Tech Stack Consolidation: Don't Sacrifice Deployment Quality for Cost Savings
March 15, 2023

Stephen Atwell

Nearly 70% of DevOps and security professionals want to cut their tech stack, according to Gitlab's Global DevSecOps Survey. As many teams experience tech stack sprawl and tightening budgets, paring down seems ideal. But be wary — cutting too much can be counterproductive.

IT leaders must walk the line between enabling efficiency with fewer apps and removing crucial functionalities by over-consolidation. Not all tech tools increase complexity — some streamline and improve your stack. In the case of DevOps, efficient and reliable code deployments require a well-defined functional toolchain, which automation capabilities enhance.

The Benefits of Consolidation

Many teams use between six and ten tools, leading to a third of developers spending at least half their time on toolchain integration and maintenance, according to the GitLab survey. Using many applications with similar functionalities hinders productivity because development teams must maintain knowledge of each. A streamlined toolset mitigates some software development complexity. By reducing processes and user interfaces, developers have more time to write code. Smaller tech stacks are also more agile and scalable.

Consolidation drives cost savings, a pressing need for many decision-makers. Additionally, a large tool stack can compromise security by creating more opportunities for bad actors.

However, there is no such thing as an "all-in-one" solution, so you'll never prune your roster down to one. A tech stack that's too lean creates the same problems as one that's too complex. If IT leaders remove necessary tools or replace them with less effective solutions, development teams will find themselves executing more manual tasks, detracting from coding time.

Consolidation Considerations

The organization's end goal should be a smooth software lifecycle with high DORA metrics that generates quality applications. Disparate tools add steps and complexity, but a certain number are required to facilitate an effective process. In this situation, adding a pipeline orchestration solution like continuous deployment is the right move.

While this appears to be layering yet another tool, you're actually providing process control, cohesion and optimized functionality. Each run of the pipeline saves your company money because it automates tasks that would otherwise require manual time and effort. The key difference between new application spend and automation spend is new applications create ongoing maintenance costs while well-designed automation improves existing functions to be more cost-effective and drive business value.

Continuous deployment tools are, in a sense, subtraction by addition. The process validates and ensures integration between deployment tools and functions to seamlessly move code from one stage to the next without manual intervention. Teams can more easily test code in a production-like environment and roll back unhealthy or poor-performing software before it crashes the system. Enforcing consistent validation of production changes saves your company from lost revenue due to downtime from bad changes.

Continuous deployment also saves cloud technology costs by enabling automated tagging so you can understand who is responsible for what infrastructure. This insight enables you to relay optimization advice to the teams that can activate it.

More than half of surveyed teams report deployment challenges caused by too many manual steps and a lack of consistency. Continuous deployment makes releasing updates simple, reliable, predictable and repeatable and requires less manual effort for better customer experience, software performance and business value.

Consolidation is not the only mechanism for cost savings. By cutting too many tools, your team returns to a clunky, inefficient process. Focus on building an efficient and productive stack that maximizes the tools' value and your team's output.

Stephen Atwell is Principal Product Manager at
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