DevOps: Higher Productivity Drives Accelerating Adoption

James Turnbull is a well-known industry veteran and DevOps enthusiast. We interviewed him last June in the DevOps Leadership Series (his series is here) and when he offered to submit a guest post, I happily accepted! (Also, he’s providing some great info from the recent Puppet Labs survey.) Aliza Earnshaw posted for James.


For those of us who live and breathe DevOps every day, it’s clear that the greater agility and closer collaboration enabled by DevOps translates to real business value for the enterprise.


Without solid data, however, we at Puppet Labs realized our perception was based on our own experience and anecdotal evidence. So we partnered with IT Revolution Press to conduct an annual survey of IT professionals that would tell us more broadly about the state of DevOps: How it’s understood, how widely it’s used, and how well DevOps organizations perform.


Data gathered in the 2013 State of DevOps Report — our second survey — proves that embracing DevOps produces better performance for technical teams of any size. Not surprisingly, we also found that the longer a team has been using DevOps practices, the better the results.


With this kind of success, it’s not surprising that DevOps adoption is accelerating. Sixty-three percent of people who responded to our second survey worked in teams that had implemented DevOps practices. That’s a 26 percent boost from the prior year’s survey.


DevOps: A growing footprint

We received completed surveys from more than 4,000 people across 90-plus countries. Respondents work for a wide range of organizations, from the Fortune 500 to tiny startups.


Most survey respondents — about 80 percent — are hands-on IT people: systems administrators, developers or engineers. More than 70 percent of this IT group work in operations, and the rest in development or engineering.


The most mature DevOps teams perform the best

Our survey data show that the longer an IT team has been working the DevOps way — implementing practices such as automating code deployment —  the more likely it is to deliver a high level of performance, as measured by:


  • Faster deployment. Top teams ship code 30 times more frequently: one or more times per day, instead of once a month – or once a year. Deployments are completed 8,000 times faster.
  • Far fewer service interruptions. Change failure drops by 50 percent, and service is restored 12 times faster.

Implementing changes more quickly, with fewer failures, allows a company to offer its customers new and attractive services ahead of the competition. To get an idea of just how important this advantage is, think of Google, Amazon, Twitter and Etsy. All these segment leaders are known for deploying frequently, with very few service interruptions.

The DevOps practices that deliver this performance

Survey respondents working for organizations that are high performers identified two common DevOps practices:

  • 89 percent use version control systems for infrastructure management
  • 82 percent automate their code deployments

Version control allows you to quickly identify the cause of failure, so you can quickly roll your system back to its last known good state. Deploying automation eliminates configuration drift between environments.


IT teams that use both types of tools together save time and reduce errors, by replacing manual workflows with an automated process. The result? Consistent technical performance that the business strategists in your company can count on. Plus, the IT team has time to focus on system improvements and integrations that can yield valuable business intelligence and quicker, better decisions.


Companies want DevOps — and pay more for them

Job listings for “DevOps” on increased 75 percent between January 2012 and January 2013. Over the same period, mentions of “DevOps” as a skill increased 50 percent on


We found that 46 percent of survey respondents working at companies that have the title “DevOps engineer” within their organization were earning between $100,000 and $150,000 per year. For comparison, 35 percent of all 4,000-plus respondents earned that much.


Likewise, respondents at organizations that consider DevOps skills when hiring were more likely to earn high salaries. Of this group, 42 percent were earning more than $100,000 per year.


We’re not surprised that companies pay more for people with DevOps skills. As more business managers discover that DevOps can lead to faster innovation and more consistent service quality, we expect to see adoption of DevOps practices — and people — continue to accelerate.


These postings are my own and do not necessarily represent BMC's position, strategies, or opinion.

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