10 Ways DevOps Is Changing Enterprise IT

Posted January 9, 2017 By  Cynthia Harvey
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    10 Ways DevOps Is Changing Enterprise IT

    As organizations embrace DevOps principles, it's affecting their technology choices, security and even which programming languages they use.
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    Speed
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    1. Speed

    Because faster development and deployment is one of the hallmarks of the DevOps approach, it should come as no surprise that enterprises are deploying applications more frequently as a result of this shift in philosophy. And that deployment rate seems to be increasing. The Puppet 2016 State of DevOps Report found that high-performing DevOps teams went from 200 deploys per year in 2015 to 1,460 deploys per year in 2016.

    Still, not every organization experiences these benefits. In the Puppet survey, low-performing teams were deploying just two to twelve times per year.

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    2. Containers

    As enterprises have begun looking for ways to speed deployment and simplify operations, they have begun embracing container technology. In fact, DevOps is becoming intertwined with use of containerization tools, especially Docker. The RightScale survey found that use of Docker more than doubled from 13 percent in 2015 to 27 percent in 2016, making it the fastest-growing DevOps tool. Today, 29 percent of enterprises have workloads running in containers, and that percentage seems likely to grow as more enterprises jump on the containerization bandwagon. Container management tools, especially Kubernetes, are also growing in popularity.

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    3. Automation

    Another of the key technologies that enables DevOps is automation. Configuration management tools that automate the deployment and management of infrastructure are particularly popular. In fact, the RightScale survey found that two such tools — Chef and Puppet — are the most widely used DevOps tools, each used by 32 percent of the enterprises surveyed. As companies mature in their use of DevOps, their reliance on automation tends to increase. Over time, this allows IT staff to spend less time on tedious manual tasks and more time on meaningful strategic work.

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    Technical Debt
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    4. Technical Debt

    DevOps and agile offer the opportunity for creating higher-quality code, but sometimes their focus on speed results in the accumulation of technical debt. The Agile Alliance website explains, "Ward Cunningham, one of the authors of the Agile Manifesto, once said that some problems with code are like financial debt. It's OK to borrow against the future, as long as you pay it off." Sometime DevOps development teams take shortcuts in their coding processes, leading to technical debt that they'll need to pay off in the future by refactoring their code. For many enterprises, it's a continual problem that doesn't seem to be getting any better with time.

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    5. Cloud Computing

    In their search for ways to speed development and deployment, many DevOps organizations have embraced cloud computing. According to Evans Data Corporation, 5.4 million developers are actively developing in the cloud, a 375 percent increase since 2009. Numerous surveys show that the vast majority of enterprises now run workloads in the cloud, and developers looking for a quick way to set up dev and test environments has contributed significantly to that trend. And when applications have been developed in the cloud, enterprises often find that it is also easiest to deploy the production versions in the cloud.

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    6. Security

    There's no question that DevOps is having an impact on security — but it's not very clear if it is making enterprises more or less secure. If you believe the DevOps tool vendors, surveys show that DevOps organizations have better security records than other types of organizations. But if you believe the security vendors, attackers continue to become more and more successful at breaching enterprise systems even as organizations embrace DevOps.

    One interesting trend is that the responsibility for application security appears to be changing. The SANS Institute 2016 State of Application Security report found that the number of developers responsible for application security testing increased from 22 percent in 2015 to 30 percent in 2016. And only about a quarter of enterprises say that their application security efforts are "mature" or "very mature."

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    7. Culture

    While this is a more difficult area to measure, DevOps is also having an impact on culture. In fact, most organizations say that the hardest part of adopting DevOps is making the necessary cultural changes. A DevOps approach requires IT team members to have excellent communication and collaboration skills, and these soft skills can be difficult for technical team members to master. In addition, it requires a willingness to move fast, experiment and adapt quickly to changing business needs. Making these cultural changes requires a great deal of effort on the part of management and staff, but many DevOps adopters say the cultural shift is having a noticeable effect on the ways things are done in their organizations.

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    Morale
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    8. Morale

    DevOps also influences employees' job satisfaction, but the type of influence often depends on how successful the team is with its DevOps approach. The Puppet DevOps survey says, "We found that employees in high-performing teams were 2.2 times more likely to recommend their organization to a friend as a great place to work, and 1.8 times more likely to recommend their team to a friend as a great working environment." In other words, if your company does DevOps well, it's likely to make your employees happier. But if your company does DevOps poorly, it will have the opposite effect.

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    9. Programming Languages

    Many websites have compiled lists of the most useful programming languages for DevOps professionals, and the same languages seem to show up time and time again. Java, Python, PHP, Perl and JavaScript all make frequent appearances on lists of "DevOps languages," and interestingly, they all have high rankings on the Tiobe Index of Programming Language Popularity. Java has been in first place on the list since March 2016, and Python is currently at its highest position ever — fourth on the list. Other popular DevOps scripting tools like Bash and PowerShell also make it into the top 100 on the list, suggesting that DevOps may be having an impact on the use of various programming languages.

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    10. Cost Savings

    Does DevOps save enterprises money? The DevOps tool vendors certainly believe so. The Puppet blog even claims that one organization reduced deployment costs by 97 percent. However, the company's State of DevOps survey paints a more nuanced picture, suggesting that high-performing DevOps teams reduce their costs significantly, while low-performing teams see much less benefit. Again, the impact on a particular organization seems to depend on how well they implement DevOps practices.

There's no question that enterprises are embracing DevOps philosophies and practices in greater numbers than ever before. According to the RightScale 2016 State of the Cloud Report: DevOps Trends, "DevOps adoption increased from 66 percent in 2015 to 74 percent in 2016." And among larger enterprise organizations, DevOps adoption is even higher — 81 percent.

At its heart, DevOps is all about greater collaboration between the development and operations arms of IT. It began as an effort to apply the principles of agile software development to infrastructure, and it embraces agile principles like continuous integration, continuous delivery, frequent iterations and continuous testing. The goal of the effort is to increase agility and improve quality while increasing efficiency.

So what impact is this shift toward DevOps having on enterprise IT?

Here are ten of the most noticeable changes resulting from the adoption of DevOps.

Image Source: Shutterstock



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