DevOps Survey Results: The Case for Standardized Continuous Delivery Tools

CloudBees partnered with Hurwitz and Associates to survey 150 IT decision makers across a wide range of industries, including: technology, manufacturing, financial services, education, healthcare, retail and several more. 57% of respondents were in organizations of 1,000 - 5,000+ employees, while another 36% were in organizations of 100-999 employees. A majority of respondents held senior management titles: director of DevOps, CEO, VP of operations, VP of development, CIO and CTO. The remainder held a variety of titles in development, tools or engineering management roles. All respondents said they were using open source software in their organization. Some common open source tools cited were: Jenkins, Docker, BuildBot, Puppet, Chef and Fabric8. In most cases, the responders reported they were using enterprise-supported versions of the open source technologies. More than 50% were using continuous integration company-wide, while almost half were utilizing continuous delivery processes.

Three major take-aways were extracted from the survey results. These three topics are summarized in a series of three blog posts, of which this is the second:

  1. Why Enterprises Are Embracing Continuous Delivery
  2. The Case for More Standardized Continuous Delivery Tools (this post)
  3. Why Enterprises are Demanding Support for Open Source Software

We hope you enjoy the series!

The Case for More Standardized Continuous Delivery Tools

There has never been more pressure on the IT development and operations organizations to deliver new and improved applications to the business. Business innovators are impatient, and expect the creation of new product offerings that will allow organizations to leapfrog their competitors. These business leaders demand that IT support their needs without delay. To meet the business demands as quickly as possible, developers either individually or as part of a team rely on a mixture of open source and proprietary tools that best meet their immediate needs. In these high-pressure environments, no one has the time to engage in the careful planning and management required to create a sophisticated platform, especially one that can evolve and withstand change.

But this tool chaos is not sustainable. As the development/deployment organization begins to mature, a disjointed and uncoordinated approach no longer works. What are the challenges that have caused IT leadership to change direction? The following are three of the key problems that are driving a change to tool standardization across the enterprise:

  1. Collaboration between developers in different teams is difficult. When different teams use a variety of different tools, it is difficult for them to collaborate with each other because they may be using different toolsets.
  2. As more individual tools are brought into the mix, the costs of tools, support and training begin to rise. In addition, with so many tools it is difficult to take advantage of economies of scale by obtaining large, enterprise licenses that are discounted based on usage.
  3. Maintenance challenges with disparate tools. When an organization has to manage a multitude of independent tools, it is almost impossible to keep up with maintenance chores such as updates and patches. Many of these updates are directly related to security updates. If patches and updates are neglected, developers may be adding vulnerabilities to applications and putting the business at risk.

Hurwitz & Associates recently completed a CloudBees-sponsored study of 150 IT decision makers about how they handle the challenges of software development and deployment. The respondents were from a wide range of industries. The following industries were most represented in the study: technology (26%), manufacturing (11%), financial services (10%), education (9%) and healthcare (9%). Other industries ranged from government to transportation and legal.

The study indicated that most of these organizations are making significant changes to how they approach application development and deployment. 86% - a majority of the survey respondents - are standardizing on a selection of tools across all of their development teams. Out of the majority of organizations that are standardizing tools, 46% offer development teams a curated choice – centralized IT offers a selection of approved tools and the development team can choose from that selection. The remaining 40% of organizations have completely standardized tools across development teams ensuring that developers use the same tools throughout the organization. Those organizations not standardizing will allow teams or individual developers to select the tools of their choosing. Below, in Figure 1 the findings from this question are presented.

Figure 1: The majority of enterprises (86%) allow collaborative control of tool selection/usage

These findings were reinforced by detailed interviews we conducted with customers. For example, we spoke with a manager of continuous delivery at a very large insurance company. The company’s central IT had embarked on a project to centralize control of development tools. Individual teams were expected to use the corporate standard toolset. However, a developer could select a different tool if there was a compelling reason to divert from the standard offerings. This effort to centralize tools helped IT leadership ensure that teams could more easily collaborate, while IT could control costs and more easily manage licenses and updates.

Conclusion

It is clear that there are significant changes happening within this new generation of application and operations environments. In order to move smoothly to continuous delivery, IT management is discovering that they need to have a systematic approach to tool selection and deployment methodologies. The companies that are taking a more pragmatic and centralized approach to continuous delivery tools shared across teams are able to serve the business well.