, and CoreOS are developing solutions to reduce VM start time in order to get them to perform more like containers, and the industry is reacting positively. Recent innovations in VM start time will blur VMs and containers even more, such as the introduction of VMs like Intel Clear Containers.
At the same time, containers are also evolving rapidly and are becoming easier to implement and more mature to allow for enterprise-grade stability and management. As a result, the entire sector is getting faster.
All of these predictions point to a maturing software delivery process that builds from the disruptive nature of highly iterative Agile methods. The moves to DevOps, Microservices, and Container technology support and represent our industry’s collective effort to “build better software faster.” One thing is certain, the impact of software on all facets of life will only grow during the coming year, as will efforts to keep ahead of the increasing complexity and pressure that comes with delivering software that matters.
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And finally, we wish you Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year from all of us here at Electric Cloud!
(Even though the picture only shows *some* of us!)