It’s that time of year. As the calendar year comes to a close, many of us are following time-honored traditions: making preparations for the holidays, planning some much-deserved time off and enjoying time with friends and family.
In the business world, the year-end also brings its own traditions, and first among those is making predictions for the coming year. I’m not one to forgo traditions, so in this article I’ll share my thoughts on the upcoming year within the context of the continuous delivery movement.
To level set, continuous delivery is the most evolved and modern state of software development and testing—and is core to a successful DevOps strategy. Organizations that are able to achieve continuous delivery can rapidly develop, test and release applications—with higher quality and at lower costs.
Simply put, the ability to more continuously deliver software is one of the biggest advantages to attain in the application economy, where the battleground for consumer loyalty is most often found in the ability to deliver superior applications.
Now that we know what continuous delivery means, let’s get to my predictions for 2017:
- Continuous Delivery Means Continuous Everything
Continuous delivery is still a relatively new concept, and one that many organizations strive to achieve. As a new concept, it suffers from some of the misconceptions that often plague emerging technologies or trends. Many technology providers latch on to the term and claim to provide “continuous delivery solutions” that in reality only address a small part of the continuous delivery challenge.
Truly delivering software continuously means that all the tasks within the software development life cycle (SDLC) must be optimized to occur in parallel and continuously. This means development must be continuous, testing must be continuous, and likewise for release and operations.
2017 will be the year that industry embraces the importance of an end-to-end continuous delivery value stream. In 2016, many organizations began their continuous delivery journey by addressing certain aspects of the SDLC; in 2017 many organizations will begin to realize a truly open and integrated continuous delivery workflow.
- Democratization of Continuous Delivery Tools (via the Cloud)
Optimizing all aspects of the SDLC for continuous delivery, as mentioned above, means that related tools need to be easier to use and easier to access. Developers who have access to testing tools (left-shift) can improve the quality of code they produce. Similarly, QA engineers who have access to design requirements sooner can create more accurate test data and scenarios, earlier.
However, for this to occur, the tools have to be both easy to access and simple to use. Developers have avoided complex testing frameworks, but with simple, easy-to-use tools available—often in SaaS forms—developers can certainly incorporate testing into their methodologies.
In 2016, CA acquired BlazeMeter, which pioneered the notion of cloud-based performance testing employing a simple and easy-to-use (yet very powerful) product. We expect to see this trend expand into other tools within the continuous delivery value chain in 2017.
- The Industry Embraces Open Source (Really)
In the past, we’ve noted that commercially motivated technology providers have tried to keep open-source technology “at arm’s length.” There may have been some lip service paid to openness, but in reality many commercial providers felt threatened by open-source solutions that were seen as competitive to their products.
This perception has already started to change, but I believe 2017 will mark the tipping point where companies will truly embrace open-source solutions as part of their strategy; those companies that continuously resist (pun intended) will be at a significant disadvantage.
Open source is important for many of the same reasons as the cloud: It is broadly adopted because it creates advantage in time to market, quality and cost effectiveness. Embracing open source—and by that I mean both integrating with open-source solutions and using them as part of a product strategy—only makes good business sense. It helps software development teams meet their objectives in delivering quality software faster, and at lower cost.
Another year is rapidly coming to a close and we have a lot to look forward to in 2017.
On the topic of continuous delivery, looking forward means spreading continuous delivery throughout the SDLC, using the cloud more and embracing open source.
All of those things combined will help us advance the continuous delivery movement together as an industry. Here’s to another year of continuous delivery advancements!
Don’t forget, you can also take a closer look at the ongoing evolution of continuous delivery and other DevOps-related trends by picking up a copy of my colleagues’ new book, “DevOps for Digital Leaders: Reignite Business with a Modern DevOps-Enabled Software Factory.” If you have some extra time over the holidays, you’ll find it to be an interesting deep-dive.