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March 4, 2021

Gartner Report: Four Steps to Adopt Open-Source Tools in the DevOps Toolchain

Open Source
Development

Adopting open source software for use in the DevOps toolchain without a sound strategy can present a long list of challenges.

In this blog, we show four components of a successful strategy as outlined by the Gartner Report, "Four Steps to Adopt Open-Source Tools in the DevOps Toolchain." 

Why Use Open Source Software for DevOps?

Using open source software for DevOps can offer significant advantages to companies who want to achieve the full potential of DevOps.

According to Gartner, “OSS tools help organizations lower development and operational costs, enable experimentation and prototyping, and reduce the risk of vendor lock-in. Despite these obvious benefits of open-source tools, their ad hoc adoption without adequate planning leads to a fragmented toolset. Likewise, skills required to manage OSS are niche and in high demand, making it difficult to attract and retain talent.”*

But the advantages of open source software don't come without their own set of operational hurdles.

Gartner writes, “OSS tools are not necessarily backed by a supporting ecosystem, and hence may not be preintegrated with the existing IT portfolio. This puts the onus on IT teams to piece together a toolchain using a maze of disparate tools. Gartner sees an increasing interdependence between tools, which comes with its own risks of interoperability and compatibility issues.”*

So how can companies avoid the challenges of incorporating open source software for DevOps?

Gartner Report: Four Steps to Adopt Open-Source Tools in the Devops Toolchain

In the Gartner Report, "Four Steps to Adopt Open-Source Tools in the DevOps Toolchain," they outline four fundamental steps companies should follow when adopting open source tools for DevOps.

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Step 1: Create an Open-Source Talent Pool by Hiring and Training Individuals in Open-Source Technologies and Behaviors, Such as Community Mindset and Continuous Learning.*

Finding the requisite talent for incorporating open source technologies into the DevOps toolchain presents challenges that all organizations need to overcome. Gartner writes:

“Open-source tools generally need more programming effort in the form of scripting and configuration tasks compared to commercial and proprietary solutions. This is because most open-source tools have their roots in the development community. The guiding philosophy behind OSS has been to develop open and free software that is of the developer, by the developer and for the developer.”*

 

Step 2: Automate OSS Governance by Implementing Software Composition Analysis and Binary Repository Tools*

Open source implementation doesn't end with integration. A successful project requires an ongoing, calculated effort. Gartner writes:

“A scalable DevOps toolchain requires managing it on an ongoing basis. I&O leaders must create a process for continually updating the toolchain. As business needs evolve, the tools need to keep up with changing priorities — both technical and functional.”*

 

Step 3: Determine the Need for Commercial Support by Assessing the Level of Risk and Availability of Internal Skills*

Many companies who rely on community support for open source software integrations find that support lacking. Finding the right support fit is critical. According to Gartner:

“A focus on self-support to lower the TCO can lead to under-managed OSS tools. All too often, organizations underestimate OSS complexity (especially in regards to scripting, integration and upgrades) and overestimate community support (for customization and on-demand requirements). This can be problematic if the tools are mission-critical for the organization and IT has to meet rigid SLAs.”*

 

Step 4: Incorporate the Right Open-Source Tools Into the DevOps Toolchain Based on the Functional Requirements of the Pipeline*

Picking the right open source tool for DevOps is an integral piece of the integration process. Following a well-established and understood approach is key. According to Gartner, there are four requisite steps that must be followed to select open-source tools:*

  • Define the functional requirements of the toolchain to support business objectives. This is important because the value drivers may differ between DevOps initiatives.*
  • For each stage of the DevOps pipeline (plan, create, verify, preproduction, release, configure and monitor), decide the activities to automate or improve.*
  • Analyze features and functionalities of associated tools to assess them on their ability to support the identified activities.*
  • Assess each of the tools against a set of agreed-upon criteria to select the tools for your toolchain.*

 

Read the Full Gartner Report

Get full details on the recommended steps for adopting open source software for DevOps when you download a complimentary copy of the Gartner Report today.

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Additional Resources

External Resource - Perfecto - What Is Test Automation?

*Source: Gartner, Four Steps to Adopt Open-Source Software as Part of Your Test Automation Stack, 16 December 2020, Thomas Murphy, Joachim Herschmann, Jim Scheibmeir

**General Disclaimer: This graphic was published by Gartner, Inc. as part of a larger research document and should be evaluated in the context of the entire document. The Gartner document is available upon request from OpenLogic.

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