DevOps' definition lacks consistency and agreement
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DevOps' definition lacks consistency and agreement

DevOps, a philosophy emphasizing collaboration and efficiency among software development and operations teams, still lacks a widely agreed upon definition despite being broadly recognized among IT professionals, according to a new survey report by Clutch (https://clutch.co/), a B2B ratings and reviews firm.

Clutch asked respondents to pick the definition that best characterizes DevOps from four unique options published by Wikipedia, Rackspace, Amazon Web Services, and Hewlett Packard Enterprise. While Wikipedia's definition secured the largest percentage at 35%, no definition earned a majority.

Wikipedia's definition states, "DevOps… is a culture, movement or practice that emphasizes the collaboration and communication of both software developers and other [IT] professionals while automating the process of software delivery and infrastructure changes."

Experts, however, are split in their opinion of Wikipedia's definition. "I think that the word culture is misused," said David Hickman, Vice President of Global Delivery at Menlo Technologies, an IT services company. "It's more of a methodology trend than a culture, which pertains more to social elements of organizations and how people relate to each other from a professional and business perspective."

Conversely, Brian Dearman, Solutions Architect at Mindsight, an IT infrastructure consulting firm, said, "It being a cultural movement is true. Fifteen to twenty years ago, DevOps consisted of two separate things, with operations and development consistently complaining about each other. The culture is being changed, removing the animosity between each side."

The report found that familiarity with and usage of DevOps is wide-reaching among those surveyed, with 80% of respondents saying they are at least somewhat familiar with the DevOps philosophy. Nearly 95% say they either already use or plan to use DevOps.

Nick Martin, Principal Applications Development Consultant at Cardinal Solutions, an IT solutions provider, said that DevOps is the next evolution of the Agile movement.

While the Agile movement emphasizes efficiency on the development side, DevOps seeks to bring the same mindset to the operations team as well. "It's a natural evolution that has occurred for the same reasons that made Agile so popular during the last couple of decades," said Martin.

"DevOps lets us quickly put code out and fix issues," said Dearman. "Instead of having updates every few months, we can now do it every other week. When fixes are put out quicker, customers are happier."

Based on the report, Clutch offers several recommendations at the end of the report for organizations using or seeking to use DevOps. The suggestions include taking time to define DevOps for your own team's goals, since a universally accepted definition remains elusive.

Clutch surveyed 247 IT professionals at organizations ranging in size from sole proprietorships to enterprises. The survey questions were included in a larger survey of opinions regarding Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP), and Microsoft Azure. All respondents' organizations use at least one of these platforms, with usage spread nearly evenly among the three providers.

 

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