DevOps is a buzzword that has taken the tech industry by storm, but have you ever wondered how it all began?
From the early days of the agile software development movement to the modern era of continuous integration and deployment, the history of DevOps is a fascinating journey through the evolution of technology.
This blog will take you on a trip through time to explore the origins of DevOps and how it has transformed the world of software development. But we won’t stop there—we’ll also look ahead to the future of DevOps and how it will shape the industry in the coming years.
The World Before DevOps
Before DevOps became a thing, software development followed what was known as the waterfall methodology. Essentially, it means that each development phase was handled by a different team or department.
In those days, software releases were often a stressful and unpredictable process. Developers would throw their code over the wall to operations and hope for the best, while operations teams would struggle to deploy it smoothly without context or understanding of the code. This approach resulted in a lot of finger-pointing and frustration, with both teams blaming each other for any issues.
As you can imagine, little dev and ops cooperation led to many delays and miscommunication, with projects often running over budget and behind schedule.
Thankfully, DevOps emerged to help bridge the gap between both developers and operations. It was born out of a need for faster releases, improved productivity, and better team collaboration.
Now, let’s dive into the DevOps origin and its impact on the world of software development.
History Timeline of DevOps
No one can tell the DevOps history without knowing the agile practitioner Patrick Debois. He is widely credited as the father of DevOps, first pushing for collaboration between developers and operations teams at a 2008 agile conference.
How exactly did he create the DevOps methodology? Here is a detailed timeline of the history of DevOps:
In 2007, Debois began working on a challenging data center migration project for a Belgian government ministry. He was responsible for certification and readiness testing, which required him to work closely with both the application development and ops teams, including server, database, and network specialists.
One of the main challenges of a project manager was the constant back-and-forth between the development and operations sides of the project. Debois recognized the need for collaboration between both teams and began to brainstorm ways to improve communication.
An Agile conference was held in Toronto, Canada, last 2008, where Andrew Shafer attempted to arrange a meetup session called “Agile Infrastructure.” Unfortunately, the session received such negative feedback that no one showed up, including Andrew himself.
However, Debois was excited to find someone who shared his interests and attended the session anyway. When he realized he was the only one there, he sought Andrew in the conference hallway, and they started a conversation. Later that year, they established a discussion group for people who wanted to share their ideas on bridging the gap between development and operations.
Initially, not many people shared their ideas. But in June 2009, John Allspaw and Paul Hammond delivered a talk titled “10+ Deploys a Day: Dev and Ops Cooperation at Flickr” at the O’Reilly Velocity Conference. Debois watched the streaming video of the presentation at his home in Belgium, and it immediately clicked with him.
So, he called for a gathering of developers and system administrators to discuss the best ways to bridge the gap between the two distinct fields.
Debois named this event DevOpsDays, which took place in late October 2009. The event gained attention from experts in both fields and sparked lively debates on Twitter, where the hashtag was shortened to DevOps. Soon, smaller tech companies started to adopt DevOps culture and practices, and tools were created to aid these newly formed teams. DevOps began gaining a grassroots following, and people started implementing their ideas.
In March of 2011, Cameron Haight, a Gartner analyst, predicted that DevOps would continue to gain momentum over the next few years, which drew more attention to the DevOps movement.
Soon enough, businesses of all sizes began implementing DevOps tools and methods, recognizing them as a valuable framework for their operations.
DevOps quickly became the buzzword in the IT industry, often compared to Agile as the next big thing.
In 2013, the release of the book “The Phoenix Project,” authored by Gene Kim, Kevin Behr, and George Spafford, marked a significant moment in DevOps’ success.
This work of fiction tells the story of an IT manager in a seemingly hopeless situation tasked with rescuing a mission-critical e-commerce development project that has gone awry. Along the way, his enigmatic mentor, a board member well-versed in lean manufacturing practices, introduces him to new perspectives on IT and application development, including the concept of DevOps.
As DevOps gained more traction in the enterprise arena, it was rapidly incorporated into the agile methodology of the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) and scaled across organizations.
DevOps became the new norm for high-performing companies as the business environment continued to evolve. What was considered state-of-the-art three years ago was no longer sufficient.
Based on DevOps statistics from 2017, it was revealed that 60% of IT employers were actively seeking to hire developers to create DevOps teams in their company. Later, they would be called DevOps engineers. The demand for such positions has only increased in urgency since then.
A report sponsored by Deloitte, the 2018 Accelerate State of DevOps Report, introduced a descriptive and pragmatic approach to guide teams and mature DevOps initiatives. This approach, ranging from stages 0 to 5, provides a clear roadmap for organizations to follow.
Here is an overview:
Stage 0: Build the foundation
Stage 1: Normalize the technology stack
Stage 2: Standardize and reduce variability
Stage 3: Expand DevOps practices
Stage 4: Automate infrastructure delivery
Stage 5: Provide self-service capabilities
Enterprises began incorporating additional IT functions, such as security (DevSecOps), privacy, policy, data (DataOps), and controls, into their DevOps culture and processes. This allowed organizations to integrate various aspects of IT into their workflows and improve the overall efficiency of software delivery.
However, the 2019 State of DevOps Report revealed that 79% of surveyed firms, the majority from EU countries, fall into the Medium category on the DevOps evolutionary scale. This suggests that it is relatively easy to reach the middle stage, but progressing beyond it remains difficult.
The 2020 DevOps Salary Report revealed that companies at a high level of DevOps evolution compensate their employees at the highest level and that salaries rose worldwide, most steeply for upper-income respondents in Japan and the United Kingdom.
Automation tools for DevOps today are a foundational part of the continuous testing process. According to the 2021 State of DevOps report, data revealed that 97% of companies that employ advanced DevOps methodologies believe that automation plays a vital role in improving the quality of their work.
Influenced by digital transformation and hybrid working, DevOps needs in enterprises increased because of software complexity and a customer-driven market. Companies seek better ways to manage their technology and people to maximize efficiency.
The State of DevOps Automation 2022 Report shows that while companies are expanding their tech stack to manage these trends, they are still struggling with managing complexity manually and integrating their incident response tools.
2023 and Beyond: The Future and Continuous Improvement of DevOps
For 2023 and beyond, the future of DevOps lies in many technologies. Here are a few:
- Cloud-Native solutions: Kubernetes, Serverless, and OpenShift will be used to manage applications in the cloud
- AI/ML in DevOps framework: AI and ML will be used to automate certain processes and detect anomalies in feature development in applications
- DevSecOps (Agile security): Business stakeholders are increasing their focus on security for compliance and customer satisfaction
- Low-code application: Low-code development will be used to create and deploy applications quickly
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