Inside Advanced Scale Challenges|Saturday, November 18, 2017
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Commentary: Ultimately, It’s All Just DevOps 

The recent EnterpriseTech article, DevOps Emerges in the Enterprise, examines industry analyst Gartner's assertion that DevOps is not a market. Instead, the market researcher insists it is a loose collection of tools used in a specific philosophical way.

Do I believe DevOps is a market? Absolutely. Is it a philosophy? Yes. Is it a set of tools? Perhaps. But that is the least interesting part of the story.

While it is true that DevOps is a collection of best-of-breed tools that are glued together to meet the current demands of engineering, the characterization that it is only a collection of tools sells the vision short.

A better way to define the DevOps market is to consider it an evolution of two older markets: software development and technical operations.

Consider the CRM and Agile markets as examples of a market creation pattern—both were initially not considered markets, but a group of tool sets. In the case of Agile, it was considered a methodology.

It’s common for new market segments to start out in this way. That is, as a group of tools aimed at solving specific problems. As the market matures, these tools end up glued together to solve problems unique to the niche domain. As the market continues through a maturation process, point solutions are integrated and become bundled enterprise-class solutions that solve problems in more complex environments.

This is what is happening with DevOps. Today, we’re seeing the growth of a market. We are looking at the shift from early tools that sought to address the pain of those relegated to being constantly "on-call" to the current situation in which we see the creation of a common language between those who build software (development teams) and those who deploy it (operations teams).

Today, code is code is code, whether it is development or deployment.

Over the last 20 years, software has slowly eaten the world. Businesses that historically operated on eight-hour business days are now operating 24x7, navigating a global economy that never sleeps. As a result, technical operations teams are undergoing a massive change—maturation—from a set-it-and-forget-it mentality in IT to being the backbone of a company’s ability to compete.

The evolution of the DevOps market is akin to plate tectonics at high speed. Tools for DevOps teams will consume the development tools and technical operations space until building and operating are the same thing, rather than remaining a group or set of tools that, as Gartner asserts, "exist as part of a larger IT operation and software development capability."

Ultimately, it’s all just DevOps.

--Todd Vernon is founder and CEO of VictorOps, Boulder, Colo., which among other services specializes on helping companies solve DevOps issues like on-call management.

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 25 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as Executive Editor for Electronic Engineering Times.

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