Continuous Delivery Challenge Looms Large in 2022

As 2022 kicks off, it’s clear that the key DevOps challenge organizations they will face are mastering best practices that enable continuous delivery.

A global survey of over 19,000 software development professionals conducted by the Continuous Delivery (CD) Foundation found that 44% of respondents use either continuous integration or deployment. However, less than one in five (18%) uses both processes to automate the entire software delivery lifecycle. The survey found that Continuous Integration is currently the most popular DevOps related activity (32%) followed by Continuous Deployment at 29%.

The survey also found that only 14% of respondents said, on average, that they could go from a check-in code to successfully running that code in production in a day. Only 10% said they routinely publish code for production every day. Nearly a third of respondents said they still approved manually publishing code for production.

CD Foundation CEO Tracy Miranda said there is clearly a need for a better understanding of continuous delivery as a distinct system for DevOps that stands apart from continuous integrations. While the two DevOps practices are complementary to each other, they indicated that continuous delivery requires a level of engineering expertise that many developers lack or are not interested in acquiring.

In fact, the survey found that more than a quarter of respondents (26%) do not participate in DevOps-related activities at all. At the same time, the survey revealed that 80% of respondents who work for companies with two or more employees participate in DevOps to some degree. Nearly 60% of enterprise developers surveyed use a continuous integration/delivery (CI/CD) platform, versus 48% of developers working for small businesses and 42% of contractors. However, it is clear from the survey results that much of this activity is focused on continuous integration rather than continuous delivery.

The survey, for example, revealed that less than a quarter of respondents (23%) are involved in the provision and management of infrastructure at all. This compares to nearly a third (32%) who are involved in monitoring applications and infrastructure. Only 20% are involved in creating automated tests, and collectively, the survey results show that there is still a long way to go in terms of transferring responsibility for DevOps practices to developers.

One reason continuous delivery is so difficult is that automating deployments across platforms has never been so easy. Each platform tends to be so customized that it is difficult to automate application deployments. In fact, each platform is its own unique type of “snowflake”.

However, with more attention focused on the integrity of software supply chains in the wake of a series of high-profile breaches, Miranda noted that software delivery automation will play a key role in achieving automation goals by reducing the need to rely on manual processes that are more easily compromised.

At the same time, more organizations are starting to adopt Kubernetes clusters — this could streamline software delivery automation across a range of platforms that all share a common Application Programming Interface (API), she noted.

Miranda added that the increasing complexity of application development projects, along with the increasing reliance on software to drive digital business transformation initiatives, will also accelerate the adoption of continuous delivery best practices.

One way or another, application deployment in 2022 is shaping up to be more automated than it has been in previous years. The only thing that remains to be determined now is the degree to which this goal can be achieved.

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