Real Value of DevOps
DevOps is a hot trend and certainly on the rise. Companies now have people with the title, and if you search job boards, you see that everyone is hiring in DevOps. ElasticBox and DevOps.com wanted to understand the tools being used and the perceived value to uncover deeper trends. Specifically, we wanted to understand how real is the value of DevOps for enterprises, and what we learned surprised us.
We polled DevOps specialists, engineers, and IT managers about their level of DevOps adoption and how they measure its real value versus hype. Over 300 DevOps practitioners in both B2B and consumer-facing businesses, answered our survey. Going in, we expected that today’s high-performing IT organizations adopt DevOps like patterns and tools, whether they call it DevOps or not. Our study confirmed this hypothesis. But how much do companies invest in DevOps tools and what is the ROI of these tools? These were some of the answers we uncovered along other insights in the Real Value of DevOps study. You can download the full report here.
What We Learned:
DevOps has evolved beyond hype
Our study reveals that DevOps is a recognized and dedicated function in many organizations, though adoption itself is still relatively in its initial and/or early stages. Many have formed DevOps teams or other cross-functional teams. More than half said they use or dabble in DevOps practices. IT services and software verticals form the biggest group practicing DevOps whether or not they call it that. The data indicates that DevOps adoption has crossed over from cloud-native organizations to the historically traditional companies in finance and insurance.
Cross-functional collaboration is fundamental to DevOps
DevOps is still evolving as a job function. More than half the respondents cited being part of a DevOps team as their primary job function. As part of these cross-functional teams, many perform operations, development,QA and security work. More than half also interact with 10 or more people with a sizeable portion interacting with more than 20 people regularly. As the study shows, both large and small enterprises have a need to collaborate and work across functions. People in development, operations, and DevOps teams increasingly communicate with larger teams. Clearly collaboration is a major driver for DevOps practitioners.
Top three DevOps initiatives: Automated build tests, CI/CD, and configuration management
To learn where high-performance IT organizations invest in DevOps, we asked what initiatives drive their DevOps adoption. A majority identified automated build testing as their leading DevOps focus. Configuration management followed closely. Another sizeable group said they focused on continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD), which usually also includes automated build tests. One way to understand this data is that companies when they reach a certain level of DevOps maturity recognize that cloud application management helps them tie all of these initiatives together.
Expectations on DevOps investments and returns
We explored budgeting across DevOps initiatives to get a sense of where enterprises spend top dollars. Expectations on returns from these DevOps investments showed interesting results. We asked what estimated ROI they had realized over the past 12 months. Our takeaway is that price/value on DevOps tools is not grounded in reality. As the survey data suggests, the propensity to use free, open-source software drives a low spend. And many respondents could not identify the ROI. We believe the tools and projects make us more agile and more efficient, but the return isn’t being captured in a consistent way yet. When calculating the cost of DevOps initiatives, we believe companies often overlook hidden costs such as setup, support, and training.
We believe that over time, enterprises will become more savvy about measuring the return on DevOps investments, both from a people, tools and process perspective. As the function and teams grow, businesses will demand more metrics to evaluate DevOps projects.
Cloud application management, a growing trend
DevOps practitioners have yet to see cloud application management as a category separate from configuration management and cloud provider services. One reason for that is because cloud providers offer in-house management tools. And many practitioners either don’t use such tools or rely on homegrown solutions. Some reported using ElasticBox and others mentioned Scalr, Juju, RightScale, and CliQr.
As companies become more mature in automating their application lifecycle, we see them adopting a cloud application manager or cloud management platform to orchestrate the full end-to-end process. There’s no question that this demand will grow as DevOps teams continue to mature and establish their value in organizations.
More detail and insights are in the Real Value of DevOps Survey report. Download it by filling out the form below and receiving a link.
About the Authors/ Carol Carpenter & Alan Shimel
Carol Carpenter serves as the CEO of ElasticBox. It’s her lifelong passion to deliver innovative products that transform businesses. Her roots are in product management and product marketing. She’s proud of how it all began at Apple as a product manager, responsible for the several billion dollar line of Power Macs. Since then, she’s built over 20 years’ leadership experience in large and small technology companies, recently as CMO at ClearSlide, a high-growth SaaS company and as Executive GM for the Small Business and Consumer division of Trend Micro, Inc. When not at work, she serves on the Board of Directors of Dice Holdings (DHX) and co-chairs the non-profit board of Monte Jade. She is a happily certified multitasker, trying to keep up with her two kids, husband, dogs and chickens.
As Editor-in-chief of DevOps.com, Alan Shimel is attuned to the world of technology. Alan has founded and helped several technology ventures, including StillSecure, where he guided the company in bringing innovative and effective networking and security solutions to the marketplace. Shimel is an often-cited personality in the security and technology community and is a sought-after speaker at industry and government conferences and events. In addition to his writing on DevOps.com and Network World, his commentary about the state of technology is followed closely by many industry insiders via his blog and podcast, “Ashimmy, After All These Years” (www.ashimmy.com). Alan has helped build several successful technology companies by combining a strong business background with a deep knowledge of technology. His legal background, long experience in the field, and New York street smarts combine to form a unique personality.