The first decade or so of DevOps had one truth to it: It was about change. Not just change in the way that IT worked, but change in the way DevOps worked—particularly in the tools space, where products and product preferences both are in flux. We’re still seeing a massive change, but increasingly the effect is more like the ripples created when a rock is thrown into a pond than a tsunami, dumping change upon change.
You could look at this one of two ways (and no doubt those who have more reason to dig into details than I have already done so): Either the slow but steady standardization typified by tools such as Jenkins and Puppet have enabled participation of enterprises in the DevOps life cycle, or the demands of enterprises for some amount of stability in their massively complex systems have driven standardization.
Either way, the result is the same. We are seeing a lot of change further out, but the core technologies for build/test/deploy are settling into a few products by a few vendors. That is good for adoption, even if you would argue that it is bad for innovation. It means that skill sets are, at least to a certain extent, portable across DevOps teams and organizations, which for a long while was not true. When I was knee-deep in deployment technology, knowing how to use product A did not mean you knew how to use product B. The more people using one or the other, the better for employee mobility and the pool of available resources, as both people and support tools like standardized scripts.
I recently was going through the offerings of a service provider in a space that doesn’t traditionally have DevOps enablement. The company’s offering included DevOps, so I drilled down. Seeing the company supported Jenkins, Jira and Xebia Labs made me feel better about the program it was putting together. It meant the company was adapting mainstream tools to a specialty market.
That’s what spurred this blog. It’s been a long time that these things were seen as “new and shiny”; now, for a service provider to include them as proof it is serious about customers’ problems shows just how far we have come.
There’s still a long way to go. The DevSecOps community is currently in the throes of growth, and lots of outer-edge DevOps tools are incompatible with each other and chosen per shop without a clear market leader. But we’re getting there. And at this point, a person going into DevOps who asks me what they should know will actually get an answer of “Learn X, Y, Z” rather than “You should learn X, but pick up some of X.1, X.2, and A too, then there’s Y …”
The thing is, though de facto standardization is happening, to many (particularly enterprise) shops, this is all still new. So if you don’t know the recognizable tools yet, don’t worry too much; there will be opportunity to learn as they are rolled out across a given org.