Survey Shows Mounting DevOps Frustration and Costs

Content By Devops .com

A survey of 400 developers and DevOps team members in the U.S. and Europe found, on average, 15 hours a week are being spent managing tasks such as debugging pipelines and waiting for tests and builds to complete.

Conducted by the market research firm Vanson Bourne on behalf of Garden, a provider of a platform for automating application development and deployment tasks in Kubernetes environments, the survey finds more than three quarters of respondents (76%) said the time spent on these and other manual DevOps tasks is generally being wasted.

Garden CEO Jon Edvald said, all told, 39% of a 40-hour work week is typically devoted these tasks. When the number of developers and DevOps specialists that are employed today are factored into that equation along with their salaries, as much as $61 billion is being wasted on these tasks in the U.S. alone, he noted.

The top sources of DevOps frustration cited by survey respondents are waiting for pipelines to run (76%), waiting for builds and tests (74%) and setting up, maintaining and debugging pipelines/automation (71%). In fact, only 11% of all respondents are completely happy with their development setups and workflows.

Those hidden costs may even increase as organizations bring on additional DevOps expertise. A full 83% of respondents said their organizations are planning to hire more staff or increase their use of freelancers/outsourcing into DevOps roles in 2021. Three quarters (75%) said DevOps budgets have increased or will increase compared to 2020.

In addition, the adoption of more complex platforms, such as Kubernetes, may also conspire to increase costs, noted Edvald. Respondents at organizations not yet using Kubernetes spend an average of 14.3 hours per week on low-level DevOps tasks, as compared to 16.5 hours a week for those who are already using Kubernetes. Nearly two-thirds of respondents (62%) said their organizations are already using Kubernetes, while 31% are currently evaluating it, to varying degrees. A full 95% of respondents using Kubernetes have faced challenges after rolling it out, including training and onboarding (37%) or complexity of setup/configuration (35%).

Of course, not all the time that might be saved is going to be applied to tasks that increase overall productivity; nearly half of respondents (49%) said if they had it, they would spend more time developing new products and services.

Specifically, 46% said they would improve speed and delivery of existing products and services, while 44% said they would focus on improving security for existing products and services.

Edvald said the survey makes it clear there’s still plenty of opportunity to automate repetitive DevOps tasks. Organizations are spending too much time on the care and feeding of DevOps platforms that takes time away from building and deploying applications, noted Edvald.

Less clear is when organizations will reach some type of DevOps breaking point. Garden is betting that the transition to cloud-native applications based on microservices will eventually force the DevOps automation issue. However, in organizations that only know the DevOps processes they have used for years, change may be a long time in coming.

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