sodor history

What Is the History of DevOps?

DevOps began somewhere around 2007 to 2008. But at Puppet, we started our DevOps research back when few people had even heard the term. Since launching our first DevOps survey, we’ve learned a lot about the power of DevOps to transform organizations from the almost-40,000 people who’ve answered our survey questions (thank you!).

In this resource, we recap the essential history of DevOps through the years through our State of DevOps reports. 



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The 2024 State of DevOps: The Evolution of Platform Engineering is now live! Download the free report using the link below.

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Archive of Past DevOps Reports

Access any report from Puppet's State of DevOps reports archive. 

2023 State of DevOps Report: Platform Engineering Edition

The 2023 State of DevOps report explored the growing impact of Platform Engineering. An overwhelming 93% of survey respondents reported that Platform Engineering is a “step in the right direction,” but we wanted to dive in further to this unique and evolving trend.  

The 2023 report included insights like:  

  • What makes platform engineering the key to DevOps success at scale
  • Why platform engineering is on the rise  
  • How platform engineering benefits the entire organization – when done well  
  • The effect of under-investing in product management skills on platform teams

Platform engineering can enable benefits that stretch across an organization. Don’t miss the 2023 report to better understand how DevOps works alongside, not against, platform engineering to deliver results.  


2021 DevOps Salary Report

The 2021 DevOps Salary Report is intended to help practitioners and hiring managers get a high-level grasp on the latest salary trends in the global DevOps industry.

Key findings from this year’s report include:

  • While the US remains the leader when it comes to paying the highest salaries, this trend may be changing.
  • More women are entering the highest income brackets across roles, industries, and regions.
  • The salary gap between male and female practitioners is closing within the higher income brackets.
  • Companies at a high level of DevOps evolution continue to compensate their employees at the highest level, with practitioner salaries doubling and manager salaries nearly tripling from 2020 to 2021.
  • More software developers/engineers and DevOps engineers are in the higher income brackets in 2021 than in 2020 and 2019.
  • For the first time, practitioners in consulting roles notably had the highest percentage of those earning more than $125,000.

Read the free report to find out how your salary compares to your peers by region, role, gender, company revenue, and more.

Get the 2021 Salary Report

State of DevOps Report

Download the report to learn:

  • What keeps teams stuck in the middle of their DevOps evolution
  • Whether automation and cloud translate to DevOps success
  • Why top-down enablement of bottom-up transformation is crucial
  • The importance of team identities and clear interaction paradigms
  • How a platform team can scale the benefits of DevOps practices
  • The way highly successful DevOps firms approach security

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This year, we also looked at how salaries vary according to a company’s level of DevOps practice or evolution. It’s no surprise that survey respondents working at companies with well-developed DevOps practices also report higher salaries. To attract the aforementioned highly skilled, adaptable people who can execute on digital innovation, many companies actively publicize their DevOps values and cultures.

Key findings from this year’s DevOps Salary Report include:

  • Companies at a high level of DevOps evolution compensate their employees at the highest level, with managers making more than practitioners.
  • Salaries rose worldwide in 2020, most steeply for upper-income respondents in Japan and the United Kingdom.
  • Employees working in life sciences, pharmaceuticals and healthcare were the top earners worldwide, while in most years, financial services and technology lead the pack.
  • Technology workers in the United States make more money than anywhere else in the world.
  • More women than men earn mid-range salaries, but more men than women earn top salaries.
  • Companies with the highest revenue generally pay the most.
  • The best-paid job title amongst practitioners was platform engineer.
  • Engineering managers earn more than IT managers or information security managers, by a wide margin.

Access the 2020 Salary Report

2020 State of DevOps Report

Download this year’s report to learn:

  • How an internal platform can help you scale DevOps practices
  • The importance of having a product mindset as you build your platform
  • How self-service capabilities evolve as DevOps practices evolve
  • Four approaches to change management based on approval processes, automated testing and deployment and risk mitigation techniques
  • How to achieve more effective and efficient change management
  • Top challenges to automating the change management process

Access the 2020 Report

2019 State of DevOps Report

On some level, we all know that integrating security into the software delivery lifecycle is important. But does it improve business outcomes? And how do successful organizations fully integrate security?

Thanks to the nearly 3,000 people who took the 2019 State of DevOps survey, we have answers.

In the 2019 State of DevOps Report, you’ll learn:

  • Which DevOps practices are most important for improving your security posture.
  • How security integration affects everything from your ability to deploy on demand to the time it takes to remediate vulnerabilities.
  • What to expect as you integrate security into the software delivery lifecycle. (Hint: It’s not all sunshine and rainbows.)

Access the 2019 Report

Thanks to Michael Stahnke of CircleCI and Andi Mann of Splunk for authoring the report with us, and to Anitian, F5 and ServiceNow for sponsoring it.

2018 State of DevOps Report

The State of DevOps Report is the longest standing, most widely referenced and largest body of DevOps research on the planet.

The 2018 report provides prescriptive guidance to help you get to the next stage in your evolution, no matter where you’re at today. We’ve analyzed responses from over 3,000 technical professionals from around the world to reveal the five stages of DevOps evolution. We already know why DevOps matters. The 2018 State of DevOps Report provides the “how” to help you get started or unstuck, and scale DevOps success across your business.

In the 2018 State of DevOps Report, you’ll learn:

  • What stage you’re in on your DevOps journey — from building the foundation to providing self-service capabilities
  • How you can get to the next stage faster and more effectively
  • Which practices are mission-critical to reaching the highest levels of DevOps evolution

Access the 2018 Report

Thanks to Andi Mann from Splunk for authoring the 2018 State of DevOps Report with us, and to AWS, Cloudability, Cognizant, CyberArk, Diaxion, Eficode and Splunk for sponsoring it.

2017 State of DevOps Report

Over the past six years and more than 27,000 State of DevOps survey responses, we’ve found clear evidence that DevOps practices yield remarkable results for IT teams and organizations.

This year we also discovered new findings about transformational leadership, automation practices, continuous delivery, lean product management, and DevOps in not-for-profits and organizations that use off-the-shelf software.

Here are a few things you’ll learn in this year’s report:

  • How DevOps practices affect deployment frequency, lead time, change failure rate and MTTR
  • The influence leadership has on DevOps transformations
  • How high- and low-performing teams automate differently
  • The impact of architecture and team structure on IT performance
  • How DevOps helps organizations reach both their financial and non-financial goals

Access the 2017 Report

Thank you to the 2017 State of DevOps Report authors Dr. Nicole Forsgren, Gene Kim, Jez Humble, Alanna Brown and Nigel Kersten and sponsors Amazon Web Services, Atlassian, Deloitte, Electric Cloud, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Splunk, and Wavefront.

2016 State of DevOps Report

Over the last five years, we’ve surveyed more than 25,000 technical professionals worldwide to better understand how DevOps practices impact IT and organizational performance.

We’ve looked closely at lean management practices, application architecture, the role of IT managers in a DevOps transformation, diversity, deployment pain and burnout.

And we’ve confirmed that there’s a lot more to IT performance than technical practices; organizations need to invest just as much in their people as they do in their technology.

This year, we look at the role of experimentation, how to integrate security into DevOps, the ROI of DevOps and more.

Key findings:

  • High-performing organizations decisively outperform their lower-performing peers. They deploy 200 times more frequently, with 2,555 times faster lead times, recover 24 times faster, and have three times lower change failure rates.

  • High performers have better employee loyalty, as measured by employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS).

  • High-performing organizations spend 22 percent less time on unplanned work and rework. They are able to spend 29 percent more time on new work, such as new features or code.

  • Taking an experimental approach to product development can improve performance. 

  • Undertaking a technology transformation initiative can produce sizeable returns for any organization.Using key metrics, we’ve provided formulas to help you quantify potential cost savings.

Access the 2016 Report

2015 State of DevOps Report

Embrace DevOps, or get left behind.

Over the past four years, the Puppet Labs State of DevOps Report has shed more light on DevOps, IT performance and organizational performance than any other research of its kind — based on responses from over 20,000 tech professionals worldwide.

Findings from the 2015 State of DevOps Report:

  • High-performing IT organizations experience 60X fewer failures and recover from failure 168X faster than their lower-performing peers. They also deploy 30X more frequently with 200X shorter lead times.
  • Lean management and continuous delivery practices create the conditions for delivering value faster, sustainably.
  • High performance is achievable no matter if your apps are greenfield, brownfield or legacy.
  • DevOps initiatives launched solely by C-level executives or from the grassroots are less likely to succeed.
  • IT managers play a critical role in promoting diversity and limiting burnout.

Access the 2015 Report

2014 State of DevOps Report

Better IT = Better Business

The third annual DevOps survey by Puppet Labs, IT Revolution Press and ThoughtWorks garnered more than 9,200 responses from technical professionals around the world, making this the largest and most comprehensive DevOps survey to date.

Key Findings:

  • Companies with high-performing IT organizations are twice as likely to exceed their profitability, market share and productivity goals.
  • IT performance improves with DevOps maturity, and strongly correlates with well-known DevOps practices.
  • Culture matters. The cultural practices of DevOps are predictive of organizational performance.
  • Job satisfaction is the No. 1 predictor of performance against organizational goals.

Access the 2014 Report

2013 State of DevOps Report

Key Findings:

  • DevOps adoption is accelerating. Sixty-three percent of respondents have implemented DevOps practices, compared to 50 percent in 2011—a 26 percent increase in DevOps adoption rate.
  • DevOps offers increased agility and reliability. Respondents from organizations that had implemented DevOps reported benefits in staggering numbers: More frequent software releases and improved software deployment quality were both reported by 63 percent. Beyond directly reporting benefits, these respondents were five times more likely to be part of a high-performing organization.
  • High-performing organizations enabled by DevOps deploy code 30 times more frequently than their peers. These organizations are deploying several times a day instead of once a month, and completing those deployments 8,000 times faster.
  • High-performing organizations enabled by DevOps have 50 percent fewer failures. Respondents from these organizations reported double the change success rate of their peers, and reported restoring service 12 times faster.
  • Demand for DevOps skills continues to grow. Job listings for "DevOps" are up by 75 percent, and those hiring for DevOps positions are primarily looking for coding/scripting abilities and people skills.

Access the 2013 Report

A Brief History of the State of DevOps Reports

by Nigel Kersten

2021 marked the 10-year anniversary of our industry-defining State of DevOps research. You’d think after 10 years that there wouldn’t be much more to say about DevOps, but practices and technologies continue to evolve, the best keep getting better, and we keep unearthing new topics to research.

We’ve been lucky to collaborate with some of the best thinkers in the DevOps space. When we started this project in 2011, there were no vendors doing independent, vendor-agnostic research of this magnitude. Alanna Brown deserves all of the credit for the idea of creating a survey and report to investigate the state and actual impact of this burgeoning movement, and this space wouldn’t be the same without her advocacy and insight. Apart from myself, she also enlisted the incredibly prolific and erudite James Turnbull, a critical contributor to the early days of Puppet.

In 2012, we reached out to Gene Kim who had been a supporter and friend of Puppet since the early days. We knew he was about to publish his groundbreaking novel on IT and DevOps, The Phoenix Project, and couldn’t think of a better person to collaborate with. Gene brought in Jez Humble, the guy who literally wrote the book on Continuous Delivery in 2010 (2010!). Over 4,000 technical professionals completed our 2012 survey — an unheard of response rate for any IT survey at the time. We launched our first State of DevOps report together in 2013 and the appetite for the data blew us away.

In 2013 we had a chance encounter at LISA (Large Installation System Administration Conference) with an academic researcher who specialized in IT impacts. Dr. Nicole Forsgren joined our scrappy little team and took the research to another level. We produced the 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 State of DevOps reports together.

By that time, Nicole, Jez and Gene had formed DORA (DevOps Research and Assessment) and wrote Accelerate: The Science of Lean Software and DevOps: Building and Scaling High Performing Technology Organizations based on these reports and other research. It’s a must-read for anyone looking to modernize their technical environment.

We broke new ground once again in the 2018 State of DevOps Report, bringing on Michael Stahnke and Andi Mann from Splunk as authors, with a focus on providing pragmatic and prescriptive guidance for organizations seeking to evolve their DevOps practice. We developed the DevOps evolution model that shows the sequencing of key practices across five stages as a common adoption pattern for scaling DevOps across an organization. The model is far from perfect, and there’s a lot that isn’t included in it, but it matches our experience working with large enterprises working out how to modernize their large and complex IT environments.

In 2019, we examined how organizations are integrating security into the software delivery lifecycle and in 2020, we focused on two themes: applying DevOps practices to change management and adopting a platform approach to software delivery.

Retrospective: A Decade of DevOps

Years of research into DevOps practices and results

DevOps is a living thing — a set of practices and cultural values that continues to develop and evolve as people try new things and learn. Our annual survey probes different aspects of DevOps, and the results allow us to provide insights and recommendations for people who want to change how their organizations work.

DevOps principles haven’t changed

Over the years, it’s become clear through our research that certain things about DevOps are as true today as they were in the early days of the movement. DevOps still gives organizations a serious competitive advantage. Automation, collaboration and sharing are as important as ever. And the organizations doing DevOps well don’t have to make a trade-off between moving fast and keeping things stable and secure.

Some things have changed, and some have surprised us

One of the best things about data is learning things you didn’t expect. Here are a few of the findings that surprised us over the years.

High performers move significantly faster and fail significantly less often than low performers.

High-performing teams are able to release software much more frequently than low performers, due to automation and more collaborative, less bureaucratic ways of working. 

At the same time, high performers enjoy greater system stability. They treat infrastructure as code and design it as part of their software development process.

The highest performers have been doing DevOps the longest.

Organizations that started earlier are the most advanced. They’ve had time to iterate, learn, refine, take on new technologies and techniques, and continue to learn and advance.

DevOps is a competitive advantage.

It should be obvious that everything listed above gives organizations a competitive edge. But it’s also clear when you look at the organizations that were early adopters of DevOps practices and principles — Google, Netflix, Amazon and others that continue to adapt, change and succeed over the years. In many cases, these companies dominate their industries.

Sharing and collaboration are key to DevOps success.

The ability to share knowledge between teams, learn from each other and continuously improve is key to succeeding with DevOps — and to succeeding in business.

Automation is critical for DevOps.

Automation eliminates errors, facilitates collaboration and frees everyone’s time to contribute value at a higher level. It also builds on itself: As an organization automates more, it gets better at it, and looks for opportunities to automate across the entire enterprise, not just in engineering.

Organizations that lag in automation are getting left behind by competitors, and by customers who expect their needs to be met quickly — and correctly.

Execs often have an overly rosy view.

Executives are usually too far away from the actual work of technology teams (and other teams) to feel and understand the pain of doing things manually, or of working with old architectures and tools in a fast-changing world. 

Their distance is often exacerbated by a low-trust culture where people are afraid to bring bad news or complaints to the boss.  

With experience, deployment speed plateaus and stability improves

In 2015, we discovered that while high performers reported deploying about as frequently as in 2014, they reported significantly better systems stability. This indicates that DevOps practices and culture support continuous improvement and make for highly adaptive, resilient organizations.

Continuous delivery works across the board, if architected correctly.

Our research shows that continuous delivery can be equally well applied to any type of system — whether a system of engagement or a system of record, packaged or custom, legacy or greenfield. The only thing that matters is architecting correctly for continuous delivery.

DevOps success depends on buy-in across the org.

DevOps initiatives launched solely by C-level executives, or that are largely the work of practitioners, are less likely to succeed. Successful DevOps initiatives eventually win full buy-in from both executives and practitioners. This shouldn’t be surprising: Collaboration and cooperation are fundamental values of DevOps.

DevOps evolution is messy in the middle.

Our first indication of this came in 2017, when we discovered that medium-performing organizations were actually doing more manual work than lower performers. We weren’t surprised that medium performers did more manual work than high performers, but coupled with our first observation, it was  something to remark on. 

In 2019 we learned that frustration is highest in organizations that are at the middle stages of integrating security into the software development cycle. This finding solidified our understanding that in any evolution, the beginning is promising, there’s competence and satisfaction in the latter stages, but the middle can be really painful. That’s because once an organization has been through the early changes, it must dig deeply to uproot and revise old practices and processes that stand in the way of further progress.

Is DevOps just another silo?

We were surprised a few years ago to see many companies creating specialized DevOps teams and DevOps roles. We wondered if these new teams would simply become another silo. Because the tendency to identify DevOps as a role and specialty has continued and increased, we surmise that the term functions as a shorthand that gives organizations permission — and funding — to move forward with DevOps.

Go Behind the Scenes

Go behind the scenes of the State of DevOps Report. Nigel Kersten and Michael Stahnke dive deep into the data that drives the narrative of the report and take us on a journey dissecting numerous conversations with IT DevOps practitioners and decision makers alike in this episode. 

Key Insight (2018): DevOps Evolution

By Alanna Brown

When we started the State of DevOps Report, the landscape looked very different than it does today. The organizations we were working with were struggling with deployments, the functional boundary where Dev and Ops painfully collide. The pressure to deploy faster and more frequently was a big driver behind DevOps.

As more organizations started adopting DevOps and practices became codified and broadly shared, we saw the low performers start to catch up with the high performers when it came to deployment frequency; a good sign that this was a solved problem. But of course, deploying faster and more frequently doesn’t necessarily mean you’re deploying better. And on the flip side, many organizations we work with today actually can deploy much faster and more frequently than the business allows.

Last year, we broke new ground with our report by focusing on the DevOps journey itself. We wanted to answer two burning questions that we kept getting asked over and over again: “How do we get started with DevOps?” and “How do we expand our pockets of success?” From those core questions — and a lot of statistical analysis — emerged the DevOps Evolutionary model (or simply, the DevOps Model, as it’s more commonly known). The model deepened our understanding of how organizations adopt and scale DevOps practices. From there, we set out to provide prescriptive and pragmatic guidance, based on the real-world experience of our authors (both in the trenches and from working directly with IT organizations), to help organizations evolve on their journey.

Normalization and Standardization

In the 2018 State of DevOps Report, our analysis revealed five stages of DevOps evolution and the critical practices at each stage that help you achieve success and progress to the next phase of your journey. The first two stages of that journey are normalizing the technology stack and standardizing and reducing variability. Normalization is about getting your arms around the chaos and understanding what you have so you can eliminate the one-offs that create management complexity. Standardization is about placing bets on the technologies you’ll use in the future.

Nigel and I have been meeting with and conducting DevOps Workshops with very large, very complicated enterprises and the majority of them are stuck somewhere in between Stage 1 and Stage 2. Standardization is always a sticky topic because everyone recognizes the value of standardization, but often, no one person in the organization really has the power to enforce the standards. And then there are always those pesky dev teams that want to use their own special stack. We advise starting small with the tools and platforms within your direct purview before attempting to standardize your entire software delivery toolchain across hundreds of teams.

Free Resource

To help you do that, we’re offering a new resource to help rationalize and standardize your toolkit. It’s a simple spreadsheet that lists key capabilities so you can see where there are overlaps between the tools you’re using today.

You can access the spreadsheet and then either make a copy of the Google sheet (File < Make a copy) or download it into a Microsoft Excel file (File > Download as). Then it’s all yours to fill in the tools you use, mark what their capabilities are, and note the overlaps where there may be opportunity for standardization.

A lot of our customers have found this to be useful so we wanted to make it available to everyone. This one happens to focus on infrastructure automation, but we plan to build out more resources in the future and would love to hear your ideas on what would be most useful. Feel free to email us with your ideas!

Jump to 2018 report >>

Key Insight (2016): IT Performance

By Alanna Brown

Every year, we look at IT performance to see how high-performing organizations compare to the rest of our sample population. This year, we found that high performers are accelerating away from the pack in terms of throughput. They deploy 200 times more frequently, which means deploying multiple times per day on demand, versus just a few times per year. High performers also have 2,555 times faster lead times, which means they can deploy a change in less than one hour compared to once every few months. We found that the high performers also continue to maintain high levels of stability — they have a three times lower change failure rate and recover from failures 24 times faster.

Throughput and stability matter, because when you’re able to deploy more frequently, you can experiment more and deliver value to customers faster. Instead of having one or two chances per year to get it right, you have multiple opportunities to validate your ideas, gather customer feedback, learn, and improve. By speeding up your delivery, you can increase your rate of learning.

Speed without stability causes other problems, though: Websites and other services break, disappointing customers, suppliers and fellow employees. However, as we’ve shown year after year, moving faster doesn’t have to come at the expense of stability, reliability, security, or quality. In fact, DevOps practices — for example, version control for all production artifacts, deployment automation, and automated testing — actually predict IT performance, which in turn predicts organizational performance.

By segmenting survey responses according to whether respondents' organizations are high, medium or low performers, we've been able to compare these groups across different dimensions to see whether their attitudes, behaviors, and practices are substantially different from each other. For example, we wondered if high performers had higher employee engagement, and learned that yes, they were 2.2 times more likely to recommend their organization to a friend as a great place to work, compared to low performers. Everyone wants to be part of a winning team, and those who do feel their teams are winning tend to be more engaged and loyal. Other studies have shown that employee engagement correlates with better business outcomes, such as higher customer engagement, revenue growth, and stock market performance.

A big focus of this year’s report was looking at the entire product development lifecycle, starting with the initial product or feature idea, and extending all the way to the customer, where that idea can deliver value. We found that when product teams take a lean-manufacturing approach to product design and delivery — decomposing features into small batches, making the flow of work visible throughout the delivery process, and using customer feedback to inform product design — both IT performance and organizational culture improve.

Another key idea that DevOps borrows from the lean movement is “shifting left,” or identifying and fixing defects early on, rather than inspecting quality at the end. By shifting quality to the left, you’re able to detect problems earlier when it’s much cheaper and easier to fix them. This in turn leads to less unplanned work and rework later on. We found that high performers spend 22 percent less time on unplanned work and rework than low performers, and as a result, they’re able to spend 29 percent more of their time on new, value-adding work. That's a great investment of team time.

Quality isn’t the only thing shifting left. DevSecOps, rugged DevOps, or whatever you want to call it, is all about integrating security early and often throughout the software development lifecycle. That means treating security concerns as a design constraint, getting continuous feedback from the security team, and building security requirements into the automated testing suite. We found that high performers spend 50 percent less time remediating security issues than low performers, because they integrate security testing and controls into the daily work of development, QA, and operations.

Jump to 2016 report >>

Succeed at DevOps With Puppet

The Puppet team is proud to bring you insights on the ever-changing history of DevOps each year. But the best way to succeed with DevOps is to get started with Puppet Enterprise.