DevOps 2018: What’s Next?


DevOps, the practice of bringing software development and software operations together, has grown in importance in recent years with enterprises large and small employing it to reduce the length of development cycles, increase the frequency of deployment and ensure more efficient and secure releases that align more closely with business objectives.

Our Technical Director, Steve Todd, has been looking at developments from 2017 and pondering what might be next for the practice in 2018. Here are his predictions.

We’ll see more developer-led initiatives in large enterprises

Steve says: “Larger enterprises will have no choice but to introduce more developer-led initiatives as it is the only way to keep up with the rapid pace of changes in technology.

“Downtime just isn’t acceptable to customers and there is a need for continuous delivery and deployment to meet these demands. They need to ensure that they are using tech to best serve their customers.

“It is technology and web-based retail giants, such as Amazon and Google, that are paving the way for devops, but it is essential that larger enterprises in other, more traditional, sectors also adopt more developer-led initiatives or they risk lagging behind.

“The media sector is a great example. If we look at The Times, it has moved rapidly from being a print newspaper with a website to a full online news distributor, which integrates e-commerce functionality by way of regular and incremental deployments delivered by a devops team.”

DevOps will become more mainstream but it has a way to go yet

Steve explains: “DevOps is certainly becoming more mainstream, but it’s not quite there yet. Growing numbers of businesses are employing DevOps, but not the majority.

“The benefits that employing DevOps strategies has brought to larger enterprises, such as the ability to deploy quicker, increased reliability, speed and accuracy and less failures – saving money and generating revenue simultaneously - has certainly turned the heads of other business leaders. But it is still only the awareness of the methodology, not the implementation that is mainstream.”

Public Sector organisations will start to emulate the implementation models of private sector giants

Steve explains: “The public sector, like enterprises in the private sector, will begin to look to emulate the giants like Amazon and Google who are seamlessly implementing DevOps Strategies.

“They will start to realise that any model that creates a cross-functional team and breaks down traditional barriers between developers and operations teams in IT organisations will deliver success through collaboration, increased speed and accuracy, as well as experimentation.

“There is a fear in the public sector of the initial cost implication, but the initial outlay will save money in the long run and will allow for projects to deliver better on customer needs, on time and to the set budget.”

Automation will give rise to DevSecOps – and many other new disciplines

Steve says: “The potential for the creation of new disciplines is infinite as there are ways to automate processes in all areas that could warrant the creation of a new buzzword. In reality the methodology will be similar across all of them.

“Data continues to be high on the agenda in business and of course the media, so the automation of the collation and analysis of business information could create DevDataOps, with automated processes delivering more accurate management information at a faster pace, with analysis driving faster and more profound business transformation.”

Traditional ops teams will evolve not die

Steve says: “Traditional ops teams will not be killed off by DevOps. Processes may be automated, but devops teams still need specific expertise and leadership skills to integrate each, previously independent area.

“The nature of DevOps is that it is a process that evolves over time, unlike traditional operations departments. The automation of routine work frees up skilled individuals and teams to focus on more challenging business issues, which in turn develops the devops process.

“What will in fact happen is the devops department will evolve into a recognised, mainstream business team.”

Outsourcing DevOps will only bring value if vendors work closely with in-house development teams

Steve explains: “There is potential for people to look to outsource to DevOps vendors, but with current options - much like when social media first arrived - the results can be hit and miss. Too many companies jump on the bandwagon and add it to their stable of services while it’s a hot trend in IT transformation.

“It is worth outsourcing for smaller businesses, but only really if the external vendor works really closely with the in-house development team, as the processes have their foundation in that team’s code, as well as needing a full understanding of the business and end-user needs.”

Open source will help DevOps evolve and improve

“DevOps is – above everything – an automated process and one that has the ability to evolve and be improved though continued collaboration and experimentation.

“Using open source tools not only has the benefit of being free, they are also community led, with thousands of people working together to collaboratively fix bugs, errors and find better ways of automating processes.

“Businesses don’t have to invest time and money into the development of these toolkits and instead can focus resource on solving more challenging problems and delivering on customer demands.

“The pay-off being that when DevOps teams do contribute to bug fixes and changes, they improve the discipline across the board, making it less error prone, more efficient and more secure for all users.”