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VMblog Expert Interview: Jacob Berube Details Findings From the Codefresh 2020 State of DevOps Survey

interview codefresh berube 

Codefresh has completed their 2020 State of DevOps survey which revealed a number of insights into the continued evolution of the industry.  Jacob Berube, Director of Web Strategy and Product Marketing at Codefresh, spoke to VMblog about what the survey revealed, and what Codefresh learned from the results.

VMblog:  Last year's State of DevOps survey focused on velocity and barriers to getting code out the door.  How have things changed in this regard over the last 12 months?

Jacob Berube:  Last year our survey stated that 66% of respondents had less than 50% of their processes automated.  It's moving in the right direction, because this year only 52% of respondents said they have less than 50% of DevOps processes automated. Companies are still struggling to implement automation, though. Year over year we are seeing improvement as training gets better and time to deploy is faster. 

VMblog:  Why do you think people are struggling, especially with so many tools available?  Is it not enough time or are DevOps engineers intimidated by Kubernetes?  Why so slow to adopt?

Berube:  Great question. One thing we have seen is there are a lot of older tools that don't perform well when you try to mix them with newer technologies like Kubernetes. If you use a legacy tool and then add different plug ins and modify it to make them work together, a lot of people struggle with that. To a certain extent they end up with this weird "hybrid, kind of, sort of automated, partially manual" system that doesn't really end up working very well. So I think these legacy systems that people are using are a big part of the problem due to a lack of knowledge about how to automate these things. DevOps automation is an investment. You'll save time in the short term by not creating an automated process, but the time that you save by not automating your processes will be quickly overshadowed by the time wasted manually running deployments and builds.

VMblog:  What did the survey tell you about the impact of COVID-19 on on-prem vs cloud environments?

Berube:  This was super interesting and ended up being the big focus. 75% of respondents who are doing on-premise deployments (58% planning to move some and 17% planning to move their entire stack) are reconsidering that decision because of COVID. The inability to go on site and to travel to the different sites you manage plays a big role in that. It's been trending that way for a while where on-prem has been declining for quite a while now. The pandemic has just accelerated that trend. We've talked to some customers who were planning on doing that sometime in the future, but because of COVID and the inability to manage on site have accelerated their plans, so they are migrating sooner than they would have.

VMblog:  Has this thinking contributed to more interest in the Codefresh Runner?

Berube:  The Runner has been doing really well for us. Most of our enterprise customers who are coming to us are choosing Codefresh because of the Runner. This hybrid on prem/hybrid cloud strategy is still very new for larger companies, especially those that have been around since before the cloud existed and have systems already in place. Codefresh Runner is a really good option for migrating from on-prem to the cloud. It provides a stop gap so you can use cloud technology to easily deploy to on premise environments while at the same time deploying to the cloud native environments without having to manage the stack. It's a powerful migration tool, and we do have several customers that have been using Codefresh Runner as they migrate. If you are looking to migrate to the cloud, the Runner can help to ease the transition a bit by having one place that can handle all your deployments.

VMblog:  Codefresh launched a live debugging tool last year.  How much time is spent debugging, and how can this be minimized?

Berube:  In our survey we had 67% of respondents say that they spend 25% or more of their time fixing bugs on their DevOps pipelines. 35% of people spend more than half of their time fixing bugs on their DevOps pipelines. It's pretty clear that people are spending way too much time fixing bugs that could be spent doing more productive things. If you look at the software development industry, debugging tools have existed for quite a long time that have solved this problem. The goal of the Codefresh debugger was to bring some of those tools that software engineers have been able to enjoy to DevOps engineers for the first time. We had really good feedback from customers who said they absolutely love the feature. I would be curious to survey people next year to find out how much the debugger actually helped influence the amount of time spent fixing bugs. The intent of Codefresh debugger is to give DevOps engineers time back to focus on more important stuff.

VMblog:  What is the trend of Kubernetes adoption according to the survey, and how has that changed in the past year?

Berube:  This is pretty interesting. In 2019, 54% said Kubernetes would be used in more than half of all projects by the end of the year. Now, that didn't happen - Kubernetes is definitely not used in more than half of all new projects, but it is accelerating very quickly. In this year's survey, 73% of respondents said that by end of year, more than half of all new projects will use Kubernetes. We basically went from half to three quarters saying they believe Kubernetes will be used in half of all projects. To have a single technology - and the software industry has many players - used in half of all projects - that's pretty amazing.  And 73% of people saying that is a very insightful trend proving the continued dominance of Kubernetes.

VMblog:  Are companies investing more in DevOps considering the tools available and faster innovation?

Berube:  DevOps is getting more and more complicated. Over the last five to 10 years, the number of tools that you need to stay competitive and the tech stack that you're using has gotten far more complicated than it used to be. In order to manage all that complexity, you need good tools and good people. As tools become more complex, we will continue to see budgets rise. Our survey said that 74% of respondents are expecting an increase in their budget, and more than half of DevOps engineers and leaders we surveyed are expecting their budgets to increase by 25% next year, which is a huge increase. More and more companies are realizing that an investment in DevOps pays off, which is why we are continuing to see these budgets rise.

VMblog:  Duct tape and chewing gum vs starting fresh with new tools - which is more cost effective?

Berube:  There are a lot of hard costs and a lot of soft costs involved. There are open source, old school platforms like Jenkins which are free to use in terms of the actual platform itself. However, there is a very large management overhead that comes with Jenkins - the set-up is more difficult for example. By the time all is said and done you are likely to be spending a whole lot more manpower to get Jenkins ready than you would on a tool better suited for a modern tech stack. There is always the short-term temptation to be frugal by using some manual processes or using an open source piece of software that doesn't work well. The whole point of DevOps is to transcend all that, and to create scalable architecture and automation that is going to grow with your business and make your developers more productive and your project more reliable. 

VMblog:  Looking ahead, do you have any projections about the state of DevOps in 2021?

Berube:  I think a lot of the trends we talked about are going to continue to grow and accelerate. Budgets are going to continue to go up, automated systems are going to continue to take over. I think we are going to start to see some of these more modern CI/CD solutions start to gain market share and start to gain some traction over older legacy tools. We are going to see Kubernetes continue to dominate even more than it does today. One trend that we are seeing now, but will see more and more of in 2021, is a continued focus on simplifying the technology and the tools that are powering automation. Kubernetes is still really hard for beginners to grasp and to be able to use effectively and quickly. We are starting to see a lot more tools - things like Harness and Codefresh - that are managing that complexity more and simplifying things.

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Published Thursday, October 15, 2020 7:39 AM by David Marshall
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