Why Is DevOps Taking the Tech World by Storm?
DevOps has been riding a tidal wave of notoriety for several years. You can hardly open a magazine, read a blog, buy a book, or attend a conference on current technology trends without being awash in information about DevOps. More than a passing fad or buzzword, DevOps has become the process for delivering software to end users faster than ever before and with better quality. DevOps has become the innovation disruptor of the 2020s. No wonder everyone is talking about it. What’s more, many companies are no longer just talking about it, they are doing it. DevOps Engineers are in high demand in the tech sector.
So, what is DevOps, why has it gained such momentum, and what does its future look like?
What is DevOps?
DevOps combines the two previously distinct software disciplines of Development and Operations. Hence, the name DevOps. Before the DevOps revolution, a development team developed software applications, which they then turned over to the operations team to deploy and manage.
The hand-off was cumbersome. The Ops team often did not know what the Dev team was working on. When the Dev team completed their project, they would toss it over the wall to the Ops team, who then had to figure out how to deploy the software, configure it, and support the end users who used it.
When users experienced problems with the application, which was all too frequent, they would report the problem to the Help Desk, which turned to the Ops team, which had to contact the Dev team. In the meantime, the Dev team would have gone on to its next development project and may not have left anyone behind to handle the trouble tickets.
DevOps streamlined this communication nightmare by putting Operations Engineers on the development team. The Ops Engineers (also called Application Systems Engineers) began working hand-in-hand with the Dev Engineers throughout the development and deployment process. The ASEs learned how to deploy the application by assisting in deployments in the testing and staging environments. They sat in meetings with the developers and project manager to discuss application functionality. Quality Assurance Engineers on the project worked closely with the ASEs to find and resolve bugs in the servers, network, and database connections.
By the time the application was ready to be promoted to production, the Ops Engineers had intimate knowledge of the app, how to deploy it, and how to manage it. The transition from Dev to Ops became completely transparent and seamless.
Why has DevOps gained momentum in the tech industry?
Not only did DevOps solve a thorny communication problem, it also introduced automation to the deployment process. Having one foot in the development camp, the Ops Engineers quickly figured out how to write scripts to make the deployment and configuration of applications fast and accurate. The long, elaborate manual checklists of the past gave way to software scripts that could perform the same operations in the same order with unerring accuracy every time. Quality improved.
DevOps Engineers learned how to integrate software quality checks, sometimes called smoke tests, into the deployment process. Before moving the application software onto the production server, the deployment script would run automated smoke tests to ensure that the new executable code would function according to the specifications. If a smoke test failed, the deployment automatically terminated and sent a report to the DevOps Engineer. The developers would have to find and fix the problem, and then submit the application for deployment again. Only when the app passed the smoke tests would the deployment script put it on the server and make it available to end users. Again, quality improved.
Next, the DevOps Engineers developed strategies to deploy new versions of apps without having to take down the system and remove the old versions. This streamlined deployment process became known as Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Deployment (CD). Corporate giants like Etsy, Netflix, Target, Walmart, Ticketcontroller, Amazon and Facebook, who depended on zero downtime for their 24x7 operations, quickly latched onto CI and CD strategies.
The result of DevOps advances has been software developed faster, with higher quality and better support, and with no downtime for the end users. The implementation of DevOps has become a competitive differentiator for many companies.
Software is everywhere. Take for example the Ford F-150 pickup truck. Trucks use software? You bet. A hundred and fifty million lines of code are needed to make the F-150 run. Every intelligent device on the market, from tablets and smartphones to refrigerators, dishwashers, and doorbells, requires code. The code must be developed and deployed, and DevOps has made its way into virtually every industry.
Because DevOps makes code development faster, better, and easier, companies of all types and sizes are embracing it with enthusiasm. Those that still resist the DevOps tsunami will have to either adapt or perish.
What is the future of DevOps?
DevOps is not going away anytime soon. To cite just one example of the enthusiasm and hype surrounding DevOps, in March, 2021, CEO.digital published such articles as “Bridging the Developer & Operations Divide to Improve Efficiencies”, “Continuous Integration Receives Most DevOps Investment, New Survey Suggests”, “‘New Normal’ Presents DevSecOps Teams with New Security Holes to Fill”, and “Simplifying the Modern Applications Journey with Dell Technologies Cloud Platform”. The IT literature is filled with articles about the joys of DevOps.
Large companies are investing big money to support DevOps technologies. Such well known names as IBM, Dell, and Amazon offer DevOps solutions to enable customer companies to quickly and efficiently implement DevOps processes. In addition, many up-and-coming young companies focus heavily or exclusively on DevOps solutions. The leaders include such contenders as JFrog, Opsera, Cloudbees, Dysnix, and Gitlab. These folks don’t plan on going out of business anytime soon.
A Global Markets Insight report, published in 2021, stated, “DevOps Market size exceeded $4 billion in 2019, and is poised to grow at over 20% CAGR between 2020 and 2026.” The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates a job growth rate of 22% for DevOps Engineers through 2029.
The DevOps Engineer job market is currently underserved. Companies are begging for trained and qualified candidates, and they are paying big salaries to lure in the few candidates they can find.
The DevOps tidal wave continues to wash over every company in every industry on the planet. The benefits of DevOps in terms of efficiency, time to market, and quality are undisputed. Innovations in DevOps technologies and solutions are surfacing at a high rate. Employers are clamoring for more and better DevOps Engineers.
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