2021 DevOps Predictions - Part 3
December 14, 2020

Industry experts — from analysts and consultants to users and the top vendors — offer thoughtful, insightful, and often controversial predictions on how DevOps and related technologies will evolve and impact business in 2021. Part 3 covers DevOps tools and automation.

Start with: 2021 DevOps Predictions - Part 1

Start with: 2021 DevOps Predictions - Part 2


Increased adoption of open source: 2020 saw significant movements in the open source world, and more changes are on the way. It has become a driving force in developers' hearts and minds and will be closely aligned with DevOps success. The ability of everyone on the DevOps team to view and understand the state of application development is a key DevOps principle. With increased adoption of open source technologies, teams will be able to drill down to the code level of all of the tools they run. In 2021, multi-language environments proliferate, and it will become the norm to use Open source language automation. Organizations that don't embrace these new DevOps  practices will risk becoming irrelevant in a post COVID-19 digital-heavy world.
Tori Wieldt
Sr. Solutions Manager, New Relic


To date, the DevOps community has primarily used open source tools, but these tools often have limitations in regards to what challenges they can address and what problems they can solve. Open source platforms often undergo multiple developments and updates in rapid order, and then need to be customized to meet the organization's use cases. The ongoing maintenance cost becomes exacerbated with team members joining and leaving the company. This creates the need for ongoing support, internal documentation, and code commenting, outside of building the actual application code that the DevOps teams are tasked with developing.  All of this takes time before teams are fully up to speed on how to use them. With DevOps teams continuing to receive pressures to develop, test, formulate, and reliably release products faster, in 2021, we will see products and solutions from commercial vendors getting more traction in the DevOps space. This will allow developers to shed the maintenance tasks around supporting areas that aren't part of the core product.
Jeremy Snyder
Senior Director of Business Development and Solution Engineers, Cloud Security, Rapid7


Increased consolidation of tools: Organizations large and small are under pressure to modernize to deliver more quickly and reliability in the current times. The most savvy organizations are using DevOps as a differentiator to drive competitive business advantage. However, as systems and practices are modernized, organizations are left with legacy tools that no longer serve their needs. This leads to silos, proliferation of tools, and communication issues are proving tough barriers to DevOps adoption.  A top priority for DevOps teams in 2021 will be to figure out how to effectively consolidate all of their tools with the goal of reduced cost and training. We will see DevOps teams leaning toward consolidating various tools to drive fewer outposts of information, and less conflicting conclusions.
Tori Wieldt
Sr. Solutions Manager, New Relic


Better dashboards and user interfaces will be a priority in 2021, as IT Central Station community members are requesting solutions with a single pane of glass to consolidate and integrate all their data, thus avoiding multiple interfaces.
Russell Rothstein
Founder and CEO, IT Central Station


We will see software delivery management evolve to a system based on integrated tools, common data and processes and universal insights. Software delivery has to become a single source of truth across the enterprise, enabling departments outside of IT to be more connected with release-related info and less siloed. IT will still be able to focus on delivering great software that delivers value to customers, but other areas across the company will also be able to plan better based on the actual status of a release at any given time.
Shawn Ahmed
SVP and GM in Product, CloudBees


2021 will be the year that we truly begin to realize the potential of DevOps and true end-to-end automation built continuous delivery practices. While greenfield, and forward leaning smaller organizations are there, in 2021, the larger more complex enterprise will begin to unify automation across functional silos and varied tech stacks to better align Dev and Ops (and security and the business.) We will see less instances of companies with Development-based DevOps tools and practices and Ops-based DevOps tools and practices used, purchased, and defined independent of each other. Dev + Ops is not just a term, it is not just tools, it is not just culture. Instead it is truly facilitating alignment, shared ownership and coordination between Dev, Ops and others around shared goals. The silver lining of 2020? COVID and the shift to remote work has shown companies that digital transformation can't wait!
Brian Dawson
DevOps Evangelist and Product Suite Marketing, CloudBees

Kubernetes and cloud native architecture adoption is on the rise. The usage of this new infrastructure layer is more and more frequently across a hybrid infrastructure estate. The need for automation is only growing as workload footprints increase, especially for security and compliance. In order to manage these increasingly complex environments, I predict that enterprises will start to really scale their DevOps practices in 2021, including an increased focus on internal self-service platforms. Internal platforms help teams do more through self-service and support DevOps and automation initiatives — ultimately leading to faster and easier delivery of better-quality, more secure software.
Abby Kearns
CTO, Puppet

Enterprise DevOps teams will begin to re-organize around cloud-native pipeline workflows. Security, operations, compliance management will all be organized according to how they fit into the CI/CD pipeline all the way into production to make sure manual processes and configurations are eliminated (or at least don't slow the pipeline). Every activity and requirement will be examined to determine how DevOps teams can best automate it and most efficiently manage it.
Glen Kosaka
VP Product, NeuVector


Demand for "Hyper Automation" will Force the Integration of Modern Workforce: Hyper Automation is the use of low-code development to rapidly unify AI, bots, and people with data in the same workflow. 2020 was about buying RPA bots and AI services. 2021 will be about organizations looking to scale those technologies, realizing the full value of those investments by unifying the modern workforce with humans in control.
Michael Beckely
CTO and Co-Founder, Appian

Hyperautomation will reshape our understanding and use of data. The vast cloud migration over the past several months has led to an abundance of big data — big unstructured data, for the most part. Hyperautomation, driven by artificial intelligence, will help businesses categorize the data and draw new, actionable insights from it. The industry has said before how data can help with business decisions and the importance of IT's role in the bottom line. What AI and hyperautomation will do for data in the next year exemplifies that merging of IT and business.
Ed Macosky
Head of Product, Boomi, a Dell Technologies business


2021 Will be The Year of Automated Code Analysis: In 2020, we saw engineering organizations expand the scope of their automation initiatives beyond their CI/CD pipelines, and place a heavier emphasis on code quality in pre-production. I anticipate that we'll see an uptick in adoption of automated code analysis as part of a larger shift left strategy to detect issues as early in the release cycle as possible. Static and dynamic code analysis tools will become a default part of the tool chain, helping companies ship more reliable code, faster, and limit production issues.
Karthik Lalithraj
Director of Solution Engineering, OverOps


In 2021, its extremely likely that error monitoring will really enable developers to build software quickly and painlessly. Whether it's a cloud native company that regularly deploys new features or a financial institution that only does one major release every quarter, catching errors and resolving them quickly will become increasingly important. But, it's about more than just observability, error monitoring will start helping dev teams be more proactive.
Brian Rue
CEO and Co-Founder, Rollbar


Error monitoring drives code ownership: Most major applications have a wide variety of engineers, including separate engineering teams, working from a single code base. When something goes wrong, all the engineers and engineering teams are alerted about the bug. From there, they have to figure where the bug occurred and who is specifically responsible for fixing it. This is a cumbersome and inefficient undertaking that slows the process of repairing apps. And as software engineering teams grow, the problem only becomes worse as it gets harder to properly fix bugs and maintain app stability. The emerging concept of code ownership introduces a quicker and easier approach. With this method, organizations create code owner files to determine which engineers or teams are responsible for each section of code or feature flags or experiments. If section X of a code fails, then team X will address it. This makes it much easier to respond to application issues and assign the correct developer resources to remedy those issues. For end users, this means that malfunctioning apps will be fixed quicker, improving customer experience and boosting business metrics. From an internal POV, engineering teams become far more cost- and time-efficient, freeing developers to take on new projects.
James Smith
CEO, Bugsnag


Automating how developer teams respond to error alerts will likely become a big focus for the software development/error monitoring industry in 2021. Fixing code isn't always the same as improving it, and all developers would rather be doing the latter instead of the former. So, finding ways to automate that process, even if it's just creating and assigning Jira tickets, will help it be less time consuming. To do that, dev teams need to be confident in the error signals they're getting, so accuracy in those alerts will also be important to them. If they can't trust the info they're getting, they can't automate how to respond.
Brian Rue
CEO and Co-Founder, Rollbar


The further development of predictive analytics will shape the future for companies that adopt VSM. Over recent years, value stream management (VSM) platforms have improved the way organizations develop software, but what is going to really move to the forefront in 2021 is that VSM predictive analytics will shape organizations' knowledge and foresight of what their customers need. The need for visibility into the software delivery process will enhance the ability to make informed decisions based on that insight and become a differentiator for companies that rely on software.
Bob Davis
CMO, Plutora

Go to: 2021 DevOps Predictions - Part 4, covering testing and quality.

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