DevOps is widely adopted in digitally native companies but has also been rising in popularity in enterprises for decades now. It even recently experienced an uptick in highly regulated industries looking to ramp up productivity and innovation. However, the outcomes of adopting DevOps still vary widely and remain inconsistent. What is the state of DevOps in 2022, and which practices are helping successful companies move forward in their implementation journey?
While many teams are already using DevOps well, organizations stuck in the beginning or middle of their DevOps journey are struggling to leverage their tech and people to experience the full benefits of the approach. On top of that, the accelerated digital transformation initiatives and spread of hybrid work models have inevitably increased the frequency and complexity of technical incidents, as well as the time it takes to resolve them.
Teams are under immense pressure to streamline collaboration, automate manual processes, address inefficient data collection, and manage disparate tool stacks in response to these trends. Digital transformation and hybrid work models are not a temporary phenomenon, and companies urgently need to adapt to this new era in order to be able to move forward without drowning in complexity and inefficient manual processes and collaboration.
What is DevOps?
Before we dive into the state of DevOps in 2022, let’s do a quick review.
Prior to the Agile movement, development and operations were isolated in siloed. This made sense when Waterfall development was the norm: developers wrote the code and system administrators deployed and integrated it. However, when Agile ways of working (think shorter sprints and frequent releases) started gaining traction, these siloes could not keep up. Cue DevOps!
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DevOps stands for development and operations and is a popular methodology that aims to optimize end-to-end software delivery. Born out of the need to address industry shortcomings for rapid and efficient code deployment, DevOps encourages a set of practices, processes, and tools which optimize collaboration between development and operations teams (hence the name DevOps).
The fundamental principles of DevOps include:
- Customer-centric thinking
- Automating as much as possible
- Smooth collaboration and communication
- End-to-end responsibility
- Constant monitoring and measuring
- Data-backed decision making
- Incremental releases and value delivery
- Continuous improvement
- Failure as a learning opportunity
Benefits of DevOps
The main goal of undergoing a DevOps transformation is to be able to reliably produce high-quality software as fast as possible. DevOps supports continuous delivery at speed and scale through iterative software development, automation across the software development lifecycle, and a significant organizational mindset change.
Here are some of the main benefits of implementing DevOps in organizations:
- Streamlined collaboration and communication across teams
- The ability to release software frequently and fast
- Improved software quality across the board
- Increased speed of feedback cycles and issue resolution
- Higher productivity across the business
- Lowered management, production, and maintenance costs
- A more agile and adaptable market presence
- A better working environment as a whole
The state of DevOps in 2022
When it comes to the state of DevOps in 2022, most studies highlight the impact of digital transformation coupled with the increase in hybrid working. Companies are looking to address these trends through different best practices, as well as manage increasing software complexity and meet the demands of a customer-driven market. For early to mid-evolution organizations, most of it actually comes down to finding better ways to manage their technology and people. Let’s take a closer look.
Growing tech stacks yet integration lags behind
According to The State of DevOps Automation 2022 Report, in response to the widespread increase of service incidents as a result of the above trends, 73.4% of companies have decided to expand their tech stack. However, despite the growth seen in tech stacks, the burden of managing complexity still falls on humans, with 52.9% of companies surveyed reporting that the main challenge in resolving incidents efficiently and quickly remains reaching the right person with specialized knowledge. Finally, 49.3% are reporting that despite the addition of new tools, manual processes are still overwhelming teams and slowing down the progress of DevOps initiatives.
In addition to this, organizations are still lagging behind when it comes to fully integrating the platforms and services used for incident response, with only 24.7% of respondents saying that their tools are integrated through one platform. This unfortunately makes it harder to resolve incidents and also increases the MTTR (mean time to recovery) instead of shortening it, which is one of the main goals of DevOps. Moving forward, organizations looking to expand their tech stacks should focus on conducting a thorough analysis of their existing IT infrastructure and setting clear goals for the tech stack expansion and integration.
Companies are accelerating business outcomes with cloud
Hybrid and multi-cloud adoption is on the rise. More and more teams are moving workloads to the cloud and seeing improved software delivery and operational (SDO) performance as a result. The findings of Google’s 2021 Accelerate State of DevOps Report reflect this trend, showing an increase in organizations choosing multi-cloud and hybrid solutions. According to the study, 56% of organizations report using one or multiple public clouds, a 5% increase from 2019.
Teams opting for this approach are generally looking to take advantage of the varying benefits each provider has to offer. According to Google’s report, organizations using hybrid or multi-cloud approaches were 1.6 times more likely to smash their organizational targets than those using other approaches. They elaborated that users of hybrid and multi-cloud also had a higher probability of succeeding when it comes to “deployment frequency, lead time for changes, time to recover, change failure rate, and reliability.”
Puppet’s 2021 State of DevOps Report, however, warns organizations against considering themselves evolved just because they use cloud technology. According to Puppet, almost everyone is using the cloud, but most organizations are still not using the cloud to its full potential. The study shows that while 65% of mid-evolution organizations are indeed using the public cloud, only 20% of them are reaping the full benefits it has to offer. Organizations who want to use the cloud to its full potential should focus on leveraging the unique offerings of each provider as well as the five capabilities of the cloud in order to maximize the results of their transition.
SRE practices to complement automation and reduce manual toil
Studies across the board show a significant increase in the incorporation of SRE practices in DevOps. SRE, or site reliability engineering, is the practice of applying software engineering principles to operational and infrastructural processes and can be used to effectively complement DevOps. While DevOps is for streamlining the writing and deployment of code, SRE looks at a wider perspective in order to streamline IT operations using methodologies that were typically reserved for software development before.
According to The State of DevOps Automation 2022 Report, 75.6% of respondents agree that they have increased the incorporation of SRE practices in the last year and that they are seeing significant benefits to the company's bottom line as a result. The DevOps Institute Upskilling 2021: Enterprise DevOps Skills Report reiterates this success, saying that the adoption of SRE practices rose from 15% to 22% compared to the previous year and that 47% of survey respondents voted that SRE skills are an organizational must-have.
However, despite the high demand for SRE practices and automation, over half of Site Reliability Engineers themselves report that they are still burdened with low-value tasks, like having to manually enter data in a system to track each action taken during the resolution of an incident. In order to make the best out of incorporating SRE practices in DevOps, organizations should ensure sourcing and hiring enough site reliability engineers in order for them to be free to do high-value work and avoid resource strain.
DevSecOps remains a key trend
Another unfortunate side effect of the move to hybrid working models is the exponential growth of cybersecurity attacks. According to Tenable’s Threat Landscape Retrospective Report, over 40 billion records of sensitive personal information or business data were exposed in 2021 alone (twice as much as in 2020), and email phishing attacks are up by a whopping 600%.
Cybersecurity is not a nice-to-have, it’s a business imperative that can no longer be tacked on as an afterthought. It needs to be an integral part of the whole end-to-end software delivery cycle. The good news? DevOps enables better security practices and improves security outcomes, naturally evolving into DevSecOps.
Nowadays, DevSecOps is considered a must-have by 56% of survey respondents when it comes to automation tools. So it doesn’t come as a huge surprise that market surveys anticipate the DevSecOps market size will grow to USD 5.9 billion by 2023. Google’s State of DevOps 2021 report adds that in addition to achieving high metrics when it comes to delivery and operational performance, teams who prioritize security practices throughout the software development lifecycle are also 1.6 times more likely to meet or exceed business goals.
Organizations looking to emulate this success should look for tooling which integrates easily with CI/CD pipelines and testing, in order to facilitate the transition to DevSecOps.