DevOps is essential for modern application development and delivery, but leaders in mobile app development and IT operations must address the unique collaboration, testing, release, and analytics requirements of mobile DevOps environments. According to Gartner’s 2015 DevOps survey, only 29% of the organizations surveyed have implemented DevOps either as pilots or for production systems. Moreover, only 42% of those who have implemented indicated that DevOps is used to support mobile app development. Additional Gartner research data indicates that mobile app development is exploding, with mature organizations on average each having built and deployed more than a dozen custom apps over the past year.
As enterprise app development activity increases exponentially, IT operations will experience tremendous stress and could become a critical bottleneck if DevOps is not used or implemented properly. However, mobility introduces new challenges and requirements to DevOps that must be taken into consideration in order to be successful. These hurdles include:
- Continued fragmentation and rapid proliferation of mobile devices, management tools and operating systems adversely impacting the ability of DevOps to keep pace with mobile app releases.
- Mobile apps driving changes to back-end enterprise systems that require increased collaboration between the mobile and traditional development and operations teams.
- Challenges to releasing and updating mobile apps because, unlike in the Web world, not every user will download updates, and rollbacks are typically not an option.
- Poor app instrumentation and visibility of production usage, which hinders continuous delivery.
In my research note with Cameron Haight, “Three Imperatives for Mobile App DevOps“, we discuss best practices to overcome these challenges by:
- Embracing a mix of mobile app development tools while using common collaboration and continuous integration tools.
- Employing mobile test automation to enable continuous delivery.
- And implementing app instrumentation to foster continuous monitoring and analysis.