GitLab Adds Fourth DORA Metric API to CI/CD Platform

The latest update to GitLab’s namesake continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) platform has added support for the application programming interface (API) for measuring change failure rates. This addition supports the fourth metric as defined in the DevOps Research and Assessment (DORA) framework.

Version 14.10 of GitLab also expands the GitLab Runner Operator for Kubernetes to any distribution of the open source platform in addition to making it possible to manually trigger incident responses when needed.

Finally, a compliance report that surfaces every individual merge request violation has been added along with a tool for setting up streaming audit events.

Brendan O’Leary, staff developer evangelist for GitLab, said that as DevOps processes continue to mature, DORA metrics make it simple for IT leaders to measure overall progress. While it’s not likely that any single set of DevOps practices will be universally implemented across an entire enterprise, O’Leary noted it’s important for DevOps teams to keep track of key performance indicators (KPIs) that enable teams to identify areas for ongoing improvement. For example, it’s not uncommon for technical debt to accumulate in the absence of metrics that track the progress of builds, he added.

In general, a transition to microservices-based applications is increasing the need for CI/CD platforms that make it simpler to build them. Each of these applications is constructed using microservices that are typically built independently of one another. The challenge is that each microservice has dependencies on other microservices, so the need for DevOps workflows to optimally manage that development process is becoming more widespread, noted O’Leary.

In some cases, organizations are deploying a CI/CD platform for the first time to build these applications. In other cases, they are looking to replace a CI/CD platform that was adopted to build legacy monolithic applications. Regardless of the type of application, there is a need to continuously refine and improve software engineering practices to increase developer productivity.

It’s not clear to what degree developers are voting with their feet to work for one organization versus another based on the overall quality of developer experience. Organizations that do have a consistent approach to software engineering, however, make it easier for developers to spend more time writing code rather than managing the build process. The challenge is to make sure the DevOps platform itself does not become a bottleneck that hinders the rate at which developers can build code. It’s also not clear whether organizations are building applications faster than they can secure it and ensure overall quality. The only way to know for sure is, of course, to track metrics.

Naturally, not every developer is a fan of metrics. Application development is still as much art as it is science. There is, however, a general appreciation that the amount of code that needs to be written far exceeds the available talent to write it; any effort to make software engineering more efficient everyone benefits involved. As such, given all the code that needs to be written, a software engineer is often today the best friend a developer can have.

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