The state of DevOps in 2016

DevOps trends 2016 CSC Blogs

RightScale, a cloud management company, finds businesses are adopting DevOps at a rapid rate.

RightScale’s survey results come as no surprise. If you want to run a cloud, you must use DevOps programs. If you don’t, the sheer scale of operations will quickly overwhelm even the best system administrators.

In, RightScale 2016 State of the Cloud Survey: DevOps Trends, 1,060 technology professionals at large and small enterprises across a broad cross-section of industries were surveyed. Of them,  74% now use DevOps programs. I’m actually surprised it’s not more.

Kim Weins, RightScale’s vice president of marketing, observed, “The survey shows that the vast majority of enterprises are adopting DevOps and this usage is being driven from the bottom up by projects, teams, business units and divisions. Companies are using a portfolio of DevOps technologies that include configuration management tools as well as containers.”

What precisely are they using? Weins continued,”While Chef and Puppet are still the most widely used DevOps tools, Docker has seen extraordinary growth, more than doubling in the past year. Companies report a lack of experience with containers and have made educating themselves a top priority in the coming year.”

At this point, I have to disagree with RightScale’s analysis. Chef, Puppet and related programs such as Salt, Juju and Ansible, are all about setting up and managing server operations in clouds. Docker is a method of setting up containers, which run on servers and virtual machines (VM)s. DevOps programs are ways of automating system management, containers are ways to run more server programs. They can work together, but they’re not the same thing.

That said, let’s look at the highlights of DevOps in 2016.

  • DevOps is growing, especially in the enterprise: DevOps adoption increased from 66% in 2015 to 74% in 2016. DevOps adoption is strongest in the enterprise. 81% of enterprises are adopting DevOps compared to 70% in SMBs. Enterprises are adopting DevOps from the bottom up. By the numbers, DevOps adoption is driven by projects or teams, 29%, and business units or divisions, 31%. Top-down adoption happened in only 21% of cases.
  • Chef and Puppet are neck and neck for the most popular DevOps tools: Overall, Chef and Puppet are the top two DevOps tools with a dead-heat vote of 32%. Among enterprises, more system admins use Puppet (42%) vs. Chef (37%). Ansible is catching up. It nearly tripled its use, from 8% to 23%, in the last year.
  • DevOps users use multiple tools: To my surprise, less than half (43%) of companies are using a configuration tool such as Chef, Puppet, Ansible or Salt. What’s even more surprising to me is that more groups are using multiple configuration tools (25%) than a single configuration tool (18%). For example, 67% of companies using Chef or Puppet also use the other tool. What doesn’t surprise me is that 80% of Docker users also leverage at least one configuration tool.
  • Container adoption is maturing, especially in enterprises: Overall, 26% of respondents have workloads already running in containers. Specifically, 18% have containers in production, while 8% have them in development. A larger number, 36% are experimenting with containers, while 25% are learning about containers. Enterprises are using containers more than SMBs. 29% of enterprises have workloads running in containers versus 24% of SMBs.
  • Docker is the fastest growing container tool: With adoption more than doubling year-over-year from 13% in 2015 to 27% in 2016, Docker is easily the most popular container technology. In the enterprise, Docker also saw more than 2x growth from 14% to 29%.
  • Docker seeing greatest adoption in Europe with tech companies and with enterprises: RightScale found that current use of Docker is heaviest among tech organizations (32%), enterprises (29%) and developers (28%). Use of Docker in Europe (34%) is also well above average.
  • Significant interest in containers on bare metal:  Containers are currently being deployed primarily on virtual machines (29%) versus bare metal (12%). There is significant interest in deploying containers on bare metal, with 24% of respondents having plans to do so in the future. Most containers are built using traditional Linux distributions such as Ubuntu  (43%), CentOS (39%) and Red Hat Enterprise Linux (37%). CoreOS (12%) is the most widely adopted of the minimalist operating systems, which are designed specifically for containers.
  • Biggest challenge with containers is lack of experience for newbies: For respondents who are not currently using containers, lack of experience was by far the top challenge (39%). Respondents who are already using containers said their top challenges were security (29%) and immature technology (29%).

Where we go from here? Containers are clearly only continuing to gain in popularity. As for DevOps, I still don’t see any single program leading the market. Maybe companies are right to be taking a multi-program approach. After all, while the tools do many of the same things, none of them handle all DevOps tasks equally well. Or, at least, not yet anyway.


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  1. Oh my goodness! Incredible article dude! Many thanks. 


  2. The increasing numbers just blew me away!
    Amaze to see such a great progress of DevOps.



  1. […] DevOps programs such as Puppet, Chef, and Ansible, the cloud wouldn’t be possible. Now Puppet Labs is trying to work in systems management magic on IBM’s z Systems and […]


  2. […] DevOps programs such as Puppet, Chef, and Ansible, the cloud wouldn’t be possible. Now Puppet is trying to work in systems management magic on IBM’s z Systems and […]


  3. […] DevOps programs such as Puppet, Chef, and Ansible, the cloud wouldn’t be possible. Now Puppet is trying to work in systems management magic on IBM’s z Systems and […]


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