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Selecting DevOps Tools – Sweet Mix or Suite Vendor?

The DevOps tool market continues to shift as new startups enter the market with targeted offerings and existing players expand their DevOps suite of tools. One mistake we see companies make is buying one or two “DevOps” tools or changing a couple of processes, then getting frustrated when they do not see the results they expected. Our advice is to “go all-in” on the DevOps transformation. This doesn’t mean that you will try to change every process, tool, and team at once. Instead, it means that you will plan for and invest in your people and as many DevOps principles, practices, and tools as you can without losing sight of your destination. As you plan out that transformation, one decision you’ll make is whether to choose standalone tools or tool “suites.” To help you decide, we’ve explained the two approaches below. Approach 1: Select the best (standalone) tool for each task In this approach, companies select specific tools for each task in the software development lifecycle. Standalone tool vendors have the pinpoint focus to solve problems in innovative ways. Each tool you choose may be the absolute best at a particular task or activity, but that does not mean it will integrate with the rest of your tools easily.

When to choose this approach:

  1. Small companies with limited budgets that will see improvements from streamlining a specific DevOps activity might choose one tool for now. However, we recommend mapping out your future needs to understand how future tools will fit into your environment. This will help you avoid investing precious time, money, and training into a short-term solution that you plan to replace.
  2. Organizations with the resources (in-house or hire experts like ReleaseTEAM) to integrate best-of-breed tools from different vendors to ensure a seamless environment.
Approach 2: Select a vendor with a suite of integrations The second approach selects a vendor who has built up a suite of products with reliable capabilities that encompass as much of the software development, test, and release process as possible. The tool vendor has taken on the burden of creating integrations and compatibility across their products, freeing up your developers to focus on your core products.

Choose a tool suite when:

  1. Your organization already uses several tools from the same vendor or foresees a need to adopt complementary products as your business scales
  2. You want the assurance of compatibility across products
  3. You want to simplify tool evaluation, procurement, and billing
Food for Thought Acquisitions can provide both opportunities and challenges. The primary advantages of tool acquisition include a deeper integration with other tools that you may already be using (or want to use!), continued investment by a larger company’s research, development, and marketing resources, and streamlined procurement across the parent company’s products. One disadvantage of tool acquisition is when that tool is acquired by a company that you did not want to use. For example, when Microsoft acquired GitHub, developers were worried about how the tech giant would use the product and developer data. Another possible outcome from tool acquisition is when the developers and leadership leave (or are RIF’d) after an acquisition, causing uncertainty about the product’s roadmap and future. Below we have listed just a small sample of acquisitions that have occurred over the past three years. Notable acquisitions:
  • Slack by SalesForce, Dec 2020
  • Chef by Progress Software September 2020
  • DeepCode by Snyk, Sept 2020
  • Peach Tech and Fuzzit by GitLab, June 2020
  • Halp by Atlassian, May 2020 – Integrated Help Desk tickets in Slack
  • AgileCraft by Atlassian, March 2019 and rebranded as Jira Align
  • CodeBarrel by Atlassian, October 2019 (“Automation for Jira” app)
  • Docker Enterprise by Mirantis, Nov 2019
  • SignalFX by Splunk, August 2019
  • Rollout and Electric Cloud by CloudBees, 2019
  • Shippable by JFrog, Feb 2019
  • Travis CI by Idera, January 2019
  • GitHub by Microsoft, October 2018
  • OpsGenie by Atlassian, October 2018 and announces Jira Ops
  • Trello by Atlassian (2017)
What do you think? Are the parent companies above set to become the de facto leaders in the DevOps tool spaces after these acquisitions? Let us know your thoughts (Twitter: @releaseteam).

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