What the increasing venture capital investment in devops means

In the end, money is talking in the debate over the phrase -- more investors and VCs are voting for devops with their dollars

What the increasing venture capital investment in devops means

Software development and deployment might not be separate functions for much longer.

Datadog, a systems monitoring company that will compete with New Relic, stated in January 2016 that it has raised more than $94 million. JFrog, which wants to automate the continuous delivery pipeline, recently raised $50 million. Puppet Labs, which states that it can automate the entire software delivery procedure, has secured $20 million in credit.

What do these three companies -- and others -- have in common? They are riding the wave of popularity of devops, a transformation in culture and processes that is redefining how developers and operations teams collaborate to improve development and deployment practices.

To understand devops, it's important first to know the world in which the term is being used.

waterfall versus agile

The software industry has traditionally used the waterfall method, which separates and executes the parts of software development and deployment in a linear, step-by-step process of analyzing, planning, designing, building, testing, and then deploying.

In recent years, many IT executives began to adopt what has become known as the agile method of delivery. Between the planning and deploying phases, agile implements testing earlier in the process so that developers can fix bugs and errors while they are building the software before it is released.

Devops, which was first coined by independent IT consultant Patrick Debois at the first DevopsDays conference in Ghent, Belgium in 2009, is often described as the next generation of agile.

"Devops" is a shortened version of "development and operations" and emerged as a result of two important trends, according to The Agile Admin, a blog that is collectively written by system administrators and developers Ernest Mueller, James Wickett, Karthik Gaekwad, and Peco Karayanev.

"The first was also called 'agile system administration' or 'agile operations'; it sprang from applying newer Agile and Lean approaches to operations work," they write on the blog. "The second is a much expanded understanding of the value of collaboration between development and operations staff throughout all stages of the development lifecycle when creating and operating a service, and how important operations has become in our increasingly service-oriented world."

Some, however, are skeptical of the whole devops movement. In March 2015, developer Josh Johnson wrote a screed against the use of the term. His blog post received seventy one comments -- and the resulting Hacker News thread got 269 points and 163 comments (as of this writing).

Still, the fact that many other companies in addition to Datadog, JFrog, and Puppet Labs are associating themselves with the devops movement is proof of its success and that the skeptics are misguided.

Sendachi has received $30 million in funding for its devops consultancy. Big Panda has raised $16 million to expand its alert correlation platform.

(Disclosure: I am the cofounder and CEO of Logz.io, which announced our own $6.8 million Series A for our cloud-based predictive log management platform for devops engineers in October 2015.)

The funding that is pouring into the devops world is a sign of the growth and maturity of the market. A couple of years ago, "devops" was a buzzword used only in startups. Today, investors and VCs see the opportunity in helping enterprise companies to adopt devops methodologies and use the platforms and tools that they now require.

Simply put, the investments are satisfying an existing and growing demand.

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.