DevOps Survey Results: Why Enterprises Are Demanding Support for Open Source Software

Written by: Heidi Gilmore
5 min read

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 third and final:

  1. Why Enterprises Are Embracing Continuous Delivery

  2. The Case for More Standardized Continuous Delivery Tools

  3. Why Enterprises are Demanding Support for Open Source Tools (this post)

We hope you enjoy the series!

Why Enterprises Are Demanding Support for Open Source Software

In a highly distributed computing world, IT organizations are required to change applications quickly to respond to business demands. With competitive threats, business leaders demand that applications reflect changing customer needs and expectations. Therefore, software developers must constantly add new code and integrate new services into these applications. To support more agile application development, many development teams are adopting continuous integration and continuous delivery practices as part of a DevOps transformation. DevOps represents a cultural transformation where development and operations teams work together to implement processes and technology in an effort to streamline and accelerate the application delivery lifecycle.

The need to execute on a more responsive application delivery process has led DevOps practitioners to adopt innovative open source software tools. Many of these open source tools have extensive and collaborative communities populated by some of the most creative software developers. This constant stream of innovation and adaptiveness makes open source tools the top choice for developers. Some of the most important open source tools used to facilitate DevOps include Jenkins, Chef, Puppet and Docker.

As open source technology becomes more common in production applications, IT leaders demand enterprise-level features and direct support.

Hurwitz & Associates DevOps Study

Hurwitz & Associates recently completed a study of 150 IT decision makers who are directly involved with the development of dynamic enterprise applications. The study, sponsored by CloudBees, found that enterprise-level support is the most important consideration for the continued use of open source tools regardless of industry. Study respondents came from a variety of vertical industries including financial services, manufacturing, retail, healthcare and government. The participants were predominantly from larger organizations. Figure 1 below shows the size of the companies that participated in the survey.

Figure 1: Company Size of Survey Respondents

Study Findings

It was clear from the survey results that open source tools are becoming the norm for development organizations. Most of the organizations that participated in the Hurwitz & Associates study reported that they are already using a variety of open source tools to speed the development and deployment of enterprise applications.

A majority of participants require enterprise support. While open source software projects have frequent updates and are community supported, they typically require sophisticated developers to “go it alone” when applying changes for continuous delivery projects. By contrast, enterprise-supported versions are differentiated with the following features, provided with the software code:

  • Guaranteed service level agreements (SLAs)

  • Support contracts

  • Testing before new updates are integrated

  • Higher levels of security testing and patches

  • Accountability through enterprise contract

Survey participants were asked to identify their top two reasons for choosing to purchase enterprise supported versions of open source tools. As Figure 2 indicates, organizations purchase enterprise support for open source tools because they are required to demonstrate a predictable level of service that they cannot find from simply relying on the open source community. The following are some of the key user requirements for enterprise support:

Figure 2: Top Factors for Choosing Open Source Tools with Enterprise Support

  • More than 30% of survey respondents identified enhanced enterprise features and professional support as key motivators for purchasing enterprise-supported versions of open source DevOps tools.

  • More than 25% of study respondents said they wanted vendor-accountability in the event that problems arise in production. As enterprises tap more open source code to support mission-critical applications, IT and development organizations will require that the tools be thoroughly tested, and certified for mission-critical use. Although open source tools often have large and active user communities that can help to resolve new types of problems, many IT organizations would prefer to have a vendor-backed support group to call.

  • More than 30% of respondents identified improved ease-of-use as a top motivator for acquiring enterprise versions of DevOps tools. Open source tools often require highly skilled developers who are accustomed to application testing/debugging procedures to ensure application reliability before new code is put into production. To make open source tools easier to use, vendors often provide visual coding and testing environments


Open source software offerings have matured to the point where enterprises are confident in their reliability for mainstream adoption. Therefore, open source DevOps tools are now solidly in the world of production-level software for enterprise workloads. However, as developers and enterprises increasingly rely upon open source tools to develop their mission-critical applications and services, many of these enterprises require enterprise-supported versions that provide better quality, enterprise features and “someone to call” for critical issues and support.

Stay up to date

We'll never share your email address and you can opt out at any time, we promise.