Developer Experience Gap in Environment Provisioning is Delaying Deployment of Modern Apps
May 01, 2023

Mohan Atreya
Rafay Systems

A developer experience (DevEx) gap is delaying application deployment, according to a new survey of over 500 platform teams and application developers at enterprises.

The Understanding Environment Provisioning for Application Development and Deployment survey, conducted by Rafay Systems, found that one in four organizations take three months or longer to deploy a modern application or service after it is code complete. The leading cause of this delay? Environment provisioning, as reported by the majority of respondents (61%) who stated that it is a major roadblock to accelerating the timeframe for application deployments. At a time where modernizing applications is essential to increasing organizational efficiency, it's crucial to fill this gap to quickly realize the business benefits those applications provide.

Environment provisioning for application delivery has challenged both platform teams and developers with manual processes and infrastructure dependencies, disproportionately impacting the developer experience. While platform teams and developers (91%) overwhelmingly agree that environment provisioning is important for application development and delivery, the survey shows that both teams have different views on the efficacy of their environment provisioning processes as they are today — and many are unsatisfied.

Mind the DevEx Gap Created by Current Environment Provisioning Processes

According to the survey, 61% of platform teams are very satisfied with their organization's current process for environment provisioning. In contrast, over half (52%) of developers are unsatisfied or only somewhat satisfied. This discrepancy reveals a DevEx gap between what application developers expect from their organization's environment provisioning process and the sources currently available to them. Closing this gap is imperative for developers to deploy applications efficiently given that environment provisioning is a critical step in the release of modern applications and services.

Developers cite that current environment provisioning processes are complicated, time consuming and lack automation. Inefficiencies and concerns such as the lack of automation between DevOps and core developer workflows (55%) and that rolling out environments for applications takes too long (41%) are most prominent during the process.

The 39% of platform practitioners who shared they were unsatisfied or only somewhat satisfied with the environment provisioning processes in place at their organization identified pain points including the lack of a standardized way to deploy and manage environments (43%) and that it takes too much time and effort to train development teams on how to provision environments (41%).

Environment Provisioning Takes Too Long

Almost 60% of all respondents said it currently takes less than a month to deploy an application or service from code-complete to production. However, it takes much longer for more than a third of them: deploying an application or service takes three or more months for 25% of respondents, and for 13% it takes even longer at 6 months or more.

Between developers and platform teams, one key pain point matches up: environment provisioning takes too long because developers don't have time to learn about or stay up to date on new processes and platform teams don't have the time to train them.

What else is causing the application deployment delay?

Developers and platform teams note having to wait on someone else (e.g., operations) or a ticketing-based system to provision environments (57%), and that there are too many software/service dependencies between the application as well as delays in app development resulting from the need to test, approve or validate the environment (49%).

Moving Forward: A Self-Service Platform for Environment Provisioning

How can the gap be addressed in a way that benefits both platform teams and developers?

The solution that both sides agree on is self-service. Nearly all platform teams (94%) and application developers (89%) believe it would be valuable to have a self-service workflow or portal where developers can provision environments themselves. Streamlining the process for developers and providing the controls and guardrails required by platform teams allows application delivery to speed up, enabling companies to reap the advantages modern applications can provide at unprecedented speed.

Mohan Atreya is SVP of Product and Solutions at Rafay Systems
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