DevOps teams need more automation & flexibility, survey finds

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The expanded use of the cloud and microservices resulting from the rise in hybrid information technology infrastructure is leading to greater demand for automation in areas such as compliance, according to a new study.

DevOps specialist Chef Software Inc. said its poll of more than 1,500 information technology managers reveals a steady shift to hybrid IT infrastructure, with the reality that “workloads are increasing faster than headcount.”

Chef’s survey comes to the conclusion that greater automation is needed for hybrid IT, along with the formation of “cross-functional teams” that are able to move faster, with greater resiliency, and adopt new technologies more quickly than teams that are structured in a more traditional fashion. It also said companies must make efficiency improvements while squeezing more production out of existing resources in order to adjust to the new world of hybrid IT.

Chef concedes that those challenges are somewhat daunting. It said that 63 percent of respondents agreed IT workloads are “burdensome,” and only 44 percent said they expect to see an expansion of their DevOps teams in the near future. Indeed, “the most telling statistic is that almost half (47 percent) expect to see the size of their operations teams remain stable or decrease in size, despite the increasing workloads,” George Miranda, Chef’s product marketing director, said in a blog post.

With regards to IT workloads being burdensome, the survey found much of this stems from “unplanned work” such as deployment failures and errors caused by “unmanaged change.” Chef says its findings are proof that IT infrastructure managers need to adopt new practices in order to anticipate such problems.

Almost two-thirds of the survey respondents said their organizations have to deal with regulatory compliance requirements, and Chef said this particular area is ripe for more automation tools that can help enforce data security.

“Automated compliance testing appears to be a mostly untapped opportunity to both increase security and stay ahead of the expanding gap between workloads and headcount,” Miranda said.

Another problem cited by around two-thirds of respondents is the inability to deploy changes to production workloads on demand, with most needing at least a week to do so. This is a side effect of the demand for “continuous delivery” of distributed applications, Chef said.

In conclusion, Chef said we’re likely to see an increase in IT automation with a particular emphasis on deployment workflows. “Maintaining flexibility is not only an essential part of any solution that manages our hybrid infrastructure and applications, but teams that promote that same hybrid approach in experience lead the pack when it comes to addressing these challenges,” Miranda said.

Image: Chef Software