Atlassian Open DevOps beats 'good enough'

Atlassian's new Open DevOps strategy taps best-of-breed DevOps tools for integration into a single toolchain to ease the burden for software development teams.

Atlassian has made its Jira work management software the center of a new strategy to enable development teams to connect all their DevOps tools together in a simplified toolchain.

The company introduced its Open DevOps strategy at the Atlassian Team 2021 virtual conference this week. The strategy involves partnering with specialized DevOps tool providers to deliver premium DevOps toolchains targeted at outperforming the "just good enough" integrated offerings from a single vendor, said Suzie Prince, head of product for DevOps at Atlassian.

"What software teams are telling us is that they're being held back from shipping value by the sheer numbers of tools that they have to use in their DevOps toolchain, and the lack of the connections between these tools," she said.

Too many tools to wrangle

Last year, a survey by Atlassian and Cite Research found that development teams use an average of 10 tools to move an idea for a new feature into production. This is because there is no one ideal way for teams to plan, build, deploy, operate and support all their services, Prince said. Instead, using all these disparate tools in an unconnected manner can lead to an ever-growing, fragmented tool stack, which then leads to information silos, she said.

Atlassian contends that the problem isn't the number of tools; it's how they're connected. And to overcome these issues, companies must deal with a disjointed best-of-breed toolchain, find a way to integrate it themselves or choose to use a single best vendor.

Automation-DevOps Triggers
A screenshot of the Atlassian Automation-DevOps Triggers.

"They're choosing a good enough single tool, instead of all of these great best-of-breed tools," Prince said. "We believe if the market moves too quickly teams that accept 'good enough'" will be left behind."

Choosing a single vendor may have its benefits for some. But Atlassian's best-of-breed strategy may not necessarily be better.

"The question on the DevOps side is 'Who are the big, single-vendor players? GitLab? ServiceNow? Microsoft?' Each vendor has different strengths and weaknesses," said Thomas Murphy, an analyst at Gartner.

Default Open DevOps project

Adhering to the Atlassian Open DevOps strategy, the default DevOps project is built around Jira Software, Confluence, Bitbucket and Opsgenie, Prince wrote in a blog post. And with one click, teams can swap in the tools they want, including GitLab or GitHub.

"Atlassian has a lot of gaps in their DevOps story," Murphy said. "For instance: no security, package management, release orchestration, monitoring/discovery, code quality or testing. Everyone has gaps, but I see more at Atlassian once you step out from the Jira/Bitbucket world. This is why they are hitting on JFrog, Mabl and others -- what would be more interesting is if they start making more acquisitions here."

Connected toolchain
A screenshot of the Atlassian Connected toolchain.

Indeed, as part of Open DevOps, Atlassian has integrations with leading testing, security, feature flagging and observability vendors in Jira. These vendors include Snyk, Mabl, SmartBear, Launch Darkly, Split, Datadog, Dynatrace, Sentry, Sumo Logic, CircleCI, JFrog, Codefresh and Harness, as well as the aforementioned GitHub and GitLab.

Essentially, they [Atlassian] are saying 'Hey, we are the most used team tool for planning work; everything is integrated to us, so we have a great story.' But GitHub can say much the same thing.
Thomas MurphyAnalyst, Gartner

"Essentially, they [Atlassian] are saying 'Hey, we are the most used team tool for planning work; everything is integrated to us, so we have a great story,'" Murphy said. "But GitHub can say much of the same thing."

Easing the developer journey

Casey O'Mara, vice president of worldwide business development and global alliances at JFrog, said Atlassian's Open DevOps effort plays right into JFrog's strategy of being too integrated to fail, and partnering with some of the best ecosystem partners out there.

"The developer doesn't have to try and go between platforms to get what they need to drive their DevOps pipeline," he said.

With Open DevOps, a development team can take a journey from planning a product or service all the way to production, including the use of JFrog tools such as Artifactory and Xray along the way, he said.

Mabl, a Boston-based maker of test automation software, surveyed its enterprise customers about what integrations they would like to see. Fifty-five percent chose Jira Software Cloud, said Izzy Azeri, co-founder of the company.

"Jira [Software] Cloud is one of the most strategic tools that enterprises today are deploying, and it enables a very unique kind of integration so that users -- whether you're a developer automation engineer, DevOps engineer or manual tester -- it can provide all this rich data when a test fails in the Jira cloud," he said. "And then users can collaborate in that product [Jira] and solve these technical bugs."

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