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3 IT Operations and Management Trends to Watch in 2022

IT teams are likely to continue to be resource-constrained in 2022, but these three trends can help keep IT operations and management running effectively and securely.

The challenges that IT teams will face in 2022 in many respects will be similar to the ones faced in 2021.

A primary challenge for IT teams will continue to be addressing skill and staffing needs, as well as supporting ongoing operations and enabling digital transformation. There are a number of key trends that will help IT operations and management deal with those ongoing issues in 2022.

The following three trends aren’t necessarily the answer to the skills shortage and won't provide a guaranteed path for tech innovation, but they will help IT operations and management teams become more efficient and perhaps even more resilient in 2022.

Everything as Code Enables CloudOps and DevOps Governance

What is it? Everything as code isn't a singular technology, process or vendor tool. Rather, the concept of everything as code is about defining aspects of IT operations and management in a codified configuration format.

There are multiple types of everything-as-code approaches. Among the most common in 2021 was infrastructure as code (IaC), which defines the deployment of cloud or virtual infrastructure and applications. GitOps is another approach where configuration for operations or infrastructure is defined as code in a Git code repository. An emerging approach is governance as code, which defines policies for CloudOps and application governance.

Why are people paying attention to it now? What everything as code replaces are ad hoc processes that are difficult to scale and typically require human resources and skills to maintain. In the resource-constrained environment of the COVID-19 pandemic era, optimizing operations to reduce reliance on human resources is critical.

Who benefits from it? Looking specifically at governance as code, which is coming to CloudOps in 2022 in a big way, it is not a stretch to say the entire organization can benefit.

"Organizations are planning to increase the adoption of cloud usage to ensure business innovation," Travis Stanfield, co-founder and CEO at Stacklet, told ITPro Today. "To do so securely and efficiently, they would codify and automate various aspects of governance, including cost, operations, security and compliance.

"Governance as code will become mainstream just as infrastructure as code has already," Stanfield added.

Where can you get it? There are a growing number of vendors in the space, and more will likely enter the market in 2022.

Stacklet and the Cloud Custodian open-source project provide a good option for governance as code. In the GitOps space, Weaveworks has emerged as a leading vendor. For infrastructure as code in particular, Hashicorp's Terraform is a popular option.

Multicloud, along with modern application architectures, is driving complexity upward for IT organizations, according to IDC analyst Stephen Elliot. In his view, the IAC/CloudOps/cloud management markets will continue to grow and expand.  

"Without system reliability capabilities, customer experience will suffer," Elliot told ITPro Today. "It’s a required investment area for CIOs."  

Site Reliability Engineering Key to IT Operations and DevOps

What is it? Site reliability engineering (SRE) is about providing the necessary processes, policies and tools for reliable infrastructure and application delivery.

Why are people paying attention to it now? Much like everything as code, SRE will become increasingly important in 2022 as organizations aim to provide resilient applications that work while struggling with minimal staffing levels.

Who benefits from it? The practice of SRE is beneficial to both developers and operations as it helps ensure the reliability of applications.

"In 2022, I think we're approaching a new cycle where developers have higher expectations of how software reliability is handled, how outages are handled – and they don't want to work at companies that aren't realistic about the give and take between shipping new features and honoring the counterbalance of software reliability," Kit Merker, chief operating officer at Nobl9, told ITPro Today. "After a decade of 'developer ergonomics' around build environments and speed of software, now developers are tired of 'on call' practices and being expected to respond to outages that could have been prevented."

Where can you get it? SRE is a development practice that can involve trained SRE professionals as well as tools from commercial vendors like Nobl9 and Pythian.

Software Bill of Materials for IT Management and DevSecOps

What is it? A software bill of materials (SBOM) provides a verifiable listing of the code libraries, frameworks and components that make up a given application.

Why are people paying attention to it now? An increasing number of risks come from vulnerabilities found in code libraries embedded in applications. The problem is that it’s not always clear what needs to be patched because many organizations don't even know what code libraries are being used.

In the aftermath of multiple cyberattacks early in 2021, President Biden issued an executive order on May 12 that mandates the use of SBOMs for software vendors that sell to the U.S. government.

"The adoption of secure bill of materials software packages by the U.S. government should be hailed as a major success," Simon Crosby, CTO at Swim, told ITPro Today. "But they need to be changed so that when a vulnerability, like log4j, is found, the software won't run. SBOM vendors will strive to be more deeply integrated into the software lifecycle, including Ops."

Who benefits from it? SBOMs are a benefit to end-user organizations and vendors alike. For end users and their organizations, an SBOM provides visibility into what software libraries and frameworks are being used. That visibility is essential for organizations, so they know what risks they face when vulnerabilities emerge. For vendors, SBOMs are also essential as an increasing number of organizations, are requiring SBOMs as part of the procurement process for vendor selection.

Where can you get it? SBOMs can be generated using a variety of different tools. Among the most common approaches is to use a software composition analysis tool to build the SBOM.

Those are the IT operations and management trends we think will gain traction in 2022. Do you agree? Sound off below.

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