DevOps in 2024: Looking Back and Ahead
26 January 2024
- There was more awareness for DevOps & security in 2023, but test-driven development still has a way to go.
- New legislation such as the NIS2 directive could lead to an increased interest in automation and transparency during the development process.
- The main shift in the AI landscape will be from standalone tools to integrated solutions that work directly in IDEs and don’t interrupt workflows
Another year, another chance for us to take a step back and look at the past 12 months in DevOps. We previously formulated our 2022 predictions for CEOs and CTOs, and in 2023, we talked about tech trends and a tendency towards automation and specialisation. Trends don’t just stop when a new year starts, so in this blog, we’ll see how they stack up one year later, and what we can look forward to in 2024.
How Did DevOps Evolve in 2023?
First off, we’ve noticed a general increase in awareness. More than ever, our clients realise that they need help, and they are faster to ask for it. However, Kilian explains that they still have a ways to go when it comes to finding the right tools.
In last year’s blog, we also mentioned two key areas for improvement and possible roadblocks in the development process: testing and security. When it comes to security, there is a noticeable evolution. Security vendors are increasingly interested in cooperating with DevOps teams. Our clients are also more concerned with security because of more hacking incidents appearing in the news, including in Belgium.
On the testing side, there is an intention to test more and incorporate it into the DevOps process, but there is also a lot of room for improvement. Testing is often the first victim of budget cuts, and this hasn’t changed. As Kilian puts it: “We’d like to see companies pivot to test-driven development, so testing teams can focus on integration testing.” AI-based automated testing tools pose a possible solution, but it remains to be seen if they will reach the required maturity in 2024.
At the start of 2023, we also talked about the “shift left” trend and the increasing popularity of so-called platform teams instead of infrastructure teams. We’ve since dedicated a separate blog to shift left and how companies tend to misinterpret it, and it continues to be an interesting topic. Kilian points out that we have gotten more requests related to platform teams, which can be a solid first step, but our customers should dare to think further.
What’s in Store for DevOps in 2024?
Besides the gradual evolutions when it comes to awareness, tooling, testing, security and team composition, we see two factors that may shake up DevOps more fundamentally in 2024.
The first of these is new legislation such as the EU Data Act and the NIS2 directive. These will require companies to present the source of their pipeline’s code in a SBOM (Software Bill of Materials) during audits. We predict that this will lead to an increased interest in automation and transparency during the development process, which DevOps can help to achieve.
The second factor will not surprise anyone who has been paying attention to technology in 2023: artificial intelligence. Kilian points out that there are several ways in which AI has helped and will continue to help DevOps engineers:
- General conversational AI tools like ChatGPT can help developers generate documentation and fulfill a wide variety of tasks related to working in projects, such as drafting emails.
- Coding assistants like GitHub Copilot, Google’s Codey APIs, and Amazon CodeWhisperer are purpose-built tools that can function as virtual pair programmers.
- Language-specific tools like watsonx Code Assistant for Red Hat Ansible Lightspeed promise even higher-quality results for DevOps-related use cases like automation.
Whether it’s monitoring, scripting, documentation, or something else, there’s bound to be an AI tool for (almost) every aspect of DevOps. In general, we think the main shift will be from standalone tools to integrated solutions that work directly in IDEs and don’t interrupt workflows. It goes without saying, but we’ll have to stay vigilant about responsible usage. AI tools are an efficiency booster, not a skill booster: if you’re not knowledgeable enough to verify its output in a certain technology, it’s better left unused.
2023 was certainly an interesting year for DevOps. As we predicted, it was more of an evolution than a revolution, with increased awareness for security, shift left, and platform teams. However, testing still hasn’t quite gotten the attention it deserves, and test-driven development isn’t as widespread as we would’ve hoped. We also saw the rise of (generative) AI and many related tools and solutions.
In 2024, new legislation and artificial intelligence promise to shake things up a bit more. It’s difficult to predict which direction we will head in, but more specialised and integrated tools promise to offer significant benefits for developers and DevOps engineers. We’re excited to see what’s in store!
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