A report published by the Continuous Delivery (CD) Foundation suggests that, in terms of achieving that goal, most organizations still have a long way to go. Based on analysis of the Developer Nation survey data collected by SlashData, nearly two-thirds of developers said it takes at least one week to go from code committed to code successfully running in production. Only one in 10 developers are deploying code in a production environment multiple times per day.
On the plus side, half of developers reported that they restore service from an unplanned outage in less than a day.
Surprisingly, the vertical industry furthest along in terms of achieving continuous delivery is the retail sector that has embraced digital business transformation, while the furthest behind is the telecommunications sector.
Tracy Miranda, executive director for the CD Foundation, noted that even after more than 10 years of advocacy, DevOps adoption of CD best practices remains nascent. Many organizations have adopted so-called continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) platforms, but they are mainly used to drive a set of CI best processes. CD, in comparison, has proven to be a more elusive goal to achieve mainly because each platform on which an application is deployed tends to have unique attributes. Automating the delivery of applications across multiple platforms has, as a result, been difficult to achieve and maintain, she noted.
Nevertheless, with the arrival of cloud-native container-based applications destined to be deployed on Kubernetes clusters that expose a consistent set of application programming interfaces (APIs), the prospects for more widely achieving CD are improving. Each platform that has a Kubernetes cluster running will expose the same API to a CD platform.
In the short term, however, Miranda noted that many IT professionals are still somewhat intimated by both Kubernetes and CD best practices. Too many organizations still tend to think of CD as a platform to acquire rather than a set of processes and skills to be defined and nurtured, she added.
One way or another, however, the CD challenge will need to be addressed as more organizations realize how dependent they are on software to deliver a differentiated customer experience. The rate at which that customer experience improves will determine the level of customer affinity that organizations will be able to attain and retain. That’s doesn’t mean every organization has to be as proficient as, for example, Netflix when it comes to implementing DevOps best practices, Miranda added. However, she said, it’s already apparent most organizations will need to improve how they deliver software to drive multiple digital business transformation initiatives. The opportunity lies in reviewing those processes now with an eye toward creating a culture squarely focused on continually improving the customer experience, she said.
It may still be a while before most organizations truly master CD, but, as is the case with most journeys, the most important thing is to simply take that first big step.