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Survey Results: No longer an emerging trend, DevOps is here to stay

Replay Solutions and HP recently collaborated on a study surveying more than 1,000 professionals about the use of the DevOps model in their organizations. This story highlights some of the key findings of the survey, including the relationship between DevOps and Agile development, software tools for DevOps and the overall benefits of this structure, which is no longer an emerging trend, but rather a model that organizations across the board are rapidly adopting.

More and more organizations are adopting a DevOps model, in which the development and operations groups collaborate on software releases and issue resolution, often through personnel who are specifically tasked with liaising between these two divisions. In January 2011, Replay Solutions and HP conducted a survey of 1,200 people to discover how DevOps has evolved over the last 18 months since its inception. In this article, we highlight some of the key findings from the survey.

Perhaps the most significant finding from the survey was the overall popularity of DevOps; no longer an “emerging” trend, DevOps has been adopted by nearly 50% of organizations surveyed. Nearly 24% claimed to have a dedicated DevOps staff, while more than 25% said that their DevOps staff were shared amongst multiple teams. Another 8.9% of respondents are planning to create a DevOps team.

DevOps and Agile development

This growth may also correlate with the rising transition to Agile methodologies, as DevOps and Agile development go hand in hand. So many organizations struggle with adequate communication between different departments, yet never has communication and collaboration been so important. Organizations that use Agile methods are generally more practiced at this flexible, communicative approach. In fact, a full 63.7% of survey respondents claimed that their organizations either used Agile or had some adoption of Agile methodologies.

Jonathan Lindo, Co-Founder and VP of Products & Technologies for Replay Solutions, affirmed this correlation when he noted, “For the majority of folks that adopted DevOps, Agile was an important part of their organization.”

DevOps vs. release management

It is important to distinguish the differences between DevOps and release management. DevOps empowers the development side with insights into the operations side, allowing applications to respond to scalability needs more quickly with more flexibility. It provides visibility into the deployment environment and also ties together continuous integration, automation and other disciplines. DevOps is a mutually beneficial arrangement: knowing what is going on in development benefits operations, and likewise, knowing what’s going on in operations benefits development. This knowledge sharing also leads to faster issue resolution.

The different groups can more efficiently communicate with each other to more accurately identify problems when and where they occur.

Drivers of DevOps

Since adopting this new structure involves some extra work up front and requires a slightly different skill set than what many teams may currently support, some groups may be hesitant to make the change to DevOps. In order to effectively make the transition, survey respondents cited two key drivers of DevOps success: culture and management support. Lindo underscores the importance of these related drivers by stating, “It really needs to be something that is organizationally adopted from the top down as well as from the bottom up.”

Tools for DevOps

Another major finding from this survey spotlights the importance of software tools, with 92% of respondents claiming that tools were either important or critical to the success of DevOps. The survey further probed about specific tools, but the results did not yield any clear consensus on this. While many tools serve some of the purposes of DevOps, and are clearly essential to those purposes, there aren’t currently any tools on the market that cater specifically to the needs of DevOps.

As this structure becomes more widespread, perhaps the tooling market will respond to this growing need.

Benefits of DevOps

The survey found that organizations with DevOps gain in two major areas: velocity and quality. Lindo summarizes these findings by explaining that “if you want to look at the benefits of DevOps, we’re looking at faster, more frequent, higher velocity releases and what would appear to be a lower incidence of issues that remain open for more than eight hours.” This efficiency and accuracy has significant implications for the entire software process.

Clearly, DevOps is a trend that won’t be going away any time soon, and organizations that have made the change are seeing significant benefits already. Even if your organization is reluctant to jump on board, it may be worth examining the reasons so many have.

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