We will be wrapping up our DevOps coverage for the year by the end of this week. It’s hard to believe that another year has gone by. The gravitational lensing of COVID-19 makes it hard to see the progression of the last nine years here at DevOps.com. Things seem to get a bit hazy looking back. However, 2022 was certainly one for the record books in ways both good and bad. 2022 saw DevOps, our community our countries and our world pushed and pulled in directions we would not have imagined just a few short years ago. To understand what happened in DevOps in 2022, we need to account for several macro factors that played outsized roles this year. They are:
- COVID-19: It’s still here; still killing hundreds of people every day. While some in the U.S. and Western Europe have “moved beyond” it, COVID-19 is still draining our resources, sucking the air out of the room and impacting not just the economy but how we interact with each other individually. In the next few months, I am afraid we will see the 1.4 billion people of China experience a backlash as they move away from zero-COVID policies. Not to mention the other viruses and diseases that are circulating.
- War: When I was a young boy, I remember a popular poster/sticker that said something like, “War is not healthy for children and other living things.” That’s still true; it’s not healthy for the economy, either (unless you sell ammunition). The human toll of the war in Ukraine is heartbreaking in the present moment, and the toll that this war will take on the once-healthy tech sectors in Ukraine, Russia and the rest of Eastern Europe also will be felt for a very long time.
- Inflation: Again, I am transported back to my youth as inflation rears its ugly head and puts its foot on the throat of our economy. Sometimes I wonder if the Fed and other central banks won’t stop raising interest rates until the economy is good and dead, but their fear of inflation is almost genetic. While recent signs point to a potential peak, we still have a long way to go and the possibility of more interest rate hikes ahead of us. These will continue to make it harder to raise money and put a crimp in companies’ budgets. That means layoffs and budget cuts; projects cut or pushed out. We haven’t seen disruption like this in tech for more than 10 years. But for those of my vintage, we have seen cycles like this before. This too shall pass.
- Hate: Is it me or has the whole world gone crazy with tribalism, nationalism, racism, antisemitism and a bunch of other “-isms”? We seem to be ripping ourselves apart from the inside out. I don’t have a clue how to combat this on a macro level, but I pray every day that things get better.
With these four horsemen of the apocalypse riding among us, you may think that I am not very bullish on DevOps now and in the future. But you’d be wrong. Like the little boy in a room full of horse manure, I remain very excited because I know there must be a pony around here somewhere.
DevOps has continued to evolve, continued to mature and has become an indispensable part of today’s modern software factories. Like their own version of Marvel’s Avengers or DC’s Justice League, DevOps, along with cloud-native, SRE, Agile, CI/CD, DevSecOps and dare I say it, platform engineering, are wielded by IT teams around the globe to continue to push forward as we digitally transform our businesses and the very fabric of our lives. That is what gets me up and out of bed every day and makes me excited to come to work.
While some marketers are busy running around printing stickers and shirts proclaiming that DevOps is dead, nothing could be further from the truth. Look around—as far as the eye can see, DevOps is everywhere. As we explored in our DevOps Experience virtual event in October (the sessions are still there for you to watch on demand), DevOps is everywhere. It is at the edge; it is in the “connected things”; it is inherent in technologies like WebAssembly (Wasm) and DevOps is distributed.
In 2023, I think DevOps at the edge, the DevOps of things and Wasm will be huge areas of growth. I realized that some of these folks claiming that DevOps is dead are trying to say platform engineers will replace DevOps engineers. But like Darth Vader trying to strike down Obi-Wan, all they are doing is making DevOps stronger than ever. You see, DevOps was never about DevOps engineers; it’s not about one role or one individual. In fact, some of my best friends helped kick off the DevOps movement and they’d react quite loudly when they heard the term DevOps engineers. DevOps is about building, maintaining and managing our software and applications. It’s a way of thinking about how we can go faster, be smarter and achieve better quality. It’s not about a particular tool you use or the role you play on the team, it’s about the fact that you have a team.
So, what does 2023 have in store for DevOps? More of the same, I think. DevOps, along with all of the associated frameworks and technologies, will continue to allow us to do more and do it faster and better. As I think about the coming year, I am very excited about the potential for ML and AI and I think they are going to have an outsized role in allowing us to be more successful. I think the novelty of these technologies has worn off and we will get to the productivity phase. I remember interviewing Luke Kanies years ago; he told me that one day software would write software. I asked him when he thought this might happen, and he said maybe 2035 or so. I think we are on track. Much like ChatGPT and Jasper’s impact on copywriting, AI won’t take the place of developers. But it will free them of some of the mundane, repetitive chores they do now.
I think we’ll also see an emphasis on feedback loops and iteration. I think automation, ML/AI will contribute to this in a big way. We have put so much of our DevOps emphasis on the development, integration and deployment of software. But observability allows us to see patterns and use cases as never before. We need to incorporate those findings into the next revision of our software. This is going to be a big story in 2023. That old infinity loop model for DevOps will rise to the top once again.
Thank you for all of the support for DevOps.com this year and over the past few years. I hope this holiday season finds you and yours healthy and happy. Merry, merry. Happy, happy. See you in 2023.