With 2019 only a few weeks away, experts in basically every industry have been reading the tea leaves to predict what the future holds in store.

DevOps is no different and also deserves a few predictions. So I have taken the liberty of doing a bit of research to find out where DevOps is going in 2019.

My predictions are not revolutionary. At the end of the day, DevOps follows a well-trodden path of continuous improvement, which basically comes down to the collaboration of tech teams reinforced with technology under the sauce of faster, higher-quality innovation delivery aimed at satisfying customers.

With that said, in 2019 DevOps will most likely keep evolving of what we saw in 2018: Automation, Agile, DevSecOps, Serverless, Big Data, Docker & Kubernetes.

However, the focus will change a bit. Here are the five most important DevOps trends you should be following in 2019.

1. Automation

Automation is the bread and butter of DevOps. And this will not change much in the foreseeable future.

Just consider a few benefits of DevOps automation:

  • More lean and agile IT-organizations
  • Repeatable and reliable processes
  • Reduced manual handoffs and overwork
  • Faster fixes and improved operational support
  • Enabled, smooth and slick feedback loops
  • Fast and cost-efficient innovation delivery
  • Increased customer satisfaction rates

Among other things, automation allows to significantly improve QA in your IT-organization. To begin with, it ensures that you can safely walk away from manual testing. Then, it allows you to save a ton of resources, since you no longer need to hire manual testers. And finally, it eliminates human error, which increases the efficiency of your team.

Automation is a requirement for an application’s seamless migration and performance in the cloud. Basically, you have to automate the infrastructure so that it can be versioned and treated as code.

That being said, DevOps automation (i.e. automated provisioning and lifecycle operations) is mostly synonymous with DevOps, and it will certainly not become less relevant in 2019.

2. Serverless

Serverless computing is no longer something abstract; it already changes the way how applications are being developed, tested, and operated.

What Serverless does is, it allows IT-organizations to cost-efficiently run and scale workloads in the cloud. They can focus on building their apps while the servers (and the entire compute stack) are provisioned and managed by the cloud provider.

Serverless addresses such areas of IT work as infrastructure provisioning, infrastructure setup & configuration, code deployments (i.e. continuous deployment), testing, and security in a way that instills DevOps into the organization’s practices by default. (You generally cannot practice Serverless without DevOps.)

This creates a fertile environment for Function as a Service (FaaS), a computing model that challenges and encourages IT teams to change.

As a side benefit, Serverless allows organizations to pay for what they use, meaning that they pay for specific function invocations rather than paying for keeping the servers up all the time. It is the enabler of business agility: reduced costs, rapid innovation delivery, operational stability, and continuous improvement.

Serverless will remain one of the key DevOps trends for years to come — just consider that AWS banks on Serverless, too.

3. Everything as Code

Everything as Code is the future of the IT industry in general and of DevOps in particular.

Since DevOps is all about automation, repeatability, fewer failure fixes, and faster delivery pipelines, it badly needs to bring code that can be easily versioned, shared, reused, and enhanced into the picture.

Basically, what Everything as Code does is, it brings all the benefits of code’s flexibility (i.e. auditability, traceability, repeatability, reuse) to the SDLC so that you could manage multiple variants of software as it is built, tested, deployed, and released.

Everything as Code allows teams to collaborate more efficiently and to increase transparency. It enables the pure form of DevOps. No wonder that Everything as Code approach is used in networks, infrastructure (e.g. Chef, Puppet, Ansible), and environments (e.g. Docker, Kubernetes), and tests.

Given that it is safe to assume that Everything as Code will be a prevalent DevOps trend in 2019 and beyond.

4. Self-Healing Infrastructure

Self-healing infrastructure, the one that operates with self-healing processes in place to automatically find and solve occurring issues, is the logical next step to enable more efficient continuous software delivery.

Self-healing can also be considered automation on steroids. It allows to cut manual processes out of the picture and enables IT-organizations to reduce the amount of errors, streamline operations, and scale with no limit attached. Downtime can be considerably reduced and, ideally, totally eliminated.

The cloud brings additional benefits to the table (e.g. automation and autoscaling):

  • It helps build the infrastructure with zero deployment downtime
  • It allows to automatically scale up or down based on specified criteria
  • It supports the entire system by adding up new resources or switching off “bugged” areas if anything goes wrong

Docker and Kubernetes have facilitated self-maintaining processes as well. The two have revolutionized the way how we treat software and have enabled instant scaling. Today, not only can you easily pack your apps into cloud-agnostic containers, but also automatically restore all the data from these containers if any issues arise.

Self-healing infrastructure is a nice-to-have in 2018, but it will definitely become a must-have in 2019.

5. Machine Learning & Big Data

DevOps and Machine Learning (along with Big Data) have an interdependent relationship, which will only strengthen in 2019.

On the one hand, DevOps generates tons of data that is an important source of insights about a team’s performance, provided Machine Learning and Big Data practices are applied. Though adding an ML layer on top of your DevOps can be costly, it will help you quickly and easily assess the pros and cons of your DevOps approach.

On the other, ML, Big Data, and Artificial Intelligence are already the next-big-thing in business. The problem is, you cannot efficiently collect, analyze, and manage data without DevOps in place. Simply put, huge swaths of data cannot be dealt with efficiently unless it is done in a continuous, self-healing manner.

The popularity of ML & Big Data will definitely create demand for those IT providers who have mastered instilling both DevOps and ML practices into business operations.

Bonus Trend: What About SysAdmins?

In 2019, DevOps is likely to remain one of the hottest technology jobs, and more SysAdmins will be lured in to become DevOps.

The trend has the potential to negatively impact both DevOps and SysAdmins.

DevOps is a separate culture that presumes a product- and user-oriented mentality, which SysAdmins generally do not have. They are not interested in faster deployments, but think in terms of infrastructure. On top of that, they are not that good at cloud and do not know much about the SDLC.

What they are good at, though, is infrastructure. IT-organizations and DevOps teams badly need individuals with SysAdmin skills to build well-architected solutions. Their talents should not be wasted.

The transition from a SysAdmin to a DevOps role is very much possible, but the risks are high: businesses lose highly-trained professionals who can resolve a lot of issues; SysAdmins update their profiles on LinkedIn, but remain devoted SysAdmin folks at heart.

In other words, DevOps will continue to cut into other tech roles in 2019, and SysAdmins are most likely to become its first prey.

Conclusion

DevOps is an ever-changing software development methodology. Nobody knows what will actually happen in DevOps and what DevOps trends will be prevalent in 2019.

However, it is kind of a safe bet to predict that Automation, Serverless, Everything as Code, Self-Healing Infrastructure, and ML & Big Data will be a thing.

What do you think? Have I missed any important DevOps trends? Do not hesitate to share feedback in the comment’s section!

Yevhen Duma

Senior DevOps Consultant at SQUADEX

Yevhen has more than ten years of professional IT experience, developing and delivering consumer and enterprise applications, infrastructure and process improvement projects for various scale businesses. His experience at all software development stages allows for better understanding of business needs and improved processes by utilizing established DevOps tools backed by the best Agile practices.

His area of expertise includes software development lifecycle, version control, CI/CD, Atlassian JIRA, Service Desk, Confluence, Bitbucket, Slack, Flowdock, as well as virtualization, cloud platforms, and their automation.