Are you employing a DevOps strategy?
DevOps : Market and Tools
DevOps has changed the market and also the tools we use in the software industry. Gone are the days of separation. We have quickly passed from “waterfall” through the separated infancy of “agile system administration” and “agile operations” to “DevOps.”
But what IS DevOps? In case you missed my earlier article, DevOps: What is it and Why Should You Care? let’s take a moment to revisit the definition.
According to Wikipedia, “DevOps (a clipped compound of development and operations) is a term used to refer to a set of practices that emphasizes the collaboration and communication of both software developers and other information-technology (IT) professionals while automating the process of software delivery and infrastructure changes. It aims at establishing a culture and environment where building, testing, and releasing software can happen rapidly, frequently, and more reliably.” In fact, that is a terrific definition, and, I must add, quite superior to their original one!
So, how does DevOps affect the market and what are the tools it has provided?
There are many opinions. Perhaps it is most accurate to say that rather than actually being a market in itself, DevOps is a philosophy coming out of a kind of cultural shift that blurs the lines and merges operations and development. Rather than there being a market for DevOps, then, DevOps actually has become the market!
Since the projections for 2016 (which we will shortly be able to analyze) are that 25% of Global 2000 organizations will be employing DevOps strategy, the need for DevOps toolsets has created a market with very strong growth opportunities.
The term being used in this fast-growing market is “DevOps toolchain,” a chain of technologies linked together to provide the tools to further collaborative change. In fact, DevOps tools are being developed so quickly it is almost dizzying!
One terrific example in one image is the DevOps “Periodic Table,” by XebiaLabs, which shows in a single table designed after the well-known Periodic Table of Elements, a list of more than 80 DevOps tools, color coded into groups, including Open Source, Free, “Freemium,” Paid, Enterprise, SCM, CI, Deployment, Cloud/IaaS/PaaS, BI/Monitoring, Database Mgmt, Repo Mgmt, Config/Provisioning, Release Mgmt, Logging, Build, Testing, Containerization, Collaboration and Security.
Each of the inclusions in this table is linked to a description, which in turn contains links to yet further tools, which in turn are linked to other tools. Indeed, “toolchain” is a very apt description when speaking of DevOps tools. No one tool is really standalone, but all are linked to others, which in turn are linked to others.
In fact, if I was to attempt to come up with any better model for DevOps tools, I believe it would have to be a very complex three dimensional model, as each DevOps tool is linked, but rather than to a single link at each end, often to many links in every direction! Perhaps the term we should be using is the “DevOps tool cloud.”
With this vast cloud of available DevOps tools, where does one start?
That depends on what you are doing. Tomer Levy, the CEO and co-founder of Logz.io has created a list DevOps tools he and his team have grown to love as they build their SaaS company. He has created a list of the nine “must-have” Open Source DevOps tools for a company building a solution on an open source stack.
Again on the DevOps site, Ravikumar Raghavenderrao offers a short list of the top ten IT management tools. Ravu us the Vice President of Service Delivery at NetEnrich, where he is in charge of customer satisfaction, service delivery, quality control and new service introduction.
According to the Ravi, “the global DevOps tools market alone is expected to be worth $3 billion by 2019…” That’s huge! Furthermore, that’s the near future. That’s why it’s important to keep up and read up on industry trends. Lists like this one are very helpful and will only become more so as time goes on.
If you want to stay at the forefront of this industry, you have to keep up. It is critical to continually research the new tools that apply to your own niche. Top ten lists and similar can be very helpful! They give you an opportunity to quickly scan and determine what is most likely to work best for you. From there, you can research new possibilities in parallel while working with the choices many of your competitors have determined work best in similar situations.
Devops Digest offers a terrific resource with 30 Must-Have Tools to Support DevOps. This in-depth and up-to-date list and commentary, complete with bibliography and links, offers a rich library of DevOps tools covering virtually every area of DevOps tools. It is not exhaustive – you could read for a week and not cover everything available – but it’s really helpful to have someone go to the effort of compiling such a list, and with it, you potentially could have the short-list needed for your project.
Just the same, you and your team do eventually need to make choices. What tools are you going to choose to make your team DevOps? Sarah Zorah, product marketing manager for JIRA, published an article on Atlassian Blogs, called How to choose the right DevOps tools. In it, she points out that there is no one tool that will magically make you DevOps, but the same time, she rightly says it’s more about a cultural shift than a magic recipe.
You have to look at your own organization, think about what you are trying to achieve, about who you are trying to achieve it with, and about where they are in their own development as people and as part of a team.
It is perhaps worth noting in an article like this one that while DevOps tools are indispensable, DevOps is not about the tools. As Julie Craig, Research Director of Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) says, “From my perspective, there is no single, must have tool, as DevOps is so much about organizational change AND ‘starting where you are’. So the ‘must have tool’ would vary from organization to organization, based on tools already in place, organizational maturity, and the types of applications they are deploying.”
This is true in many industries. For example, the best camera ever made will not make a photographer, nor will a box of wrenches make an auto mechanic. However, having the best tools in the right hands makes the difference between trying to carve Michelangelo’s David with a rock and a piece of bone or creating the timeless masterpiece with the fine tools that were at the great artist’s disposal.
Ultimately, you and your team must choose the DevOps tools that fit your team and your market. It is, just as DevOps ultimately implies, a collaborative effort.
What are your thoughts?