DevOps: 6 Trends to Watch in 2018

DevOps Testing - DevOps QA Testing

The term ‘DevOps’ was coined by Patrick Debois and Andrew Shafer around 2008 as an extension of Agile development environments. Currently, it is becoming quite a buzzword in the QA & software testing market – often commonly thrown around by corporations. Nevertheless, despite all the hype, fundamentally, DevOps is simply about bringing people and processes together to enable faster execution, continuous deployment, and frequent product releases. And, when applied astutely, the benefits are tangible in terms of ROI.

A 2016 State of DevOps Report reflects that companies that are strong adherents of Agile and DevOps (high performers) are able to spend 29% more time on new work, like new features or code, and they deploy 200 times more frequently, with 2555 times faster lead times, recover 24 times faster, and have three times lower change failure rates.

The data is appealing, but despite the adoption, most DevOps environments are far from mature, and to accrue real benefits, DevOps practices need to change and evolve over time. Traditionally, DevOps was meant to eliminate the disconnect between development and deployment by focusing on the collaboration of software developers and IT professionals to embrace Agile. The latest developments, however, include additional objectives to industrialize, automate, and connect the entire development process – encompassing infrastructure, application, and the business changes through DevOps. DevOps is certainly seeing early mainstream maturity.

Moving forward, here are a few forthcoming DevOps trends to watch in 2018:

1. DevOps is spreading fast – A combination of agility with shorter release cycles and enhanced speed to market with reduced timeframes is compelling more and more companies to adopt DevOps. In addition, the culture is likely to spread into areas like database, QA & software testing, networking, and even outside of core IT. The current trend is towards imbibing security and infrastructure considerations earlier down the timeline into coding, architecture, and pre-production systems. Hence, DevSecOps and DevNetOps are trending, and are likely to become a norm in the near future.

2. DevSecOps – Usually, in the initial stages of adopting DevOps testing, companies take a more careful approach, have better safeguards and fallback positions in place, but later they simply reduce them in favor of rapid delivery. And this need for speed is likely to increase in multiples in future. A 2016 study on DevOps revealed that 79% of the companies’ CIOs it surveyed opined that “speed of DevOps makes it more difficult to know what is trusted and what is not”.

Hence, security is definitely becoming a big concern. With the increasing complexity and sophisticated testing scenarios involving thousands of devices, a multitude of screen sizes, different networks, and varied OSs and browsers, in addition to the reduced safety nets for faster delivery; DevSecOps is definitely the way forward. The philosophy involves building security into the application so that it’s baked in, and is built on the idea that “everyone is responsible for security”.

3. Metrics are evolving – The Agile testing methodologies and DevOps culture is evolving and maturing, and has plenty of room for growth. This, in turn, reiterates the increasing need for more metrics, and more data. Metrics such as customer ticket volumes, percentage of failed deployments and the like are indicative of software quality, customer satisfaction, and overall efficiency. As such, companies must remain vigilant and must collect, analyze and make the best use of metrics to further improve their Agile and DevOps practices.

4. Automation is becoming the norm with ‘Quality first’ approach – Testing is moving to a collection of smaller steps interspersed throughout the development process with software quality assurance practices being integrated earlier in the development process. DevOps, by integrating QA automation, offers a culture that helps in achieving quality with speed to market through collaborative development, CI, continuous testing, frequent deployments and regular monitoring.

Automation is definitely the way forward, and this trend will further require skilled and experienced testers who are able to understand programming basics, can wisely handle automation and can keep up with the latest technologies.

5. Technology is evolving rapidly – New open source DevOps tools and a large number of plugins are being introduced on a regular basis. For companies, the learning must match with continuously evolving technology to remain competitive, and a strategic understanding of tools, processes, and utilization of technology must be sought for enhanced efficiency and productivity.

6. DevOps, Containers, and Microservices are becoming increasingly interdependent – Whereas microservice architectures and containers promise agility for the application teams, it challenges infrastructure and Ops teams with more deployments, more frequently, leading to more complex environments. DevOps will be required to deliver these services at an ever-increasing pace along with managing the increasing complexity of a scalable microservices architecture.

Speed is the new mantra, and things are going to get more complex with IoT at our doorsteps. Releases will increase exponentially, security testing issues will need extra caution, and getting all the stakeholders into the DevOps zone will become all the more crucial. DevOps is soon headed toward mature mainstream adoption, and for a smooth transition, companies must keep a tab on the above and similar upcoming trends, and equip themselves with the right tools, technologies, training, techniques, and processes for success.

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