11 DevOps trends that will matter most in 2020

Find out what experts say are the biggest changes to expect in DevOps this year.

Tips for how to become a DevOps engineer

DevOps is about constant improvement, and many trends are maturing this year and becoming pervasive. In a field as fast moving as DevOps, it's valuable to find out what might lie ahead. 

DevOps (a combination of "Development" and "Operations") is an ethos that emphasizes the importance of communication and collaboration between software developers and production IT professionals while automating the deployment of software and infrastructure changes, as previously reported by TechRepublic.  

The goal is to create a working environment in which building, testing and deploying software can occur quickly, reliably and frequently. By doing this, a company can achieve its goals faster and deploy new features, security patches and bug fixes. 

TechRepublic turned to the experts to ask their opinions on the top 11 DevOps trends worth watching in 2020:

1. A focus on end-to-end lifecycle management will streamline DevOps workflow complexity

Sid Phadkar, senior product manager at Akamai, said, "With the emergence of microservices and CI/CD toolchains, there has been an emphasis on developing and leveraging many different tools to tackle small tasks spread across similar parallel workflows. For example, two different teams within an organization often have their own CI/CD pipelines consisting of many different tools catering to version control, build automation, monitoring analytics, early testing, code review processes, and more. While organizations have reaped the benefits of catering to customized workflows, this has also led to incredible tool sprawl within often dispersed teams that can hinder productivity. DevOps vendors are often tasked with ensuring compatibility with tools from other vendors. In 2020, the number of tools will continue to increase, but there will be a movement toward end-to-end lifecycle management and single applications that streamline tooling and workflows to ultimately improve software development speed and agility."

SEE: DevOps: A cheat sheet (TechRepublic)

2. The definition of a modern application is changing

Scott Johnston, CEO of Docker, said, "Today's applications are more complex than those of yesterday. In 2020, modern apps will power tomorrow's innovation and this requires a diverse set of tools, languages and frameworks for developers. Developers need even more flexibility to address this new wave of modern apps and evolve with the rest of the industry."

3. SQL will make a strong comeback

Venkat Venkataramani, co-founder and CEO, Rockset, said, "We will see enterprises making a huge push towards standardizing around SQL for their entire data management stack. Data management solutions, whether it's streaming platforms, online operational systems, or offline batch analytics, will all converge to SQL as a standard interface for developers and data scientists alike.

"It is laborious to write custom code in order to glue together a data pipeline and it is also notoriously difficult to learn a bunch of domain-specific query languages for different NoSQL databases. It turns out the killer feature that is missing from NoSQL systems is SQL, and this explains the renewed interest in SQL. In February 2019, Rockset launched the Binary Survey to find out where developers stand on the largest debates in the community. Based on these results from over 2,600 respondents to-date, SQL is making a strong comeback, with an overwhelming 83 percent of respondents preferring SQL as their data retrieval language," Venkataramani said.

4. Dropping the "move fast and break things" model

Ramneek Gupta, managing director and co-head of venture investing at Citi Ventures, said, "In 2020, I think we'll see fewer companies and entrepreneurs using the 'move fast and break things' model. While this ideology has never worked in financial services, we're seeing that it is having continued negative repercussions for big tech. With privacy and regulation becoming a top concern for consumers, more companies will be pumping the brakes before launching into new business plans. With behavioral, technological and industrial shifts happening constantly all around us, I believe that in 2020 we will see more companies weighing their next move before jumping into a product launch, IPO, or brand pivot."

5. Organizations will look to validate and optimize the value their DevOps tooling provides at scale

Phadkar said, "Many market pundits are predicting a massive downturn or recession in the next 12 to 24 months, meaning organizations everywhere are going to seek ways to cut costs without cutting output to weather the storm. Cloud-first and digital transformation initiatives within organizations have typically been given a free hand on budgetary needs over the last few years. At the same time, the maturity of DevOps tooling has meant that these tools have evolved and are now leveraged at scale and getting costlier every day. In 2020, organizations will have a significant focus on cost structures and will look to leverage DevOps tooling that provides equivalent value, but minimizes costs at scale."

6. Consolidation around a specific service mesh implementation

Chandler Hoisington, senior vice president of engineering and product at D2iQ, said, "In 2020, I predict we will see consolidation around a specific service mesh implementation for the community to rally around. A service mesh ensures the communication between containers is available, reliable and secure while providing some key capabilities like load balancing, encryption, etc. This space isn't large enough for four or five major players and it is likely either Linkerd or Istio who will come out the other side with an enterprise ready, full service offering. These technologies can solve so many customer issues and pain points, and it will be interesting to see how many problems we solve at this layer."

7. The developer skills gap will close

Johnston said, "Software developer has been one of the hottest job roles of the past few years but the demand for new technologies and advanced skills pose challenges (e.g. the need to know emerging trends such as serverless apps and staying up to date on open source tools). Plus, demand still outweighs supply. The key to closing this gap is a customized developer experience, built on a foundation of flexibility, decision-making power, and challenge through problem solving."

SEE: Hiring kit: Principal Software Engineer (TechRepublic Premium)

8. DevSecOps will become real

Phadkar said, "With the rising number of data breaches and increased emphasis on data privacy regulations such as PSD2 and GDPR both in the U.S. and globally, DevOps-savvy organizations will be forced to prioritize diligence in security measures overtime to market in the year ahead. As new regulations are put into place, more application developers will be mandated to build strict security policies directly within code. There will be an uptick in DevOps tools that cater to automating more compliance-related tasks within infosec teams, thus incorporating security and compliance measures into everyday CI workflows."

9. A faster adoption rate of new technology

Robert Reeves, co-founder and CTO, Datical, "The adoption rate of new technology will dramatically increase, especially with open source. Just look at Kubernetes — we were all amazed at how quickly that proliferated. The same thing is going to happen with technologies like Spinnaker, but even faster. JPMorgan Chase made a public declaration of their commitment to Spinnaker at SpringOne, and we're going to see more companies do the same. Based on this, CIOs need to actively explore these new technologies and pay attention to what their developers are interested in, as this will indicate the areas they need to invest in."

10. A container-first strategy will prove itself

Johnston said, "Developers have long been proponents of containers, but there's been a huge shift toward establishing container-first strategies that are foundational to business transformation. 2020 will mark the year that these container-centric initiatives become the go-to-approach and play out on a larger scale, across enterprises and industries, as it proves immediate impact by providing a clear path to the cloud, while reducing cost and risk." 

11. Low-code trend will be overrun by no-code solutions so citizen developers and IT pros can focus on larger issues

Nikfar Khaleeli, vice president of products at Blue Cedar, said, "Low-code solutions will become less attractive as full no-code solutions continue to surface and enable developers to focus less on rote, repeatable problems (like Software-as-a-Service vendors enabling customers to make extensions on their platforms or automated security integration) and more on sophisticated projects that are not able to be automated. As no-code solutions empower more citizen developers to automate some of those simpler problems, we will see a new generation of software innovation emerge as high-value developers narrow in on the more complex issues that burden the broader technology ecosystem." 

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