2019 DevOps Predictions - Part 1
December 13, 2018

DEVOPSdigest's annual list of DevOps Predictions is one of the most popular series of content on DEVOPSdigest. DevOps experts — analysts and consultants, users and the top vendors — offer thoughtful, insightful, and sometimes controversial predictions on how DevOps and related technologies will evolve and impact business in 2019.

Some of these predictions may actually come true next year, while others may be just as valid but take several years to be realized. Still others may be wishful thinking or unnecessary fears. Some of the predictions even contradict each other. But taken collectively, this list of predictions offers an insider's look at what the DevOps experts are thinking about, planning, expecting and hoping for next year. No matter who ends of being right or wrong, these predictions are all thoughtful and serious visions of the future of DevOps.

The list of DevOps predictions will be posted in 6 parts over the next week, with a few additional installments and a separate list of DevSecOps Predictions posted after the first of the year. Part 1 takes a look at the DevOps Big Picture.

DEVOPS GOES MAINSTREAM

Bill Gates said: “We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten. Don't let yourself be lulled into inaction.” While many have predicted the spread of Enterprise DevOps in the future, the current adoption has been slow as development and operations teams are still walled off in many IT organizations. The early adopters of Enterprise DevOps have proven that it accelerates the transformation to digital for companies, but what will it take for other companies to take action with the adoption of DevOps? As the economy accelerates in 2019, competitive pressures in the market are forcing enterprises to speed up their digital transformation projects. Paired with a competitive job market that is pushing enterprise IT to optimize and do more with less, CIOs and senior IT executives will be forced to support and standardize on Enterprise DevOps practices to avoid being disrupted.
Mark Levy
Director, Product Marketing, Micro Focus

Competitive disruption will drive remaining laggards to a DevOps boiling point. As the industry moves to the plateau of productivity with DevOps automation and standard tooling, laggard executives will reach a management crisis point that will force actions. Mainframe-centric, heavily regulated, and even businesses that have historically not identified the external catalyst for transformation will awaken to the reality of missed business opportunities if they fail to adapt architectures and processes to embrace cloud technologies and modern ways of developing and deploying technology. Developing nations and a backlash against nationalism will drive a global move to leverage technology to open and mature key markets, which will shine a spotlight on the last bastions of waterfalls and walled gardens.
Ari Weil
Global VP of Product and Industry Marketing, Akamai

In the past, we often saw organizations asking questions around DevOps trying to justify the reasons for putting effort into making it part of their organizations development strategy. This year, at the DevOps Enterprise Summit, we saw that sort of questioning completely shift from “why” to “how.” People no longer just looking to be convinced or how to convince their boss; they're now looking at practical direction for how to get started, leverage existing automation practices, and how to maximize value. So there is major opportunity for DevOps to spread and start really delivering more meaningful value. Prediction: Managers and directors will be editing their power point presentations to the CXO to focus more on tactics and tooling than business value.
Hans Ashlock
Director of Technical Marketing , Electric Cloud

With digital transformation in full swing, businesses are increasingly intent on delivering a consistent customer experience across their in-store locations, websites and mobile devices — and doing so in real-time. This need for instantaneous uniformity will fundamentally reshape software development priorities in 2019. Organizations will increasingly focus on being first and fastest to market, and on delivering a seamless and uniform experience across all platforms. As a result, if they're not already, developers will move aggressively to implement modern DevOps and agile development best practices. They'll also make the long-overdue decision to prioritize automated testing throughout the development pipeline, as agile development requires agile testing to deliver on the user experience customers expect and demand in the digital age.
Joanna Schloss
VP of Product Marketing, Sauce Labs

STILL NO DEV+OPS

Unfortunately, DevOps continues to be seen as a discipline of Ops only. While bringing agile principles and automation tools to the Ops community is valuable, the fact that Dev is still considered to be a separate silo means organizations will not realize the full benefits of DevOps.
Burr Sutter
Director, Developer Experience, Red Hat

END OF NO-OPS

The once-shiny object of no-Ops has lost its luster — The quest for enterprise agility that assumed Dev could “do it all” has run its course. In 2019, Ops will reassert its role in the DevOps team with a reinvigorated focus on key values by baking governance, production orchestration, stability and scalability into the cake before it gets put into oven. We suspect Dev will be delighted to have Ops back.
Tim Eusterman
Senior Director, Solutions Marketing, BMC Software

DEVOPS TOOLS MUST INTEGRATE

According to IT Central Station's community of DevOps professionals, they expect their DevOps tools to integrate well with other solutions that are part of their overall workflow. In 2019, DevOps vendors that work with other solutions to create a more efficient and productive development cycle will be the champions in the competitive market.
Russell Rothstein
Founder and CEO, IT Central Station

DEVOPS FOCUS ON BUSINESS VALUE

I believe the scope of DevOps is going to expand from a focus on "code to cloud" to more of a complete value stream approach on how to accelerate the delivery of business value from initiative through deployment and feedback.
Carmen DeArdo
Senior Value Stream Management Strategist, Tasktop Technologies

The real move to modernization will happen when business experts are able to not only define requirements for development, but declaratively build new applications from the customer requirements outward. We’re starting to see the first realistic interpretation and automation tools begin to bloom, and some Fortune 500 companies will wake up and smell them.
Jason English
Principal Analyst & CMO , Intellyx

Although we have been talking about DevOps in the broad sense for a number of years now, I hope this is the year that mainstream conversations around DevOps focus on more than just automation. Instead, businesses will explore ways they can leverage DevOps to deliver repeatable value for customers.
Ed Pearson
DevOps Product Manager, DevOpsGroup

DATABASE DEVOPS

DevOps is going to see a lot more of the database in 2019. For the first time, the recent Accelerate State of DevOps Reportfrom DORA called out database development as a key technical practice which can drive high performance in DevOps. It also revealed that teams which do continuous delivery well use practices like version control for database changes and manage them in the same way as changes to the application. That's quite a shift in the way the database is viewed, and moves it from being a blocker that was hindering the speed of development which DevOps can otherwise achieve to an enabler that can take an active part in it.
Simon Galbraith
CEO & Co-Founder, Redgate

2019 will be the year of the database and security as far as DevOps is focused on. As already shown by the latest DORA report, database changes are often a major source of risk and delay when performing deployments. While Continuous Delivery is already highly adopted for Application Development, databases are being left behind, and are a struggle for productivity as well as plain risk.With development to release lead time expected to continue and shorten in 2019, databases will have to catch up with the tools now available in the market for database release automation.
Yaniv Yehuda
Co-Founder and CTO, DBmaestro

DEVOPS FIELD NARROWS

Turn out the lights, the party's over! That's a slight exaggeration, but 2019 will be the year when the field narrows down to a leader and a couple of contenders in each stage of the software development lifecycle. The reason is simple: DevOps teams like choice, and as the tools mature they will know which ones they like. Winners also get the benefit of the ecosystem rallying behind their cause (who doesn't like a winner?). And finally, enterprise architects get some well-deserved street cred when they say “governance matters.”
Tim Eusterman
Senior Director, Solutions Marketing, BMC Software

The cloud and container market is maturing, meaning many core problems have solutions that have been productized. This leaves room for more innovation for peripheral problems, but also makes competition stiff. To counter that, we’ll see market consolidation continue to grow in 2019 as companies with cash fight to expand their marketshare. Small- to medium-sized companies will continue to be gobbled up. Monitoring, security, and compliance as frontrunners for acquisition, and we should expect a few key larger M&As, especially for tools integral to the dev process. “Developer engagement” is a strong currency that tech giants are willing to fork over a ton of cash for.
Laura Tacho
Director of Engineering, CloudBees

NEW GENERATION OF DEVOPS STARTUPS

2019 will see a new generation of startups increase DevOps' scope and complexity. For these younger companies — and unlike established enterprises — DevOps isn't an add-on that requires a fresh mentality and a transformation to adopt. Rather, DevOps has already existed as a valuable component for as long as they've been in business. Given this head start, these companies are taking DevOps several steps further by expanding it into infrastructure-as-code, auto-scaling, CI/CD pipelines, and more areas where it can enhance software development. In 2019, expect DevOps to continue to reap benefits outside of development and production environments (like in staging and UX), while offering interesting features across a much wider set of use cases where DevOps hasn't played a role until now.
Glenn Grant
President, US East, Mission

Read 2019 DevOps Predictions - Part 2, covering DevOps culture and people.

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