DevOps adoption almost doubles in five years, Covid crisis accelerated adoption

Survey shows DevOps on the rise, and may have helped boost IT productivity during the great corporate dispersal

Kudos to the information technology community over the past year, who helped maintain the connectivity and communications that held organizations together during the great corporate dispersal. Not only were many organizations able to carry on and even thrive, but the productivity of IT departments themselves remained strong. 

The productivity and continuous delivery of services by IT departments through the Covid crisis is due in no small part to DevOps -- the aligning and syncing of developer initiative with operations cadence. The events of the past year have only made DevOps more relevant.

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Photo: Joe McKendrick

That's the word coming out of a survey of 3,200 enterprises released by RedGate Software, which plays in the data space, documenting changes in IT as a direct result of the Covid crisis. Nearly three quarters of organizations, 74%, have now adopted DevOps in some form, cross-platform database use has risen markedly. "IT thinking has moved further, faster, and perhaps more permanently than any previous year," the survey's authors report. 

Seventy-four percent of organizations in the report are now taking a DevOps approach to development, compared to 47% when the report was first published five years ago. In addition, the survey's authors report, a clear correlation between DevOps adoption and software delivery performance has emerged, with high performers able to release both application and database changes faster, more frequently, and with fewer errors.  

The great corporate dispersal that took place last year did not make a dent in IT productivity, the survey finds. IT teams have remained productive while working remotely.  Forty-three percent state their organizations have grown above or in line with expectations, 13% have seen neither growth nor a decline. Only nine percent have seen a fall. In terms of productivity and performance.  A majority, 80%, agree that remote working will remain in the long term, with 63% agreeing it has increased their productivity.    

The top obstacles to an effective DevOps effort include a lack of appropriate skills in the team, disruption to existing workflows/business, and a lack of alignment between development and operations teams. 

When it comes to improving software delivery and operational performance, metrics such as deployment frequency, lead time for changes, time to restore service, and change failure rates, there are two main challenges, the survey shows. The survey shows a lack of automation in release processes (41%) and drawbacks with legacy application code (39%) are the leading inhibitors to delivering on performance. "Those two elements appear to go hand in hand, with the introduction of automation to established, complex environments being more difficult," the survey's authors point out. "Overall, the challenges selected by more than a third of respondents are around technical barriers and resource constraints."

Interestingly, lack of budget is not seen as a widely spread challenge to improving software delivery, with only one in five respondents selecting it, the survey shows. Cultural resistance was also reported by only 15% of respondents.

The survey also delved into a related trend, database DevOps adoption. "Application developers can iterate and deliver features at a much faster rate," they state. "However, the business cannot realize that value unless database changes are deployed at the same rate, which means Database DevOps practices have to be adopted to enable rapid business value delivery." 

Fueling this requirement is the growing diversity of data environments. No one uses just Oracle or SQL Server and and nothing else. There are open-source and web-friendly databases such as MySQL, PostgreSQL, MongoDB, MariaDB and CouchBase, to name a few.  More than 47% of the survey respondents indicated that they have NoSQL databases in their enterprise, the survey confirms. Only 30% of organizations are now using one database platform compared to 38% just one year ago, the survey shows. Twenty-six percent have two databases, and nearly half of respondents use three or more databases.