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What breakthroughs we won't (and will) see in DevOps 2018

Will 2018 be the best of times for DevOps? Perhaps. But there's no doubt sweeping changes on the developer and operations sides are coming. Here's what to prepare for.

In 2018, automated testing needs to become the default in every organization. Operations people need to learn to code. And cloud providers will start offering end-to-end DevOps solutions.

Such are the predictions, or warnings, of what's to come when we look at DevOps 2018 from Forrester principal analyst Robert Stroud. Stroud is bullish on DevOps, but is the first to say that it's going to take far more time than we realize. "This is not a revolution but a slow erosion," he explained. "At some point we're going to wake up in the morning and say, 'Wow, what happened?' DevOps is more like a five-year journey that appears to be an overnight success."

To understand the stakes of why getting DevOps right is so important, Stroud points to just released data showing that companies successful with DevOps can deploy 46 times faster and have a change failure rate of just 7.5%. (The typical non-DevOps change failure rate is 38.5%.)

Stroud headshotRobert Stroud

But Stroud wants to temper everyone's DevOps 2018 expectations. He is excited about the prospect of low-code platforms, but doesn't expect them to really be commercialized fully until 2019 or 2020.

"The good news is low-code platforms won't take developer jobs in 2018," he said. And he's equally nuanced about DevOps and the cloud. "Cloud providers feel very forced to deliver end-to-end DevOps solutions, but they will not," he said, at least not in a widespread way in 2018.

Time to leverage automated testing

What Stroud would like to see become far more widespread, however, is automated testing, something everyone knows is important but has become far more challenging to accomplish than expected. "Really leveraging testing automation has to become the default in every enterprise," he said. "This should happen in 2018, but it probably will not." The problem? Test automation is difficult and time-consuming and scriptless test automation tools are really still in the early stages.

[Coders] change languages as often as I change my shoes.
Robert Stroudprincipal analyst, Forrester Research

Testers aren't the only ones with big hurdles to overcome. Stroud thinks operations professionals need to learn how to code. Rapid advancement in automation is putting pressure on ops people like never before. "If they learn how to code, they will dramatically increase their value to the organization." And if ops pros can code, they can code anywhere -- on the development side, or on the business side, which is going to be increasingly important going forward as companies edge closer to the idea of BizDevOps.

Of course developers aren't off the hook either. If Stroud had his way, DevOps 2018 would see coders settling in to a single language, and just use it. "They're spending too much time learning new languages and not delivering. They change languages as often as I change my shoes," he said. There's no time for that any more as the pressure is on for faster and better development. "They need to spend more time learning the business than learning new development languages. That's where the focus has to be in the coming year."

This was last published in January 2018

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What will be the biggest obstacles in the way of DevOps 2018 progress?