In a movement that has gained momentum as quickly as DevOps has, it's always good to stop from time to time and evaluate where we are, where we have come from, and where we are going. Sometimes it's easy to get caught up in the hype of what's happening today and lose perspective of the bigger picture. Analysts broaden our view on an ever-changing landscape.
In just a matter of a few years the DevOps language, methodology and tools have exploded in popularity in the software development world. In fact, DevOps concepts have extended further and are discussed at higher business levels because organizations are understanding that software drives customer value. This DevOps momentum builds on the accomplishments of the Agile movement. Together, these growing trends toward breaking down silos, cross team coordination and collaboration have dramatically changed what software development looks like in the enterprise.
Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) solutions have also grown and adapted over the years, serving both Agile principles and DevOps goals. A good ALM platform manages the software development lifecycle in a way that ensures continuous feedback loops from plan to deploy, integrating stakeholders from operations and other teams early in the process.
Much has been accomplished already by our industry, which is worth recognizing. We've learned that by looking back, we can see the patterns for the future emerging.
I asked four industry experts some questions about the progress of ALM and DevOps: Stephen Hendrick of AD Research, Edwin Yuen of the Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), Altaz Valani of InfoTech Research Group and Clive Longbottom of Quocirca.
What Are the Greatest Successes in DevOps and ALM So Far?
First, I asked these analysts to discuss what the greatest successes made for DevOps and Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) have been so far.
Clive Longbottom, Founder and Analyst at Quocirca, commented on the vast number of tools that have emerged and the need for an overarching ability to collaborate and manage across the entire lifecycle and across tools.
Longbottom said: "Rather than being a ragtag collection of disparate tools chosen and used by individuals for their own ends, we are finally seeing [DevOps and ALM] tools coming through that enable full collaboration and control along the entire lifecycle, while still enabling a degree of individual choice as to the base tools being used."
The challenge facing organizations is not only the sheer number of tools available, but the lack of orchestration for managing all the moving parts – people, processes, teams and projects – represented by these complex tool chains.
Again, Edwin Yuen, Analyst at ESG, talks about the number of tools available to support DevOps and Agile. He also acknowledges the success the industry has had in getting business leaders to understand the value of these initiatives.
"I think the biggest success in the industry is simply getting companies to understand the significant value, and in some cases, the need for tools to assist in DevOps," said Yuen. "DevOps and Agile are more than just the frameworks and ideas for faster application development but should be the model for the operational usage of them. That shift toward implementing operational usage and the tools needed for it was very important."
Also, speaking to the wide adoption of DevOps or some degree of Agile practices, Stephen Hendrick, from AD Research gives us a glimpse of what is to come due to the maturity of these adoptions.
Hendrick said: "In application development and deployment, DevOps is now the new normal. Surveys are showing that virtually all enterprises practice Agile to some degree. The growing maturity of CI/CD products means that enterprises will be able to see higher levels of automation in the pipeline, faster time to value, higher levels of software quality, and increased IT productivity."
The maturation of Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Delivery (CD) has added incredible value to the software development lifecycle and organizations are able to get the results in terms of delivery speed, that they need to stay ahead.
Lastly, Altaz Valani, Senior Research Director, Application Development Practice at InfoTech Research Group, shared a bit about how industry standards for containers support portability for ALM and DevOps.
"Containers have been with us for awhile now. The issue has been portability and standardization," said Valani. "The Open Container Initiative Docker PoC and Release Candidates opened the door for industry standards around container formats, which will support greater portability in the ALM/DevOps space."
Microservices accelerate the drive to better quality and less risk. Indeed, this has greatly impacted the DevOps space.
These insights give us a good understanding of the current landscape and the progress that has already been made.
Read Analyst Insights on Accomplishments, Challenges & Opportunities in DevOps - Part 2, where I share what the analysts see as the greatest challenges facing DevOps innovation for today's enterprises. We can continue to learn together what lies ahead for the software development industry and the future of the DevOps movement.
Eric Robertson is VP DevOps Product Engineering & Management at CollabNet.