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March 5, 2015

Embrace DevOps philosophy or face failure

DevOps will go mainstream by 2016, according to Gartner.

By Ellie Burns

DevOps toolset growth is expected to surge to $2.3 billion by 2015, up 21.1 per cent from $1.9 billion in 2014, according to the recent Gartner report.

The company expects that by 2016 DevOps will go mainstream, evolving from a niche strategy employed by large cloud providers to a mainstream strategy employed by 25 per cent of Global 2000 organisations.

DevOps is a philosophy according to Gartner, who stressed that it is a cultural shift that merges operations with development and demands a linked toolchain of technologies to facilitate collaborative change.

Gartner views DevOps as a virtual (and likely temporal) market and has focused the scope of the definition on tools that support DevOps and practices associated with it in the context of continuous delivery, continuous improvement, infrastructure and configuration as code, and so on.

Gartner categorises these tools as DevOps-ready, -enabled and -capable tools.

"In response to the rapid change in business today, DevOps can help organisations that are pushing to implement a bimodal strategy to support their digitalisation efforts," said Laurie Wurster, research director at Gartner.

"Digital business is essentially software, which means that organisations that expect to thrive in a digital environment must have an improved competence in software delivery."

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Gartner expects that DevOps-ready tools have seen and will continue to see the largest growth potential.

The DevOps trend goes way beyond implementation and technology management and instead necessitates a deeper focus on how to effect positive organisational change. The DevOps philosophy therefore centres on people, process, technology and information.

"With respect to culture, DevOps seeks to change the dynamics in which operations and development teams interact," said Ms Wurster. "Key to this change is the issues of trust, honesty and responsibility. In essence, the goal is to enable each organisation to see the perspective of the other and to modify behavior accordingly, while motivating autonomy."

"The overall DevOps message is compelling, because many IT organisations want to achieve the scale-out and economies of scale achieved by world-class cloud providers. Nevertheless, there are still several gaps that prevent implementation of DevOps as a comprehensive methodology," said Ms Wurster.

"Businesses have acknowledged these gaps and have begun assessing how the DevOps mindset might apply to their own environments. However, culture is not easily or quickly changed.

"And key to the culture within DevOps is the notion of becoming more agile and changing behaviour to support it — a perspective that has not been widely pursued within classical IT operations."

Organisations with agile development will be slower to embrace DevOps across the entire application life cycle. 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.

Nevertheless, a majority of organisations attempting to scale agile over the next five years will recognise the need for DevOps initiatives.


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