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IT budget planning is in full swing as the holiday season and new year approach.
In the coming year, companies will establish or refine DevOps processes with additional software tools -- preferably open source -- to secure and monitor applications as they are developed, according to enterprise IT pros.
"This is the year of the big DevOps push for us," said Brian Simons, IT operations manager at property management software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider Entrata Inc., in Lehi, Utah. "We're going to be able to focus on really getting our processes solid."
In previous years, the IT team primarily contended with the company's rapid growth, but this year will be more transformative, Simons said.
IT pros keep an eye on DevOps pipelines
"A long-term goal of mine is to make it so that when developers are coding, they can get their code running in production within 10 minutes in an automated fashion," Simons said.
New Relic's infrastructure monitoring will give Simons' team a more comprehensive historical view of the environment to provide continuous feedback to developers and to improve its reliability.
In addition to monitoring, also with New Relic, GoPro will deploy security software from the app dev process to the infrastructure, said Theo Kim, director of DevOps for the digital camera maker, based in San Mateo, Calif.
"I'm responsible for the purchase of a web application firewall, intrusion detection and prevention system, a SIEM [security information and event management system], and static code analysis is another tool we're probably going to purchase," Kim said. "Security is always an ongoing thing, one of the areas that my company and a lot of companies are making strategic decisions to spend money on."
Predictive analytics will be on the IT budget planning horizon for security and monitoring tools in 2017, said Robert Stroud, analyst with Forrester Research.
"DevOps requires an approach where the tools become more proactive, rather than reactive," Stroud said. "This is where clever investments will happen, where the tool sets can start to predict events and empower the IT team to understand outages before they happen so end users aren't affected, and identify systemic failures earlier on in the process as well."
Containers and consolidation also fashionable in 2017
Fast-moving cloud infrastructures will be stood up and torn down using containers, according to a Forrester Research report, "Predictions 2017: Customer-Obsessed Enterprises Launch Cloud's Second Decade," published this month.
"Most of the container workload is still in development, and this is one of the areas where people are going to spend money, because writing the management and the orchestration you need is going to take development cycles," Stroud said.
Internal clouds that people have built in the last few years are really a stepping stone to the speed and flexibility of containers, said Zubin Irani, CEO of cPrime, an Agile software development consulting firm in San Francisco.
Finally, tool consolidation will also be a theme in 2017 -- as a largely grassroots effort, DevOps has evolved organically, leading to a proliferation of tools within organizations that companies will now look to make strategic decisions to rationalize.
"We have one large technical client that literally has 1,000 tools for a 7,000-developer community," Irani said. "Everything's bottoms-up and fragmented -- and you've still got a lot of old legacy technology sitting out there."
Software as a service and open source
On the overall IT budget planning front, analyst firms predict software and services -- and particularly where those two markets intersect with SaaS -- will lead IT spending growth next year, but not necessarily contribute strongly to overall technology market growth.
"The key issue is the degree to which an application category is down the path toward SaaS adoption or just starting that journey," said Andrew Bartels, analyst with Forrester.
Categories such as customer relationship management and human resource management systems, where today SaaS subscriptions may be half or more of total revenues, see much stronger growth than other categories, such as supply chain or financial management software, because the cannibalization of on-premises software by SaaS has already taken place, Bartels said.
Open source software, which doesn't garner revenue from license fees, is also increasingly popular among IT professionals, and this may further hamper the licensed software market, according to Forrester.
"The overall software category is not going to grow rapidly, maybe only by 4% or 5%," Bartels said.
Rival analyst firm Gartner, meanwhile, is more sanguine about software and IT services. According to Gartner's forecast, software spending will grow 7.2% in 2017, along with a 4.8% increase in IT services spending.
The election elephant in the room
Both Forrester and Gartner agreed on overall tech market growth of about 3% next year, but take different tones following the U.S. presidential election this month.
"Typically, there is a slight pause in IT spending leading into the election, and then a relief in spending, subsequently," said a Gartner report released in October. Moreover, "trends have shown that IT spending in the U.S. is not dependent on presidential leadership."
Nonetheless, Forrester's market growth prediction of 3% represents a revision downward from the 5.1% it had predicted before Nov. 8.
"There are just so many uncertainties -- what does [Donald] Trump actually mean?" Bartels said. Will the policies President-elect Trump described on the campaign trail become reality, and to what extent?
"The basic story here is that there's a lot of uncertainty, and uncertainty tends to be an inhibitor of tech spending," he said.
However, a Gartner analyst pooh-poohed this pessimism.
"We are expecting a pause on some larger projects and discretionary spending, in line with what we would normally expect in an election year," said John Lovelock, chief forecaster for Gartner, which did not revise its forecasts in the wake of the election. "The wheels aren't coming off this bus."
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