A snapshot of modern DevOps practices today

Oct 31, 2022 · 5 min read · Leave a comment
Valerie Silverthorne GitLab profile

At almost 15 years old, DevOps has been around long enough to settle in and take shape at organizations around the world. But what do “modern” DevOps practices look like today, and how are they likely to change? Three market research firms gave us their take on the current generation of DevOps, and what’s coming next.

BizDevOps anyone?

If there’s one clear sign of DevOps maturity, it’s the fact that the business side has seamlessly inserted itself into what was forever a bastion of technologies and tech-driven practices. With some of the bigger DevOps battles well in hand (broader adoption of automation, more frequent deployments, and increased software testing), teams are able to bring in new metrics, including user experience, customer satisfaction, and other business drivers. 451 Research found business objectives and outcomes are the leading priority (51%) for enterprises as they refine, improve, and expand their DevOps implementations. In fact, 451 said business metrics are now almost as important a measure of DevOps success as technical achievements like application performance and quality.(1)

Further underscoring the way modern DevOps practices have broadened their focus is the increasing interest in value stream management, which looks at the software development lifecycle from idea generation to customer delivery and satisfaction level. Research firm IDC, in its "Accelerated App Delivery Survey 2021" (U.S. Results)(3), published January 2022, said value stream management is going to be one of the top investment priorities for DevOps teams this year.

DevOps and security

But the focus on business objectives doesn’t mean that work on the tech side of DevOps is done; in fact, DevSecOps and security in DevOps in general continue to be a tricky balance for many teams. IDC, also in its "Accelerated App Delivery Survey 2021" (referenced above), notes the cognitive dissonance of DevOps teams saying security is a top priority and feeling confident about their security posture while at the same time acknowledging DevSecOps is only in use for 25% or less of application development on average.

Forrester Research, in its "State of Application Security, 2022" (May 9, 2022), said: “Savvy security professionals know that to drive application security tool adoption, they must engage developers in the technology decision-making process. With both tooling decision-making and budget moving to development, security pros must redefine their role in application security and take advantage of the opportunity to become more strategic.”

The role of DevOps platforms

Security is an ongoing substantive issue on DevOps teams but there are also a number of smaller, but still significant, problems teams need to solve, including toolchain debt, the challenge of scaling, and the need for a product and platform structure. DevOps platforms can help with all of those challenges.

For starters, it’s nearly impossible to scale DevOps throughout an enterprise without a DevOps platform supporting the effort. A platform provides a single source of truth for all teams, eliminates handoffs, and allows visibility into every stage of the process. A DevOps platform also helps eliminate the inefficiencies caused by too many tools and toolchains. Our 2022 Global DevSecOps Survey found 69% of teams want to streamline their toolchains to reduce time spent on maintenance/integration and improve developer quality of life.

What does a DevOps platform look like in 2022? Forrester Research, in "The Forrester Guide to DevOps 2022" (September 14, 2022) said modern DevOps platforms are “integrated and automated; create a software automation abstraction layer; use SLAs to drive continuous improvement; and have cloud platforms as deployment targets of choice.”

Culture (still) matters

In the early days of DevOps the talk was all about the culture challenge of bringing the vastly different dev and ops teams together. Somewhat surprisingly, market research firms are still talking about culture today, perhaps because the definition of DevOps has expanded to include more than just dev, ops, and even sec: BizDevSecUXTestPlatformLowCodeOps… ad infinitum, apparently.

Organizations wanting DevOps success must continue to push the importance of culture, collaboration, and communication, IDC reported in its "Accelerated App Delivery Survey 2021." Forrester Research offered a stark assessment in "The State of DevOps, 2022" (June 27, 2022): “Never underestimate the importance of cultural transformation. Laggard organizations punish the bearers of bad tidings and don’t understand failure as a learning opportunity. Exorcizing these toxic attitudes is far easier said than done.”

Modern DevOps means modern technologies

Modern DevOps teams continue to incorporate new technologies into their practices. Two standouts: AI/ML and GitOps. 451 points to rising interest in AIOps specifically to address the “too much information” problem with logs and metrics.(2)

Looking forward

Change is of course a given and it’s safe to say that DevOps teams will face new organizational structures, new teammates, and complicated technology adoption challenges.

Cross-functional teams organized around products

After years of bringing dev and ops together, some believe it’s time to reach out further. Forrester, in "The Future of DevOps" (June 8, 2022), said: “In the future, cross-functional teams, from business stakeholders to operational site reliability engineers (SREs), will organize around products, delivering business value via DevOps platforms.”

Wider and deeper platforms

And those DevOps platforms “will consolidate, extend and deepen,” Forrester predicts in "The Future of DevOps," cited above.

Introducing new teammates

Roughly 66% of our 2022 DevSecOps Survey respondents told us their DevOps practices include a low code/no code tool. And that’s going to spread to all teams in the coming years. “Citizen development is a logical evolution of how enterprises deliver apps and enable digital business,” Forrester Research said in "The Future of DevOps."

DevOps on the edge

With the Internet of Things and 5G becoming larger on the horizon, it’s not much of a stretch to predict modern DevOps teams will need to be able to support products with data literally “on the edge.”

“What is modern DevOps today? What will it look like in the future? @IDC, @451, and @Forrester weigh in on the present and future of modern DevOps practices” – Valerie Silverthorne

Click to tweet

Open in Web IDE View source