In Search of Speed: The State of Applications

We are very pleased to announce the results from Chef’s 2018 State of Applications Survey. Earlier this year, we partnered with Dimensional Research to survey 347 applications and IT operations professionals worldwide on the topic of application build and release processes. We also asked them to describe their current and future production infrastructure deployments to understand the relative mix of bare metal, virtual machines, container and serverless.

Here are some highlights from the survey data. You can download our poster-sized infographic that summarizes the high points from the survey.

Software Delivery Speeds are Too Slow

Despite respondents’ optimism about the increasing adoption of new technologies, like containers (nearly a third expect to have 25-50% of their applications in containers over the next two years), current software deployment speeds are an enormous drag on this trajectory. More than 60% of those surveyed take days or longer to complete a successful build process, and 57% subsequently take days or longer to deploy the software. And over half of the respondents need four or more builds to be created before an application can be deployed to production. This is all despite the fact that 72% of people measure their deployment success using speed as the primary metric. Clearly, there’s a long way to go.

Heterogeneity is the Present and Future of IT

Unsurprisingly, we found that most companies have an enormous mix of production infrastructure. Containers and serverless add to the mix of radically different platforms, rather than significantly reducing companies’ technology generations. Not only are most respondents planning to increase their adoption of newer technologies, but 81% are adopting a multi-cloud strategy, or using more than one cloud provider. In our conversations with customers, they are aligning their placement of application workloads with cloud providers that offer higher-level hosted services, such as sophisticated data storage engines, machine learning/analytics pipelines, and Internet-of-Things capabilities.

Heterogeneity, particularly across vastly different deployment models such as serverless and containers, threatens to create chaos as companies need to then create and manage a plethora of support systems, such as monitoring, observability, application packaging and release management, just to name a few, across a wide landscape of technology stacks. With this in mind, it’s no wonder that 93% of the customers surveyed want a universal application packaging solution, like Habitat, that can transcend multiple technology generations and allow them to build and package their applications once and choose a deployment environment later.

Legacy Applications Constrain Enterprises

Greenfield application development in any enterprise is often dwarfed by the existing portfolio of legacy, or brownfield, applications that continue to support the existing business. Current applications need to be maintained and deployed at the same velocity as new ones. Yet enterprises are often hamstrung by an inability to make these older applications ship as quickly as ones created today. They turn to the promise of new technologies, like containers and the cloud, with the hope that this will imbue older applications with new speed. But how do we get there? Most enterprises recognize that rewriting or replacing applications wholesale is not a practical strategy, particularly across a portfolio of hundreds or even thousands of legacy applications. It’s no surprise that 73% of respondents expect to lift, shift, and modernize applications to replatform them onto newer infrastructure – another area Habitat can help with.

Learn More

To learn more about Habitat’s universal application packaging solution and how it can help get your legacy applications moving just as quickly as modern ones, visit our solutions page for more information.

Author Julian Dunn

Julian is director of product marketing at Chef. He has been with the company since 2013 in a variety of roles: professional services, engineering, and most recently, product management, where he helped to launch InSpec and Habitat. Before joining Chef, he was a system administrator and software engineer at large and small companies across such diverse sectors as advertising, broadcasting, and Internet security. Julian holds a bachelor's degree in computer engineering from the University of Toronto.