Friday, December 27, 2013

DevOps into 2014: The biggest challenges for DevOps next year (Part 2 of 2)

In the first part, (and the potential pitfalls of failing to instance them properly) as well as how the market right now is being flooded with new ideas and tools.

But other challenges that affect DevOps include how tools work for developers and operations. One big area happens to be security, which is tied extremely tightly to maintenance and testing. Software bugs may cause frustrations for customers (UI bugs especially) but any defect runs the chance of opening up a company and customers to attack.

"With the increased visibility of software defects and the impact they can have on our day-to-day lives (the recent launch is just one example), software testing will play a more important role than ever before and will have a critical role in DevOps in 2014," Zack Samocha, Senior Director of Product Management, tells SiliconANGLE."With this in mind, we believe that moving forward, development organizations will become increasingly responsible for not only quality defects, but security defects as well."

Through 2013, DevOps has been long on testing (especially automating it) to help shake out bugs and security flaws before they hit the public. No doubt could have done a lot better if the developers had better implanted such practices.

Samocha adds, "As in the end, a defect is a defect regardless of whether it is a quality or security defect and it's the developers who are writing the code and are the most appropriate people to fix the issues."

Like Samocha, DevOpsAngle believes that DevOps practices that keep an eye on flaws and therefore enhance security for customers and companies will be a big part of DevOps in 2014. Even as applications continue to open themselves up to more facets of the Internet ecology by embracing mobile, social media, and connect themselves with the cloud. As the perimeter of what an app can do expands, so will the challenges in keeping it secure.

"This very thing has already happened in the embedded market," Samocha explains with an example, "where developers are responsible for finding and fixing defects such as buffer overruns and overflows-which lie somewhere 'in the middle' of quality and security. And we believe this approach will spread rapidly across other industries and applications, in 2014 and beyond."


"The most exciting trend in 2014 will be that the shift in focus on DevOps will move to the front-end and mobile," says Adam Christian, VP of Development, . "We have learned a lot about scaling backend services, and databases, which has turned into fantastic tools for looking at memory footprints, CPU usage, etc. in order to support a lot of server load."

Sauce Labs is well known to SiliconANGLE as an excellent source for testing automation suites and expertise when it comes to all things deployment quality related. And, as Christian says, mobile and browser front-end have already seen a huge boom in 2013. In fact, after covering Telerik for most of 2013, it's obvious that mobile developers are getting al of help with libraries for cross-platform and web-vs-native support; but this is yet leading to whole new challenges in keeping cross-platform quality under control.

"The browser tools have improved a lot through 2013, but mobile is still a big problem," Christian adds. "I think companies like Sauce Labs and New Relic have the opportunity to connect the dots and give developers the tools they need to have confidence in their web clients and mobile apps, as they adopt a new generation of profiling and testing practices."

Smartphones are not just prolific, they're ubiquitous in the Western countries and have a very strong grip on Asian and Eastern markets. Smartphones are basically their own app ecologies and most of these apps aren't just an atomic function on the phone--many rely on cloud backends, web rendering, and highly connected environments.

Companies who produce apps are also churning out functionality and capability at an unprecedented rate to keep up with market expectations and needs. Automating testing, providing quality controls and security, and assuring confidence for customers (and developers) is an obvious must in 2014.


To wrap up, we can go back to how DevOps has changed thinking in 2013 to imagine how it will impact 2014. To shine a spotlight on DevOps culture and the current paradigm shift, James Brown, Chief Experience Officer, has a few words:

I think the biggest challenge for adopters of DevOps comes in two main areas:

1.Developers becoming responsible for the first time for production systems, and getting paged at 2am as a result.

2.Operations/IT folks having to learn to use DevOps tools, like Chef and Puppet, writing some nominal code, possibly for the first time in their lives.

Both camps will have to adapt, or end up being unable to compete with their peers. Both camps are likely to suffer some hand-wringing as they realize that DevOps, at least in some areas, and in most use cases, is inevitable. Because in my mind, 2014 is the year when people start seeing DevOps as a competitive necessity, I think some will struggle with the fact that they can no longer live in their safe (development) world or their manual (operations) world.

Throughout 2013 a lot of confusion and arguments have been sparked about what exactly DevOps means--Does it mean development becomes ops? Do operations folks communicate more tightly with developers? Do you automate away ops or make ops do dev? And this has generated a number of issues in defining DevOps (as a jargon term) and made it difficult to talk about embracing agile and DevOps practices.

So far, most of the executives SiliconANGLE has spoken to believe that DevOps has a strong position in 2014. The challenge won't be convincing people to adopt practices similar, but that entrenched cultures will resist change and potentially find themselves lost in the huge growth of tools that assist with automating server management, configuration, networking, testing, security the list goes on and on.

2013 has been a testbed for DevOps practices and the proliferation of tools is not slowing down. It's reasonable to expect that 2014 will see some DevOps tool producers pull away and become clear leaders in the industry in their respective paradigms. Since DevOps isn't a cookiecutter solution to a simple problem, it stands to reason that we'll see several leaders each with their own focus rise across the industry.

DevOpsAngle will be there to report on it.

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