DevOps Blog

The State of DevOps 2019: A Roundup of “State of DevOps” Reports

Stephen Watts
by Stephen Watts
6 minute read

Every year, Puppet reports on the State of DevOps. The most recent edition is the 7th survey conducted in partnership with Splunk. This year, the researchers sought to get a global perspective, so they ensured more than half of the respondents came from outside of North America.

State of DevOps 2018 Report. Source: Puppet.com

In addition, Google Cloud Platform and DORA (DevOps Research and Assessment) publish their own State of DevOps report. The most recent DORA State of DevOps report covers the experience of more than 1,800 IT professionals. The survey has been conducted for the past five years, and in total has included more than 30,000 technical professionals from around the world. In late December of 2018, it was announced that Google has acquired DORA, no doubt in part due to the success of the annual State of DevOps report.

State of DevOps 2018 Report. Source: Cloutplatformonline.com

In this blog post we’re going to look at the reports from Puppet and DORA, and select the most usable and important pieces of information to highlight below. Let’s begin with a recap of what the reports summarized in 2017:

  • Automation is essential: DevOps automation had a positive correlation with the overall effectiveness of an organization.
  • The components make a part of a successful whole: Year after year, Puppet has confirmed that having the right team members, coding, and infrastructure in place for support is a big part of operational success.
  • Faster is better: Using DevOps practices, companies are pushing their limits to produce faster software releases.
  • DevOps leadership requires these five attributes: Vision, inspirational communication, intellectual stimulation, supportive leadership, and personal recognition.
  • Leadership isn’t everything: This calls back to the organization as a whole and its components being an important part of DevOps processes.
  • DevOps is always applicable: All types of organizations can benefit from DevOps.
  • Segmentation is key: This is a driving factor in the overall speed of organizations bringing software to the market.
  • Best practices: DevOps has developed to the point where organizations benefit from implementing certain technical practices.
  • Keep it lean: Customers are happier with lean practices in place.
  • Community growth: Trends show the DevOps community is growing, and that’s not expected to change.

With all that said, here’s what we can look for as we move into 2019:

Key Features of Recent State of DevOps Reports

The most recent DORA report takes a new approach by referring to “software delivery performance” rather than “IT performance”, in order to avoid confusion and differentiate this key activity from IT helpdesk and other types of support functions. Software delivery performance is fundamental to a DevOps approach and underlies other IT success.

This year’s Puppet survey set out with a specific goal: determine the natural evolution of DevOps within an organization. By honing in on a number of organizations, both in and out of North America, Puppet sought a global approach. Here’s what we learned from the report:

  • Many paths can lead to success, but some lead to failure. Following a tried and true path is key.
  • High-level executives view the DevOps process as better or smoother overall than do employees and developers.
  • Start with the smallest pain points and go attack bigger ones as you go.
  • Security automation is critical.
  • Cross-team sharing and collaboration are also mission critical.

Here’s a look at one successful path organizations can take towards DevOps.

Pre-Step: Build A Foundation

It’s kismet that the transformation of DevOps starts with its own evolution, beginning with a foundation that can truly support DevOps through and through. In this pre-stage development, company officers and other stakeholders realize a need for better communication and collaboration and begin rapid fire approvals to implement various pieces of technology to fill the gap.

While this process may begin hastily, it’s not something that can be accomplished quickly. Over time, businesses begin to fine-tune their approaches and customize technology to meet their goals. Eventually, a platform results that can facilitate DevOps throughout the organization. When this occurs, organizations are at a stage where they share ideas, technology, knowledge, and metrics.

You may recognize a business in this phase, or maybe you’re in this phase yourself. It’s easy to see when businesses enter this step because they begin making large software purchases and implementing new practices quickly.

Step 1: Normalize Tech Stacks

In the first formal step of DevOps evolution, companies begin to normalize their stacks of technology. As teams organically choose agile practices that suit them and begin considering new methods, you’ll be able to identify this step in the process. An important tech marker of this step is version control. Teams implement it and other practices that are considered early stages of continuous integration. Normalizing tech stacks may also look like reducing redundancy in the infrastructure or refactoring applications. The need to reduce redundancy comes in the forefront in the next part of the process, but it begins in phase one.

Step 2: Standardization

As eliminating redundancy comes into focus, teams implement more practices geared at reducing variance in a tech stack and standardizing it. In this stage, DevOps teams will limit the number of OSes as a form of consolidation. Here, teams independently consolidating have the opportunity to collaborate. The overarching goal is a standardized family of technologies that work hand in hand to a foster collaboration and development effort.

This phase results in less overall complexity, which gives teams a greater opportunity to work across multiple applications, making the best use of their expertise. Benefits of this phase include:

  • Faster application deployment
  • Error reduction
  • Service quality improvement

For these reasons, standardization is a key figure in the state of DevOps.

Step 3: DevOps Practices

During the previous phase, standardization occurs while teams are exploring the inner-workings of their platform technology. As a side bonus, they are really getting to know the system. In the DevOps practices phase, teams transition from simply exploring the system to being able to make recommendations and exploiting it for DevOps.

This is a good time to evaluate pain points. Typically, this deep-dive approach requires organizations to acknowledge any struggles at the deployment phase. Deployment can be tricky for many organizations that haven’t flushed out DevOps best practices.

A common issue is that the improvements made in previous steps of the evolution have caused developers to move toward deployment faster than the deployment process can support. This causes operations to bottleneck, causing problems. Addressing it swiftly by implementing additional DevOps practices at deployment is critical. That includes reusing the same deployment patterns over and over, and testing deployment prior to reaching this stage.

Step 4: Automated Infrastructure

With high-priority outcomes identified, automation helps teams become even more successful.

The high ticket items most often include provisioning and systems configuration. When teams automate infrastructure delivery, they solve the problem that occurs when developer throughput outpaces deployment. That’s why this is a crucial next step after DevOps practices. Moreover, automating configuration helps teams deploy software faster.

Automation is an important precursor to self-service. It’s the catalyst for the final step in the DevOps process. It stimulates self-service, leading to greater efficiency across an organization.

Step 5: Self Service

In the self-service phase, IT practice occurs throughout an organization and may not be limited to one cost center. This allows for advances within the organization that streamline self-service.

Collaboration in this final phase multiplies the benefits in previous steps. The most significant advances are actualized when application automation transcends standardization and evolves to include cloud migration and other higher level processes. Security also evolves from simply meeting the immediate needs of the team to create a baseline for compliance throughout the organization.

Making Sense of It All

Keeping track of research on the “State of DevOps” can help IT organizations benchmark themselves and look for opportunities for improvement based on the feedback of others. The outlook for DevOps (and SRE) in 2019 is bright as application delivery and release automation becomes increasingly vital to a successful organization.

Your Partners for DevOps

BMC offers a number of solutions that help businesses better transition into DevOps. As evidenced by the research above, having DevOps best practices in place in your company is a cornerstone of becoming an agile DevOps organization.

With BMC as your DevOps launch partner, you will be able to develop the components necessary to achieve success within your enterprise.

  • Build collaborative workflows
  • Integrate compliance and security checks
  • Automate deployment
  • Embed Jobs-as-Code
  • Easily monitor quickly changing applications

With BMC, your DevOps journey is within reach.

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

About the author

Stephen Watts

Stephen Watts

Stephen is based in Birmingham, AL and began working at BMC Software in 2012. Stephen holds a degree in Philosophy from Auburn University and is currently enrolled in the MS in Information Systems - Enterprise Technology Management program at University of Colorado Denver.

Stephen contributes to a variety of publications including CIO.com, Search Engine Journal, ITSM.Tools, IT Chronicles, DZone, and CompTIA.