Is DevOps sustainable after the consultants leave?

As with many a corporate initiative, DevOps is launched with high hopes and lots of hoopla. But will everyone continue to work together as one happy, aligned family? .

Is DevOps sustainable? That's the question addressed in two recent reports. DevOps is a cultural change; it means banding together different teams within the software value chain and getting them to work in sync. There may be a positive push as the effort is first announced, with executives and professionals rallying around this new collaborative initiative. But what happens after the consultants leave, and the hoopla dies down? Will everyone continue to work together as one happy, aligned family?

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Photo: Joe McKendrick

A survey released by LogiGear looked at the software delivery and testing practices of DevOps practitioners, versus those that have yet to adopt it. Notably, DevOps brings about a certain amount of friction. A majority, 60%, of respondents doing DevOps noted "a lot" of pressure to automate. Of those that aren't doing DevOps, 46% noted such pressure. In addition, nearly half of the respondents that are practicing DevOps agreed that they have "a lot" of environment or test data problems. The group not doing DevOps has fewer problems in this area.

It's notable as well that DevOps requires financial commitments to the tool chain -- often a very large commitment to one tool or another, the LogiGear report authors observe. "That will also require a great deal of planning, training and culture change."

One survey respondent even admitted he or she has yet to "understand the term 'DevOps' except as a meaningless buzzword that has had zero effect to our work processes," Agile and Scrum, on the other hand, have "led to tangible and positive results in the workplace."

Testing is a key area within DevOps, and the LogiGear survey explored the interactions between development and operations teams in some depth here. Generally, the attitude was positive -- 25% of respondents said their operations team is "always helpful" to the test team and its needs; 37% said ops "regularly helps get good test environments." Slightly more than one-fourth, 27 %, said ops can be "slow or difficult."

Another area that DevOps appears to be making a positive difference is security. A survey released by Veracode, a division of CA, shows that despite the pervasive belief that security and development teams have conflicting priorities, DevOps is helping keep these two types of teams "aligned toward a common goal of creating secure software." A majority of the CA-Veracode survey's respondents, 58%, stated their organization is taking a collaborative approach to securing applications as a result of DevOps. At least 45% of respondents whose organizations have adopted DevOps say it helps make the software development team's job easier, and only eight percent feel "adding application security into the development process would slow down a DevOps environment."

The LogiGear survey also finds getting customer or production issues fixed and services restored is "simple, no extra effort" for DevOps teams. "These findings suggest that as more teams practice DevOps, the communication, information, collaboration and training will continue to improve," the survey's authors conclude. "Automation appears to be leading the way for seamless sharing of data and other information. As both groups said that their automation regression suites are often running 'Ok. It has some rough spots, some false negatives and failing tests.'"

Semantics also a greater role than most imagine. "DevOps" may be a difficult term to swallow outside the data center. As Michael Hackett, senior VP of LogiGear, put it: "we have stopped using the phrase DevOps, and now instead use 'continuous delivery.'" He says this is because the term continuous delivery "eliminates the visualization of the big issues that come to mind when thinking of the term DevOps. Second, it seems continuous delivery is what software teams really need."

Continuous delivery it is, then,

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