New research reveals data issues represent the biggest challenge to DevOps initiatives

The ‘2015 State of DevOps’ report was recently published to help understand and define the role of DevOps, its evolving best practices, and current and planned DevOps investments.

DevOps gaining momentum

In partnership with DaaS company Delphix, Gleanster Research surveyed more than 2000 DevOps leaders and practitioners across North America and Europe to assess current industry perceptions of DevOps and what is expected for its future.

The report indicates that DevOps continues to gain momentum, but data issues – including data security – are major challenges, while the definition of DevOps lacks consistency and success metrics among its leaders and practitioners within IT organisations.

DevOps definition issues

The report finds DevOps continues to gain traction in the industry, with 87% of DevOps leaders and 73% of practitioners reporting that they have groups dedicated to DevOps initiatives, and nearly half of all respondents (44%) reporting DevOps budgets of US$1 million or more.

However, the research also highlights that while a majority of all respondents believe DevOps is strongly or somewhat defined (75%), these definitions vary widely, with DevOps being described as:

Developers and system administrators collaborating to ease the transition between development and production (84%).

Using infrastructure automation to facilitate self-service provisioning of infrastructure by development teams (69%).

Evolving operations to meet the demands of agile software development teams (60%).

Developers taking full responsibility for all operations tasks (42%).

Increasing frequency of deployments to uncover defects earlier in the development lifecycle (35%).

Data plays a major role in DevOps

Meanwhile, the research indicates that data plays a major role in DevOps and is an area of risk to be closely examined. A significant 46% of DevOps leaders reported data issues as the biggest challenge to enabling their organisations to use DevOps in testing environments.

Additionally, a majority of all respondents indicated that developers and quality assurance personnel have access to production data, yet this access is not audited (leaders 72%, practitioners 59%).

More than two-thirds of all respondents (71%) reported that masked data is refreshed from production only once a week or less.

Other key findings in the report

According to the findings, the top three reasons for starting DevOps initiatives among all respondents are to deliver software faster (66%), identify bugs earlier (44%), and deliver software more frequently (43%).

Interestingly, 48% of DevOps leaders reported that DevOps initiatives resulted in more defects being identified earlier in the software development cycle, suggesting that when defects are identified earlier in the development lifecycle, teams spend less time recoding and more time delivering value.

The report also highlighted that DevOps leaders more frequently report that development teams drive DevOps within organisations, while practitioners more frequently state that DevOps is driven by operations teams, with approximately one-third of each group stating it is a shared model: Operations (leaders 17%, practitioners 25%); Development (leaders 50%, practitioners 39%); and Shared (leaders 34%, practitioners 35%).

The full report can be downloaded here.