The Truth About the Underwhelming State of DevOps: Can CI/CD and IaC Fully Achieve Their Promise?
October 20, 2021

Grant Ho

The more digital transformation accelerates, the more important DevOps becomes to hybrid cloud strategies. In this new cloud order, where seamless collaboration between DevOps and ITOps is critical, Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) processes, combined with Infrastructure as Code (IaC) tools, are being heralded as the keys to optimal application development and deployment. Adoption is broad and expectations are high.

There's just one problem: CI/CD and IaC have yet to fully deliver on their promise.

CloudBolt's latest Industry Insights report, The Truth About DevOps Processes and Tools in the Hybrid Cloud Journey, reveals new insight into enterprise challenges with CI/CD and IaC. The report, based on a global survey of 200 IT and DevOps leaders at companies employing at least 1,000 people, sheds light on a chasm between what enterprises expect from CI/CD and IaC, and the results they are experiencing.

Fortunately, there is light at the end of the tunnel. The report also revealed precisely what enterprises need to begin bridging this divide to realize the full potential of CI/CD processes and IaC tools and optimize development pipelines for competitive advantage.

The Bad News

Enterprises invest in CI/CD to increase time to market by developing and delivering applications faster and more reliably. CI/CD accomplishes this by enabling frequent updates and fixes in an ad hoc manner when needed.

However, many CI/CD pipelines are still hindered by unreliable testing and spotty issue detection. Only 11% of respondents said they considered their CI/CD infrastructure to be "reliable," and over half (53%) said they have difficulty detecting infrastructure issues during testing. Also, the number of manual processes in the pipeline limit speed and agility; 63% said that setting pipeline infrastructure involved too many manual processes.

IaC is a key practice for CI/CD that simplifies management and configuration of network infrastructure. IaC empowers CI/CD pipelines by enabling developers to use the same tools to write code for infrastructure provisioning as they would for any other software project. But limitations in governance, integrations and visibility are resulting in leading IaC tools coming up short.


■ 62%of respondents said they had difficulty integrating their IaC tools with multiple providers

■ 90% said they can't properly use their IaC tools without writing custom-coded integrations to other tools and systems

■ 59% said they lack sufficient visibility into the costs of deploying infrastructure with their IaC tools

■ 53% lack visibility into who exactly is using the tools

The Good News

While the gap between expectations of CI/CD and IaC tools is considerable, the data also revealed actionable insights into how enterprises can close that gap and reap the full benefits of these DevOps tools and processes.

Respondents were clear on what they needed to ensure reliability in CI/CD pipelines:

■ 70% said they needed to automate more processes to make infrastructure provisioning faster

■ 62% said they needed continuous detection of infrastructure issues (e.g., unanticipated changes to compute, configurations, storage, passwords, etc.) to reduce testing failures

■ 56% said they needed to simplify the process of remediating infrastructure problems

Respondents also expressed what they need to utilize IaC tools to their full potential. The following three capabilities tied for number one at 62%:

1. Deploy infrastructure using IaC tools, but without requiring technical expertise

2. Define strict IT guardrails on all IaC plans

3. Optimize costs with full visibility into infrastructure deployed with IaC tools

In addition to these three capabilities, 35% of respondents said they needed simpler integrations to their existing tools and technologies in IaC environments.

CI/CD and IaC Just Need the Right Ingredients

CI/CD and IaC can have a transformative effect on DevOps. Although there is currently a divide between potential and current reality with CI/CD and IaC, the strategies and solutions necessary to closing that divide are known and readily available. By implementing solutions that provide the necessary automation, visibility and simplified governance, enterprises can better realize the promises of CI/CD and IaC and stay competitive in the new cloud order.

Grant Ho is CMO of CloudBolt
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