Six years after the first pattern was published, GitOps has crossed the chasm and cleared the adoption threshold, which – for better or worse – means there are now a lot of people learning on the job!

CNCF’s latest microsurvey on GitOps found that 31% of respondents started using GitOps in their cloud and Kubernetes environments during the past 12 months. They joined the 60% who’d been working with GitOps for a year or more.

Bar chart showing respondent's respond towards question "How long have you been using GitOps tools and practices?" 60% of respondents chose "more than a year" while 2% chose "we do not have plans to use them"

And, of those still holding out, a further 67% believe they will begin their journey to GitOps tools and practices during the coming year.

Bar chart showing respondent's respond towards question "If you are not already employing GitOps tools and practices, when do you plan to begin?" 67% of the respondents chose "six months to a year" while 33% chose "one to two years"

The backdrop for this is the rise and consolidation of multi-cloud and hybrid-cloud as the foundation for digital businesses (used by 47%  and 35%, respectively), with the majority of respondents – 75% – running environments comprising up to 50 Kubernetes clusters. Further, more than half (54%) of respondents leverage GitOps in more than 26% of their cloud native deployments.

Bar chart showing respondent's respond towards question "What platforms are you running?" 45% of the respondents chose "one to two cloud platforms - such as AWS and Azure"
Bar chart showing respondents' respond towards question "How many Kubernetes clusters do you have across all deployments?" 75% respondents chose "1-50"
Bar chart showing respondent's respond towards question "What percentage of your cloud native deployments leverage GitOps?" 54% of respondents chose "26% or more" while 12% chose "21-25%)

This has influenced the way people want to build and manage big, complex, and fast-changing technology fabrics. Kelsey Hightower once said we should “stop scripting and start shipping”, and our data revealed how many view GitOps as the best way to achieve this.

Faster software delivery was ranked the number-one reason for embracing GitOps  (71%), with improved configuration management and greater deployment consistency tying second and third at 66% each. Also landing in the top five list of GitOps draws were easier rollbacks (53%) and simplified Kubernetes management (51%).

Bar chart showing respondent's respond towards question "What are your reasons for using GitOps? What objectives do you hope to achieve?" 71% of the respondents chose "faster software delivery", 66% chose "improved configuration management" and "greater deployment consistency"

Pulling in some of the survey’s highest responses were anticipated security improvements. GitOps’ inherent automation is seen as a means to replace mistake-prone manual processes, removing the risk of misconfigurations that have long been exploited by attackers. Swapping manual for automation was ranked the number-one security benefit at 69%. There’s also a strong desire to shield Kubernetes and live production environments from direct access – this came second at 62%. And, echoing an earlier question’s findings, 60% said fast repair and rollback are key objectives in the quest to improve security.

Bar chart showing respondent's respond towards question "What do you believe are/will be the biggest security benefits of GitOps?" 69% respondents respond "replaces manual processes with automation - reducing chances of misconfiguration" while 35% chose "ability to implement automatic scanning and testing on code"

Interestingly, there is a crossover between automation and some cultural obstacles people have experienced or expect to encounter during their GitOps rollouts. A reluctance by DevOps team members to relinquish control and simply “trust” the machine or put their faith in features such as declarative configurations was listed as the biggest actual or perceived problem by 46% of respondents. Lack of training and experience came second with 46%.

Bar chart showing respondent's respond towards question "What do you anticipate will be/or what have been your biggest challenges in adopting GitOps?" 46% chose "culture - individuals/teams reluctant to release control and trust features such as automation and declarative configurations" and "lack of skills/experience in the tools or practices of GitOps"

Despite these concerns over skills, few seem to be addressing the situation. Nearly 70% not only had yet to complete any GitOps training or certification, but they also had no plans to participate in any courses. 

Bar chart showing respondent's respond towards question "Have you completed, or do you plan to complete, any certifications or training courses around GitOps?" 69% chose "none of the above" while 21% chose "Codefresh GitOps Certifications, 13% chose "The Certified GitOps Associate (CGOA) from Linux Foundation Training (upcoming), 8% chose "GitOps Essential Training from DevOps School"

With this in mind and with GitOps adoption riding high on cloud and Kubernetes, users are looking for two key attributes in tools and practices. First is maturity and breadth of features with 65%, closely followed by ease of use at 64%. Other factors polling strongly in people’s considerations were integration with other makers’ GitOps tools, the ability to work with existing tools and environment, and the strength of adoption by their peers.

Bar chart showing respondent's respond towards question "What criteria did you apply for picking tools?" 65% chose "maturity and breadth of features", 64% chose "ease of use "while 14% chose "brand-new capabilities"

Finally, when it comes to adoption, ArgoCD and Flux were the most widely used CNCF GitOps projects.

Our GitOps microsurvey was conducted between July and September 2023 with 220 overall responses with varying response rates throughout. Community members from the Continuous Delivery Foundation, Codefresh, and Weaveworks helped design the survey. 

To learn more about GitOps, get involved with the CNCF GitOps Working Group (WG). Sitting under the CNCF App Delivery Technical Advisory Group (TAG), the focus of the GitOps WG is to clearly define a vendor-neutral, principle-led meaning of GitOps and establish a base for interoperability between tools, conformance, and certification. Lasting GitOps programs, documents, and code will live within the CNCF OpenGitOps project, which is housed in the CNCF Sandbox and guided by the WG.

The Certified GitOps Associate (CGOA) exam will allow candidates to demonstrate their understanding of GitOps principles, terminology, and best practices in setting up a GitOps-managed software system in addition to related practices such as Configuration of Code, Infrastructure as Code, DevOps & DevSecOps, and CI & CD and how to map them to GitOps. It will be available soon from CNCF and the Linux Foundation Training & Certification. Apply to be a beta tester.

You can also attend the upcoming virtual event, GitOpsCon Europe 2023. The event will take place online from December 5-6 and is designed for all levels, from those new to GitOps to those currently using GitOps within their organization. Talk topics will include getting started with GitOps, scaling and managing GitOps, lessons learned from production deployments, technical sessions, and thought leadership.

The full survey data can be found on GitHub. You can download the full report here.