DevOps goes corporate

I’ve been talking a lot about DevOps and Agile recently. I believe DevOps will define how we do development and administer the cloud for years to come. I’m not the only one. Research firm Gartner agrees.

In a recent report, Gartner analysts Janessa Rivera and Rob van der Meulen stated that, “Although DevOps emphasizes people (and culture) over tools and processes, implementation utilizes technology. As a result, Gartner expects strong growth opportunities for DevOps tool-sets.” Specifically, “the total for DevOps tools [will reach] $2.3 billion in 2015, up 21.1 percent from $1.9 billion in 2014. By 2016, DevOps will evolve from a niche strategy employed by large cloud providers to a mainstream strategy employed by 25 percent of Global 2000 organizations.”

That means DevOps programs such as Chef, Puppet, SaltStack, and Canonical’s Juju, will all be competing for your IT dollar in 2015. True, you can do DevOps without DevOps programs. I’ve seen it done. However, it’s a lot harder.

Do you really want to reinvent the DevOps wheel for your enterprise? I don’t think so. There is a wide assortment of DevOps programs available today. One of them will surely fill your needs.

Gartner therefore predicts that “DevOps-ready tools have seen and will continue to see the largest growth potential. These tools are specifically designed and built with out-of-the-box functionality to support the described DevOps characteristics and traits. Most DevOps-enabled and capable tools currently exist as part of the larger IT operation and development toolbox.”

That said, the Gartner analysts also said that “rather than being a market per se, DevOps is a philosophy, a cultural shift that merges operations with development and demands a linked tool-chain of technologies to facilitate collaborative change.”

Exactly so. The tools are important but it’s the IT attitude change that’s really vital. If you can’t get managers, programmers, and operators on the same side, it doesn’t matter what tools you use.

The Gartner analysts continued, “The DevOps trend goes way beyond implementation and technology management and instead necessitates a deeper focus on how to effect positive organizational change. The DevOps philosophy therefore centers on people, process, technology and information.”

“With respect to culture, DevOps seeks to change the dynamics in which operations and development teams interact,” said Laurie Wurster, a Gartner research director, in a statement. “Key to this change are the issues of trust, honesty and responsibility. In essence, the goal is to enable each organization to see the perspective of the other and to modify behavior accordingly, while motivating autonomy.”

Why should you bother? Wurster explained, “The overall DevOps message is compelling, because many enterprise IT organizations want to achieve the scale-out and economies of scale achieved by world-class cloud providers.”

It’s not easy, though. Wurster continued, “There are still several gaps that prevent implementation of DevOps as a comprehensive methodology… Culture is not easily or quickly changed. And key to the culture within DevOps is the notion of becoming more agile and changing behavior to support it — a perspective that has not been widely pursued within classical IT operations.”

Of course, if your programming team has already embraced Agile, it will be easier. If your company, for example, still sees Waterfall as the one true way to develop software, you’re going to have trouble. As the Gartner analysts note, “Cultural resistance and low levels of process discipline will create significant failure rates for DevOps initiatives, particularly when waterfall processes are still a dominant portion of the development portfolio.”

Still, as Kim Nash and Clint Boulton reported in the Wall Street Journal, logistics company BDP International embraced DevOps. The company’s overhaul of its global transport application app’s initial rewrite was projected to run six to 12 months, but BDP completed the work in two months. With increases in productivity like that, I think even the most hide-bound companies will want to consider moving to the cloud and DevOps.


  1. Sourav Bagchi says:

    but what about the security of the data which the customers are so finicky


  2. Security’s a separate issue.


  3. Wow. That is so elegant and logical and clearly explained. Brilliantly goes through what could be a complex process and makes it obvious.


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