GitLab Expands Scope of DevOps Ambitions

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GitLab, with the release of its 12.0 update, is extending the reach of its namesake continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) platform to include both cybersecurity professionals and traditional IT operations staff.

John Jeremiah, senior product marketing manager at GitLab, said the goal is to provide organizations with a single CI/CD platform that unifies the management of everything from source code to best DevSecOps processes.

To address that latter requirement, GitLab 12.0 adds a dashboard designed specifically for security personnel along with the ability for cybersecurity teams to approve merge requests and automatically apply patches for vulnerabilities detected. Those capabilities complement existing support for scanning and secrets detection.

New capabilities embedded in the platform for IT Operations professionals include an operations dashboard and an embedded incident management capability that makes it easier to create a coordinated response to a specific event.

GitLab 12.0 also adds support for feature flags to better manage the application delivery process, along with a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environment to provision and maintain the infrastructure needed for developing and launching an application.

Jeremiah said the new and existing capabilities in GitLab will make it possible for organizations to unify their DevOps tool chains in a way that also enables IT operations teams and cybersecurity professionals to be included in the process.
At the same time, GitLab is making DevOps more accessible by eliminating many of the silos between various tools that have emerged over the years, including, for example, built-in support for feature flagging versus requiring organizations to acquire and maintain a separate tool, he noted.

Because those capabilities are embedded in the platform, organizations will be able to make the cultural shift required to adopt DevOps more easily, he added. IT teams don’t always know what other tools they will need as their DevOps skills mature. With all the tools embedded in GitLab readily available, it becomes easier for organizations to expand their DevOps processes as the organization starts to implement more sophisticated processes, Jeremiah said.

That approach is starting to resonate with the 100,000-plus developers actively using the GitLab platform and more than 2,000 contributors actively contributing code to the underlying open source platform, he added. GitLab in March saw its millionth merge request.

It’s too early to tell how broadly any CI/CD platform might be able to consolidate the DevOps toolchain. Developers are notorious for adopting new tools as they see fit. Internal IT teams, of course, are not always excited to be asked to support yet another tool. The right level of balance between ultimate flexibility and the need for a standard set of processes that can be implemented across multiple application development teams must be determined by each organization.

In the meantime, DevOps processes are starting to expand beyond traditional development team to now include IT operations staff and cybersecurity personnel. The challenge now that they’ve been invited to the proverbial DevOps party is making them feel welcome and appreciated.

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