IT Toolchain Sprawl Significantly Impacts DevOps Teams
May 20, 2016

Chris Boorman
Automic Software

Key findings of anew study by Automic indicate steady growth of the tool stack, how unstable and unrealistic vendor lock-in has become and the importance of managing a coherent deployment pipeline, especially as many organizations begin to adopt and implement DevOps focused initiatives.

Launched in partnership with DevOps.com, the survey entitled Managing Your DevOps Tool Chest: The Complexity of Herding Kittens found that 69 percent of respondents reported their tool stack is steadily increasing. Moreover, 82 percent said that while the stack is growing, many of the tools being used are outside of the officially supported tool stack. Ultimately, new tools are being utilized much more quickly than they are approved by organizations, leading to increased IT toolchain sprawl and shadow IT issues which significantly affect DevOps teams.

For example, for every one or two tools development or operations teams add, this will effectively double the numbers of tools DevOps teams have to account for in their deployment pipelines. In order to maintain a coherent deployment pipeline, these tools must be integrated and orchestrated.

Some key findings from the survey:

■ 53 percent of respondents said development teams do not standardize on the same tools.

■ Nearly 40 percent of respondents said their company currently uses 5 to 10 tools.

■ For large organizations, over 53% use 20 or more tools.

Results from the survey suggest that:

■ There is an even distribution of DevOps titled roles and cross-functional teams across all sized organizations. Across the board, all companies see the need for a specialized DevOps team.

■ Small companies (less than 200 people) do a better job of standardizing on tools than larger companies. The larger you are the less standardized the toolset is.

■ Small companies have 5 to 10 development related tools in use. Midsized companies have up to 20 and large enterprises have over 20 tools.

■ 16 percent of respondents say 75 percent to 100 percent of their tool stack is open source. Mostly smaller organizations with the percentage of open source use decreasing with increased customer size.

Survey Methodology: In February/March, 2016 , IT and business professionals were invited to participate in a survey on the topic of the selection and use of developer tools within organizations. The study surveyed more than 225 respondents from the US, Canada, UK, France and Germany from a range of company sizes across a variety of industry verticals including energy and utilities, financial services, retail, manufacturing and telecommunications.

Dr. Chris Boorman is CMO of Automic Software.

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