After releasing “The Forrester Wave™: Continuous Delivery And Release Automation, Q2 2020” earlier this month, it’s a good time to pause and reflect on (in the immortal words of the Grateful Dead) “what a long, strange trip it’s been.”

We’re about 10 years into the DevOps journey. Industry progress is clear. IT and digital organizations are rising to their historic occasion. The days of “IT as corporate joke” are ending. Digital practitioners are increasingly taking their seats at the table as valued and valuable contributors to business outcomes. And digital transformation requires Agile and DevOps.

Waterfall practices, snowflake release pipelines — both are fading. We have a general industry consensus on what the architecture of the release pipeline should look like: source, build/integrate, package, and automated release, supported by “as-code” discipline for infrastructure and the pipeline itself. We didn’t have this 10 years ago. The future is becoming more evenly distributed. As I’ll be reporting shortly, we also (finally) have evidence that release speeds are increasing worldwide.

So what did we see this year, especially that was new and different?

  • Market consolidation involving top-tier players: CloudBees acquiring Electric Cloud and XebiaLabs merging with CollabNet to form are two examples.
  • Increasing application of advanced analytics and machine learning: Release-readiness algorithms continue to evolve.
  • Increasing emphasis on cloud-native delivery (i.e., container-based), with two new players: Armory and Harness are two vendors that are focusing here.

Chris Condo and I have been tasked with reenvisioning our coverage of this general area. We have a lot of work ahead of us. Generally, we see a trend toward platform consolidation and clear interest in more integrated solutions. The past 10 years have been a period of great experimentation and innovation. Such periods do not last forever. Consolidation, standardization, and commodification inevitably follow. Security concerns are one major driver for enterprises to limit and rationalize continuous delivery and release automation tooling. These are “control plane” tools and far too powerful to permit ungoverned proliferation.

I want to thank the vendors for their participation. Forrester Wave evaluations are a lot of work. They’re also competitive, and there were a number of credible players we were unable to include. Everyone included has their strengths and weaknesses. Any of them may be a good fit for your organization. They all deserve your consideration.

As usual, the Wave will be paywalled on the Forrester official site but available for a time via various vendors licensing it. Those offers are not permanent, so if you want a free copy, keep your eye open and download it when you get the chance.