Prolific advancements in IT, specifically in agile methods and culture over the years, has led to burgeoning needs for a more holistic end-to-end software delivery approach. Agile development is an umbrella term that encompasses numerous incremental and iterative software development practices — including Kanban, SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework), Scrum, Extreme Programming (XP), Lean Development, among others.
Each methodology works on its own unique approach. However, the core commonalities they share lie mainly in their values and vision. The methodologies integrate continuous feedback from iteration to refine and deliver a successful software system. They include various forms of continuous evolution, such as continuous integration, planning and testing, of both software and project. Furthermore, one of the most significant aspects of agile methodologies is their keen focus on empowering workforces to work together and collaborate more efficiently, thus simplifying and speeding up decision-making processes.
Advancement in agile development is what has birthed the DevOps culture. The technology is born from the rising need to adapt to increasing software velocity and throughputs generated through agile methods.
The DevOps market consists of a set of practices, designed to integrate and automate processes between IT and software development teams, enabling them to create, test and deploy software in a quicker and more efficient manner.
The term DevOps, which was coined in 2009 by Andrew Clay Shafer and Patrick Debois, is a combination of the words “development” and “operations.” It is also indicative of a cultural shift in the IT sphere, which bridges the gap between historically siloed teams, such as operations and development.
The DevOps framework essentially adopts a culture where the critical focus is on facilitating collaboration between the business, operations and development teams. Although tools are considered as pillars of the technology, DevOps is designed to deliver continuous value for customers, empower organizations to provide solutions of the highest quality at swift rates, and bring about the automation of the entire business process spectrum, from building to deployment of a product or application.
Shifting Trends Toward Automation in Software Development Processes and the Subsequent Impact on DevOps Adoption in the IT Space
The software development process consists of several integral parts, among which testing is a crucial task. It allows developers to monitor the functionality of the software, monitor and register performance, and detect any aspects that require remediation. However, with software projects becoming increasingly more complex as the years progress, and with project development life cycles accelerating, conventional methods of manual QA (quality assurance) testing fall short in meeting testing objectives within the desired time frames.
Consequently, software developers are shifting their focus toward automated workflows and testing tools, in order to expedite testing routines without compromising on consistency and completeness in QA processes.
DevOps practices are significantly dependent on automation to ensure frequent and timely deliveries across platforms. Studies have shown that nearly 85% of IT leaders claim that automation is a critical aspect of their DevOps strategies. This is attributed largely to the fact that automation empowers infrastructures to successfully field constant changes in codes that are associated with DevOps tools.
Furthermore, automation allows the effortless scaling of environments and unburdens skilled workforces from mundane and repetitive tasks, enabling them to focus on more integral aspects.
Considering a process perspective, automation in testing involves the addition of test automation actions and tools to regular software development regimens. For instance, new builds delivered to a repository can be automatically subjected to automated testing procedures using a number of prescribed tools, with little to no need of developer intervention. The results are recorded with care, then compared to previous test runs and eventually submitted for review to developers.
Depending on the outcome, the software can then be cycled back to the developers for further remediation or approved for deployment. This is especially relevant in terms of the DevOps framework, which relies on continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipelines.
CI/CD pipelines are a prominent outcome of developer operations, allowing developers to validate the quality of the software with minimal intervention, and deploy apps and software to customers in a quicker manner.
CI/CD platform CircleCI, for example, has recently raised over $100 million in Series E funding, in an effort to boost the development of their DevOps product suite. This move is indicative of CircleCI’s proficiency in delivering an automated approach to DevOps practices, including tools for companies to create, test and deliver software.
How Is the Current Pandemic Impacting Digital Development?
The COVID-19 pandemic has asserted a massive influence on the industrial landscape, driving workforces across the globe into remote-only work set-ups. With millions of people working from home for a seemingly indefinite period, enterprises across the globe are rallying to accelerate automation efforts in order to more efficiently deliver digital business applications to engage their employees from remote workspaces.
According to various studies, nearly 73% of IT operations and DevOps teams are working toward maintaining and expediting initiatives for digital transformation throughout the current crisis, holding the belief that the value of digital offerings is set to witness a positive growth trajectory in the social distancing era.
DevOps industry players such as JFrog are working toward providing enterprises and teams with access to cloud-based DevOps technologies, free of cost, particularly those which are undertaking active research and response efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. These DevOps technologies include Pipelines, Xray and Artifactory, among others.
While the exact impact of the global crisis on the DevOps environment in particular and the IT space in general is yet unclear, it is becoming more prominent that the strong focus on the prevention of such crises in the future — both in and out of the IT realm — is likely to set a great precedent for the growth of the DevOps industry in the years ahead.