Diving into DevOps

DevOps 2018: What to Expect in the Coming Year

Our DevOps specialist dives into predictions for the coming year concerning DevSecOps, serverless architecture, "after agile" and more.

The Predictions Season is here! I can't remember a time when so many Nostradamuses (or is it Nostradami?) had their crystal balls shined up and ready to prognosticate in the DevOps space. Here are some of the predictions I've been hearing in conversations and via e-mail.

Ravi Mayuram, SVP of Engineering and CTO at Couchbase, expects 2018 to be a lively year for DevOps. Among other things, this will be the year that Secure DevOps, what we're now (mostly) calling DevSecOps, will take precedence over ease-of-use considerations.

"In the evolution of any technology, security isn't usually a priority in the early days, because in the beginning it's not mission critical," Mayuram told me. "But as the workloads increase and more is at stake, security becomes a priority. Next year I think we're going to see DevSecOps rising in prominence to combat omnipresent security vulnerabilities by incorporating preventative measures in the initial development stages."

The previous tension between easy-to-use and secure by-default solutions notwithstanding, he said, security has become top of mind again for developers, due to GDPR compliance and increasing data regulations. "As NoSQL gains prominence in the enterprise space and databases are filled with more customer data, built-in security will continue to become increasingly important," he said.

Another trend in Mayuram's crystal ball: the proliferation of serverless architecture with organizations.

"As cloud technology has matured, serverless architecture has surfaced to compose reactive architectures that drive smaller, more efficient services," he said. "Serverless architecture will constitute the next infrastructure overhaul at the application layer, especially as DevOps seeks to drive business value in new ways. 2018 will see serverless architecture spike in adoption, and new use cases will emerge to assemble, and disassemble, the stack in ways that haven't been possible before."

Rick Fitz, SVP of IT Markets at Splunk, expects to see "a new breed of IT Ops" emerge in the coming year, as well as a new engineering role.

"With the rise of continuous delivery and DevOps, a new breed of IT operations professionals is defining how services are delivered and managed," he said in an e-mail. "As comfortable with Python and Ruby as with configuration and capacity, they are leading the way in areas like systems automation, architectural flexibility, developer empowerment, and site reliability to deliver better applications faster and with an exceptional user experience. As such, the Site Reliability Engineer role will become mainstream as many professionals refresh their software development skillsets so they can collaborate more effectively with developers."

Fitz also expects DevSecOps to get a big hug from dev teams in the coming year, Fitz believes, primarily to meet increasing expectations for governance, audit, and compliance requirements. "This means developers will have a larger role and more accountability for ensuring the security of their applications and the data they process," he said. "Security will become a standard requirement for building enterprise-class services and applications. To enable this increasingly collaborative approach, everyone involved -- developers, release managers, application specialists, operations and security teams -- will need to work with a single source of truth, using that data to achieve the security objectives most relevant for their roles."

Scott Klein, co-founder and head of product of Atlassian Statuspage, also sent me his predictions for 2018. For him, it's all about tools to help developers manage their new roles in a DevOps-centric enterprise.

"As the walls between developers and technical operations folks continue to come down and development teams assume responsibility for running the software that they write, we will see the adoption of tools and practices to help these teams cope with a new set of responsibilities," he said in an e-mail. "These tools will allow them to better communicate and coordinate within their team and to other teams. The focus in the new context will be on velocity and agility, leaving behind a generation of those accustomed to strict separation of roles and responsibilities."

Finally, I've talked before with Jens Schumacher, Atlassian's Head of Developer Tools, about his company's concept of "After Agile." He expects to see that concept driving an "era emerging for progressive software development teams" in 2018.

"As developers embrace cloud tools, smash monolith applications in favor of micro-services, adopt containers, and engage in continuous experimentation, they advance Agile practices to measuring success by the value delivered to customers, not the number of releases per day," he said in an e-mail. "Rather than focusing on the notion of ‘done' when a feature is shipped, software development is moving to continuous iteration. In 2018, we will celebrate when our features achieve the outcomes we defined, not when they are released to customers."

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of Converge360.com sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].