How DevOps Is Driving the Demand for Cross-Platform Tools

The demands of modern business mean companies today want choice when it comes to the technology they deploy. Gone are the days when they rigidly used a single environment–instead they want to be able to use the best of technology from vendors and be sure it will work across environments seamlessly.

Whether it’s on-premises or the cloud, Linux or Windows, SQL Server or Oracle databases or even at the development tool level, they want their people to be able to use the Integrated Development Environment (IDE) they’re most at home with, yet still be able to share third party tools and resources. This requirement for greater choice is being driven by three key factors.

The Growth of DevOps

Firstly, the spread of DevOps is leading to greater collaboration between departments within an organization, as is the rise of the cloud.

In the past, for example, database administrators (DBAs) and application developers worked in their own silos, with their own technology, without needing to interact. DevOps has radically changed this, bringing them together in teams where workflows merge and complement each other. They need to follow the same processes, such as continuous integration and continuous development, but have very different technology backgrounds and skillsets. DBAs may know Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio in-depth, while developers are used to creating code in IDEs such as Visual Studio. SQL Server experts may also choose to work in Windows, Linux or a combination of both environments.

Forcing everyone to use a single environment will clearly be counter-productive and lead to a drop in efficiency. At the same time, however, letting them use different approaches can harm the very teamwork that DevOps relies upon. Instead, vendors need to allow their software to be used and managed through multiple approaches, ensuring that companies get the best out of their people and investments.

Technology Everywhere

Marc Andreessen coined the famous phrase “software is eating the world back in 2011. Since then every business has seen technology spread throughout its organization, with digital transformation initiatives increasing the software development required for all departments and functions. At the same time, data has become central to better business operations, enabling brands to better understand their customers, provide an improved experience and deliver more tailored products and services.

This has resulted in the rise of full-stack developers who are now responsible for both application and database development. Redgate’s 2019 State of Database DevOps Report revealed that 77% of developers now switch between coding in application languages, such as JavaScript in one moment to writing T-SQL for the database the next.

A problem arises if different IDEs are required which inevitably leads to an increase in the need for training alongside a decrease in efficiency and performance.

Growing Cost Constraints

In today’s competitive marketplace, every business investment is subject to a high degree of scrutiny to check that it’s delivering a demonstrable ROI. While budgets in the past might have allowed organizations to use different tools or systems in each department, there is a growing need to avoid duplication and the costs that it brings. Open source and free tools are also being widely deployed in even the largest organizations. This drive for greater efficiency obviously needs to be balanced against the skills and experience of in-house teams, who want to be able to use tools they favor and are accustomed to.

Conclusion

All of these three factors are driving a new approach from software vendors. Whereas in the past they might have focused on integrating their tool with a single IDE, they now need to offer choice. This allows a common development approach to be adopted while still enabling collaboration across the business, particularly when it comes to DevOps. It preserves investment in the skills and tools that different groups know best, increasing efficiency, yet also eases the introduction of initiatives like full-stack development.

Driven primarily by DevOps we’re moving into a more heterogeneous world, and vendors need to ensure that they are supporting companies so they can work in the ways they want, with the tools they want, if they want to remain relevant and successful.

Matt Hilbert

Matt Hilbert is a technology writer at Redgate Software with 20 years’ experience working for lots of the world’s biggest tech companies–and many of the smallest. He has a particular fascination for emerging technologies and is on a continuing mission to decompile, untangle and explain techspeak to a wider audience, and excite people about the endless possibilities technology offers.

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