Puppet today published an annual State of DevOps report that suggests overall adoption of DevOps practices has stagnated.
The survey of 2,650 IT, development and information security professionals finds 83% are implementing DevOps practices, to a degree. However, only 18% of respondents are working for organizations that have highly evolved, automated DevOps processes in place. More than three-quarters of respondents (78%) are somewhere along the path toward achieving that goal.
A full 90% of highly evolved DevOps teams have automated most repetitive tasks compared to only 67% of mid-level organizations, the survey found. In addition, 91% of highly evolved teams report a clear understanding of their responsibilities.
Not surprisingly, the biggest hurdles identified are more cultural than technical. The most common culture blockers at mid-level organizations include a culture that discourages risk (21%), unclear responsibilities (20%), deprioritizing fast flow optimization (18%) and insufficient feedback loops (17%). In contrast, less than 2% of highly evolved organizations report resistance to DevOps from the executive level, the Puppet report found.
Nigel Kersten, a field CTO at Puppet, said during an online panel that, after more than a decade of DevOps advocacy, people continue to be the biggest limiting factor when it comes to adoption. Specifically, from a compensation perspective, many IT operations personnel tend to feel undervalued compared to developers, noted Kersten.
Another challenge enterprises encounter is trying to balance the need to create a standardized IT environment that can be managed and secured consistently and the desire of DevOps teams to embrace new tools as they see fit. Senior IT executives often tend to make platform decisions based on cost criteria that don’t always account for the need to enable agile development methodologies. Most of those platforms are designed to be managed by an IT administrator using a graphical tool rather than via a command line interface (CLI) and application programming interfaces (APIs) that appeal to DevOps teams.
As a result, individual pockets of DevOps teams that select and maintain a platform of their choosing are emerging within enterprise IT organizations. Those teams often view their chosen platform as a better alternative for advancing developer productivity. Finding and retaining site reliability engineers (SREs), for example, to manage those DevOps platforms is a major challenge for most enterprise IT organizations. Most IT administrators lack the programming skills needed to become an SRE, and it’s not clear how many IT administers are inclined to acquire those skills.
Conversely, it’s not clear how many programmers want to programmatically manage IT infrastructure at the expense of time they would otherwise devote to writing code. Organizations that can only hire a limited number of developers may not want to shift responsibility for managing IT operations to the proverbial left simply because they need more code to be written faster. Finding and retaining developers, in many cases, is just as much a challenge as hiring and retaining SREs.
Advances in automation and artificial intelligence (AI) should make it easier for organizations to embrace DevOps best practices in the months and years ahead. However, it should be apparent to all that adoption of those best practices across an entire enterprise still requires a significant amount of time and effort, and will for many years to come.