By James Turnbull (@kartar), VP of Technology Operations, Puppet Labs Inc.
A sysadmin’s time is too valuable to waste resolving conflicts between operations and development teams, working through problems that stronger collaboration would solve, or performing routine tasks that can – and should – be automated. Working more collaboratively and freed from repetitive tasks, IT can – and will – play a strategic role in any business.
At Puppet Labs, we believe DevOps is the right approach for solving some of the cultural and operational challenges many IT organizations face. But without empirical data, a lot of the evidence for DevOps success has been anecdotal.
To find out whether DevOps-attuned organizations really do get better results, Puppet Labs partnered with IT Revolution Press IT Revolution Press to survey a broad spectrum of IT operations people, software developers and QA engineers.
The data gathered in the 2013 State of DevOps Report proves that DevOps concepts can make companies of any size more agile and more effective. We also found that the longer a team has embraced DevOps, the better the results. That success – along with growing awareness of DevOps – is driving faster adoption of DevOps concepts.
DevOps is everywhere
Our survey tapped just over 4,000 people living in approximately 90 countries. They work for a wide variety of organizations: startups, small to medium-sized companies, and huge corporations.
Most of our survey respondents – about 80 percent – are hands-on: sysadmins, developers or engineers. Break this down further, and we see more than 70 percent of these hands-on folks are actually in IT Ops, with the other 30 percent in development and engineering.
DevOps orgs ship faster, with fewer failures
DevOps ideas enable IT and engineering to move much faster than teams working in more traditional ways. Survey results showed:
- More frequent and faster deployments. High-performing organizations deploy code 30 times faster than their peers. Rather than deploying every week or month, these organizations deploy multiple times per day. Change lead time is much shorter, too. Rather than requiring lead time of weeks or months, teams that embrace DevOps can go from change order to deploy in just a few minutes. That means deployments can be completed up to 8,000 times faster.
- Far fewer outages. Change failure drops by 50 percent, and service is restored 12 times faster.
Organizations that have been working with DevOps the longest report the most frequent deployments, with the highest success rates. To cite just a few high-profile examples, Google, Amazon, Twitter and Etsy are all known for deploying frequently, without disrupting service to their customers.
Version control + automated code deployment = higher productivity, lower costs & quicker wins
Survey respondents who reported the highest levels of performance rely on version control and automation:
- 89 percent use version control systems for infrastructure management
- 82 percent automate their code deployments
Version control allows you to quickly pinpoint the cause of failures and resolve issues fast. Automating your code deployment eliminates configuration drift as you change environments. You save time and reduce errors by replacing manual workflows with a consistent and repeatable process. Management can rely on that consistency, and you free your technical teams to work on the innovations that give your company its competitive edge.
What are DevOps skills?
More recruiters are including the term DevOps in job descriptions. We found a 75 percent uptick in the 12-month period from January 2012 to January 2013. Mentions of DevOps as a job skill increased 50 percent during the same period.
In order of importance, here are the skills associated with DevOps:
- Coding & scripting. Demonstrates the increasing importance of traditional developer skills to IT operations.
- People skills. Acknowledges the importance of communication and collaboration in DevOps environments.
- Process re-engineering skills. Reflects the holistic view of IT and development as a single system, rather than as two different functions.
Interestingly, experience with specific tools was the lowest priority when seeking people for DevOps teams. This makes sense to us: It’s easier for people to learn new tools than to acquire the other skills.
It makes sense on a business level, too. After all, the tools a business needs will change as technology, markets and the business itself shift and evolve. What doesn’t change, however, is the need for agility, collaboration and creativity in the face of new business challenges.
About the author:
A former IT executive in the banking industry and author of five technology books, James has been involved in IT Operations for 20 years and is an advocate of open source technology. He joined Puppet Labs in March 2010.