DevOps - What happened in 2018 and what is in store for 2019

by INVOKE Team

Posted on Feb 07, 2019 at 12:00 AM

We would like start this blog by giving proper credits. Most of the content in this blog is inspired by the content we read over the internet, threads created in Reddit and Quora. We added our own thoughts on top of the material read and formulated in a way to help our readers.

Goal of this blog is, understanding what DevOps means, how teams implemented or experienced DevOps in 2018 and what is in store for 2019. The biggest issue while adopting any technology or framework is, creating own definitions or using them for the purposes which those are NOT designed for. Let us avoid this trap by doing a quick review on what DevOps and how it works, this will help us understand the blog content very well.

What is DevOps?

Origin of DevOps has long history, but in quick summary, it was inspired by approaches used in industrial manufacturing to improve the quality, speed of production using different combination of philosophies, practices and tools.

AWS documentation defines DevOps as:
Combination of cultural philosophies, practices, and tools that increases an organization’s ability to deliver applications and services at high velocity: evolving and improving products at a faster pace than organizations using traditional software development and infrastructure management processes. This speed enables organizations to better serve their customers and compete more effectively in the market.

Because of this open definition, teams who would like to adopt and practice DevOps endure a lot of confusion and pain. Teams who adopted DevOps practice in 2018 experienced this a lot and you could see this sentiment in statements below section.

Why we should adopt DevOps? What are the advantages?

Before adopting any technology or tool, we should first try to understand what are the advantages with it? If we pick anything just because of market buzz or some else is using, this may lead more problems than advantages.

So, what are the benefits with DevOps ? We can categorize these advantages into business, technical and team.

Business advantages (to name few):

  1. Experimentation - business can deploy new software, new features quickly and test the markets
  2. Innovation: Experimentation helps in innovation to generate new opportunities

Technical advantages (to name few):

  1. Tech teams can help business team experimentation by enhancing the software integration and delivery approach by using frameworks like continuous integration and delivery.
  2. While establishing the CI/CD process, we can reduce the software management complexities by automating the build and delivery using different tools and policies.

Cultural advantages:

  1. While gaining business and technical advantages, DevOps adopters will be working together to establish good engagement between members. This enhanced communication creates more productive teams as well as great team development opportunities.

Now that we know advantages, let us try to understand how DevOps work?

DevOps is combination of practice, tools and philosophy. Teams who adopt DevOps consists of complimentary skilled engineers who work across the entire application lifecycle. For example, people who are skilled in software development, testing, deployment and operations do develop a range of skills not limited to a single function.

Apart from skills, appropriate tools and or automation compliment the DevOps. These teams use practices to automate processes that historically have been manual and slow. They use a technology stack and tooling which help them operate and evolve applications quickly and reliably.

The key point to understand in this whole section of how DevOps works is, Process + Team + Tools help you streamline your DevOps implementation.

Which process to use? Depends on how team works, your project, company culture, philosophy etc.,

How team should be formatted? Depends on team member skills and project requirement etc.,

Which tools should be used? Depends on what you want to achieve

So, no silver bullet as long as team realizes that combination of these 3 things need to work together. Tools alone NOT enough, as well as just defining process itself NOT enough.

Next question, how to adopt DevOps?

The key thing is, transitioning to DevOps requires a change in culture and mindset. Teams work together to optimize both the productivity of developers and the reliability of operations. They strive to communicate frequently, increase efficiencies, and improve the quality of services provided to customers . They take full ownership for their services, often beyond where their stated roles or titles. Quality assurance and security teams may also become tightly integrated with these teams. Organizations using a DevOps model, regardless of their organizational structure, have teams that view the entire development and infrastructure lifecycle as part of their responsibilities.

With that said, let us look at how teams adopted DevOps in 2018:

I couldn’t find real usernames for these comments, so I am just leaving them without any names or references.

“Communication is more important than tooling and will make or break an organization”

“DevOps is no longer about Developers and Operations teams working together as far as most are concerned, it's all about the automation and tooling - this is sad”

“All of the conversations around DevOps at work focus on tools instead of changing the business processes that create pain. Tools are great but if you're not allowed to make changes to production 4 months out of the year then what's the point of all the tools?”

“Tools like Kubernetes making DevOps into Dev responsibility vs Ops responsibility, instead these should be changed to support whole process.”

“If over time we'll get more people rise up into leadership positions that understand the basic principles, which helps DevOps principles applied properly across the process.”

“Workforce has limited authority to change the process comparing with picking up tools. In some cases workforce old habits (like applying same solution for every context (or) not tweaking applications for new process) causing the DevOps as half baked process.”

“The term used to mean a culture that delivered the best of dev and ops. Now it's just a person who is bad at code and is vaguely familiar with AWS/GCP/Azure.”

If we observe these quotes, though DevOps adoption is clearly dominating the field, most of the teams are doing it wrong. Some teams are failing in developing culture, others in process. But most got tools part somewhat correct.

What is in store for DevOps in year 2019?

Here are some predictions from users/experts:
“There will be correction in DevOps adoption. Most teams realize that tools itself NOT enough to achieve what they want and will start restructuring their process to achieve maximum success”.

“The ecosystem of developer tools will continue to expand. We will see developers continue to choose tools for purpose rather than one solution for everything.”

“Though this is somewhat trend in 2018, CI/CD will become the hot buzzword of 2019.”

“We’ll see DevOps shift to become DevSecOps at an increased pace in 2019, driven by enterprises’ need to implement application security that encompasses the build-ship-run lifecycle from start to finish.”

“We’ll see DevOps shift to become DevSecOps at an increased pace in 2019, driven by enterprises’ need to implement application security that encompasses the build-ship-run lifecycle from start to finish.”

“Talent crunch: DevOps will continue to face a talent vacuum in 2019, At the same time, turnover on DevOps teams will remain relatively high. This challenge of recruiting and retaining DevOps talent will thus drive more enterprises to turn to managed service providers for their DevOps needs.”

“Out of everything else, this one we felt an interesting prediction: Meshing around. Interest in and deployments of service meshes will continue to rise. Expect new emergence in the space and a number of existing offerings to affix “Mesh” onto their offering name as they jump on the coattails of this hot technology.”

As a DevOps advocate, I hope these predictions will become true and DevOps adoption will increase at its core than staying as buzz word.

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