Gartner Hype Cycle for I&O Automation 2021

June 7, 2023
10 min

Three Key Takeaways from the Gartner Hype Cycle for I&O Automation 2021

Gartner details emerging (and fading) DevOps trends in its Hype Cycle for I&O Automation 2021.

The Gartner Hype Cycle for I&O Automation continues to highlight fundamental changes in DevOps practices with the release of its 2021 report, which includes two dramatic projections:

  • By 2025, 70% of organizations will complement continuous delivery of applications with continuous infrastructure automation.
  • By 2025, 60% of I&O teams will use artificial intelligence-augmented automation to enable greater IT productivity, agility, and scalability.

Thereafter, the Hype Cycle continues by offering insights into the technologies that are pivotal to automation success. The insights list the drivers for the technologies, their business impact, potential obstacles for adoption, and recommendations to overcome the obstacles. However, it is not practical for organizations to implement every technology. So, are some technologies more pivotal than others? And, if so, how can you tell?

What we have done is compare the technologies analyzed for the Gartner Hype Cycle 2021 with those from previous years. In our comparison, we looked for technologies with a “high benefit” rating that Gartner believes have moved significantly closer to the “plateau of productivity” (the phase of the Hype Cycle at which the real-world benefits of the technology are demonstrated and accepted). From this comparison, we have been able to identify three key takeaways.

1. Programmable Infrastructure (IaC) Will Drive Adaptive Automation

Over the past few years, programmable infrastructure has moved quickly through the “innovation trigger” phase of the Gartner Hype Cycle for I&O Automation and now features near the top of the “peak of inflated expectations” phase. Furthermore, despite still being classified by Gartner as an emerging technology, the company believes programmable infrastructure will reach the plateau of productivity within two to five years. Previously the forecast had been between five and ten years.

Gartner attributes the progress of programmable infrastructure to organizations increasingly adopting hybrid cloud strategies that use services from more than one vendor. The company suggests that, in addition to optimizing resource utilization and costs, programmable infrastructure will drive adaptive automation as organizations look to better manage the lifecycle of infrastructure delivery in order to create a sustainable and highly responsive IT environment.

2. Infrastructure Automation is Becoming an Increasingly Valuable Asset in DevOps Toolchains

Infrastructure automation has always been an important DevOps tool, but its adoption for more complex deployments has been mitigated by a lack of technical skills. However, as infrastructure automation solutions have approached mainstream maturity, they have become more user-friendly, more platform agnostic, and more versatile – enabling DevOps teams to make more use of the solutions for technologies such as programmable infrastructure and Policy-as-Code.

The increased adoption of infrastructure automation has helped nudge DevOps toolchains closer to the “slope of enlightenment” – the phase of the Gartner Hype Cycle prior to the plateau of productivity in which organizations have a “true understanding of the innovation´s applicability, risks, and benefits”. It is also noticeable that Gartner has reduced the “time to plateau” from two-to-five years to within two years.

3. IA for Infrastructure Managed Services is Rapidly Approaching Maturity

Without doubt, the biggest mover on the Gartner Hype Cycle for I&O Automation is intelligent automation for managed infrastructure services. Whereas in 2020, this innovation was languishing near the bottom of the trough of disillusionment, it is more than halfway up the slope of enlightenment and is forecast by Gartner to reach the plateau of productivity within two-to-five years. Gartner has also changed its maturity level from “emerging” to “early mainstream”.

Gartner attributes the rise of IA for infrastructure managed services to the wide variety of benefits it can deliver to organizations and notes that leading service desk providers can use intelligent automation to resolve up to 80% of contacts and automate 80% to 95% of the provisioning and management of hybrid infrastructure services. Gartner also suggests intelligent automation will continue to replace human effort in order to provide cost efficiencies and reduce potential errors.

Are You Keeping Pace with the Latest Developments in DevOps Practices?

While these three key takeaways from the Gartner Hype Cycle for I&O Automation are the highlights of this year´s analysis, they are not the only ones of significance to DevOps practices. If you would like to know more about the current trends – or see how the technologies discussed above can benefit your organization – do not hesitate to get in touch and request a demo of CloudShell Pro.