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Top DevOps implementation obstacle? Culture and testing automation

What’s stalling successful adoption of DevOps? Culture, testing automation, legacy systems, and more, according to a recent Quali study.

DevOps is growing but its implementation still faces obstacles. Quali, a cloud computing and automation firm, surveyed more than 2,000 IT executives to paint a picture of where DevOps stands today.

Perhaps the most significant finding from Quali’s 2016 survey was that the top barrier to successful DevOps implementation is company culture, which 14% of respondents noted in the survey. The survey also noted technology-based barriers: challenges of testing automation (13%), legacy systems (12%), and application complexity (11%). Money remains an issue as well; 11% of respondents reported that budget constraints impeded successful DevOps. "Other barriers to achieving DevOps," the survey concluded, "included limited IT skills, difficulty managing multiple environments, a lack of DevOps plans and tools, and a lack of executive buy-in."

This caution from established IT executives illustrates that both a company’s culture and its technology platforms can stall the successful adoption of DevOps. While many respondents still found company culture resistant to DevOps implementation, technology-related barriers cause nearly equal concern. This only further shows that DevOps managers need to shift both people and products in order to implement a DevOps workflow.

A hallmark to successful DevOps is a self-service infrastructure, yet 54% of respondents indicated they had no access to self-service infrastructure and were using a ticket-based approach to infrastructure delivery, which slows development and increases time to market.

Because more than half of respondents are still using a ticket-based approach to infrastructure, it’s not surprising that respondents reported slow delivery times. And this is reflected in Quali’s findings, "as more than 33% of respondents said it takes up to a month to deliver infrastructure and 26% said it takes up to one month or more." Just 23% can deliver infrastructure in less than day.

Each enterprise faces its own mix of obstacles when implementing DevOps. Not surprisingly, Quali’s pool of respondents have adopted hybrid cloud environments to varying levels of success. On average, the survey results show that of respondents who reported they had adopted a hybrid cloud platform, they are running only 23% of their apps on this hybrid cloud platform. Of the same respondents, a majority of 65% run less than 24 applications in these hybrid environments while only 8% have successfully integrated more than 75 applications in their hybrid platform. These figures indicate that brownfield deployments certainly outnumber greenfield deployments in most organizations.

Legacy applications continue to be an albatross for enterprises attempting to embrace DevOps. Respondents reported that significant investment in complex applications has made the transition to cloud technology and DevOps culture challenging. The survey showed that more than 44% of applications in traditional environments were considered complex for the cloud.

As agile-orientated IT executives make the push for DevOps, they’ll find tools at their disposal to streamline their enterprise’s cultural transition and technological ecosystem. Quali’s survey showed that the most popular tools were Jenkins (21%), Docker (16%), Puppet (14%), and Chef (13%). As with many choices on the road to successful DevOps, consensus can be hard to find.

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