DevOps Blog

State of DevOps in 2021: A Report Roundup

6 minute read
L’oréal Hunter

In this blog post we’re giving you an overview of the most recent DevOps reports from Puppet, DORA, and the DevOps Institute. We will highlight important information from each report below.

Then, read on for the steps successful organizations can take in adopting DevOps.

Puppet’s State of DevOps

Every year, Puppet reports on the State of DevOps, and they recently released their 9th edition. This leading DevOps report, in partnership with Circleci and other sponsors, has polled more than 35,000 technical pros over the years, so its results hold a lot of sway.

In the 2020 report, Puppet heard from over 2,400 pros. For years, research like this has indicated how organizations struggle to mature their DevOps environment, especially beyond the early stages. Companies that have pushed beyond a middling DevOps practice seem to have one thing in common: deeper structural changes. The report highlights two areas where these structural changes can have significant impact on overall DevOps maturity:

  • Using a platform approach for software delivery. This newer approach to software development, done right, results in “faster, more efficient delivery of high-quality software that meets an organization’s business needs—and at scale”.
  • Applying DevOps principles to change management. Change management is a significant bottleneck to frequent software releases. By applying DevOps practices, like widespread automating of testing and risk mitigation,  writing changes in code, and giving employees more scope to influence changes, you can achieve the efficient, frequent, and secure dev releases essential to DevOps success.

Other key findings include:

  1. Highly evolved DevOps organizations rely more on internal platforms. But the caveat here is that internal platforms can be a weakness because they require more time, talent, and customization to standardize.
  2. Managing products, instead of projects, is the right mindset to have to scale platforms and your DevOps practice.
  3. Organizations who’ve embedded security into the entire DevOps lifecycle can solve nearly half of their critical vulnerabilities in under 24 hours. Less mature orgs, however, might only be able to solve 25% of these in the same period.

Google Cloud Platform & DORA

Next we have Google Cloud Platform and DORA (DevOps Research and Assessment), who 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 six years, and in total has included more than 31,000 technical professionals from around the world.

Their research identifies the capabilities that drive improvement in the Four Key Metrics, including:

  • Technical practices
  • Cloud adoption
  • Organizational practices (including change approval processes)
  • Culture

Some of their key findings include:

  1. The industry continues to improve, particularly among the elite performers.
  2. Delivering software quickly, reliably, and safely is at the heart of technology transformation and organizational performance.
  3. The best strategies for scaling DevOps in organizations focus on structural solutions that build community.
  4. Cloud continues to be a differentiator for elite performers and drives high performance.

DevOps Institute

And lastly, let’s take a look at the DevOps Institute Upskilling report for 2020. The DevOps Institute conducted the study researching the necessary skills a DevOps human must possess for a second year in a row. The following report goes into detail sharing the result of more than 1,260 individuals globally surveyed who identified which skills are considered critical to DevOps and digital transformation.

Some of their key findings include:

  1. DevOps topologies primarily used today are a huge challenge.
  2. DevOps transformation journey is still very difficult for more than 50%.
  3. Agile, DevOps and ITIL are getting strong competition from SRE.
  4. The DevOps human as a hybrid job and role.

Steps to successful DevOps adoption

Year after year, organizations use these steps as the foundation for their DevOps adoption.

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 2020 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.

Additional resources

For more on this topic, check out the BMC DevOps Blog or read these articles:

Free Download: Enterprise DevOps Skills Report

Human skills like collaboration and creativity are just as vital for DevOps success as technical expertise. This DevOps Institute report explores current upskilling trends, best practices, and business impact as organizations around the world make upskilling a top priority.

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

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About the author

L’oréal Hunter

Assoc. Manager, Solutions Marketing
L’oréal has recently started with BMC working on web and social marketing for the Control-M product for BMC. She has over 10 years of experience in content marketing in a variety of industries, including oil and gas, health and fitness and the hotel industry. She enjoys storytelling, traveling and movies. L’oréal has a B.S. in Marketing from Johnson and Wales University in Rhode Island and an M.A. in New Media from Full Sail University in Florida.