GitLab this week delivered an update to its continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) platform that adds additional generative artificial intelligence (AI) and cybersecurity capabilities.
The GitLab 16 release included cybersecurity capabilities such as centralized policy management, expanded compliance reports and controls, compliance dashboards and default Level 3 attestation for the supply-chain levels for software artifacts (SLSA) framework.
At the same time, GitLab this week also made available an emergency patch for two modules that have a path traversal flaw, tracked as CVE-2023-2825, that could allow unauthenticated users to read arbitrary files on the server under certain circumstances.
In terms of generative AI, GitLab 16 added a value stream forecasting capability that automatically generates workflow summaries for senior managers. GitLab is also adding a code refactoring capability and the ability to automatically resolve vulnerabilities to an update to GitLab 16. Previously, GitLab made available a ‘suggested reviewers’ features, an ‘explain this code’ and an ‘explain this vulnerability’ capability that are all enabled by large language models (LLMs) developed by Google. GitLab has also partnered with Oracle to provide additional AI capabilities enabled by machine learning algorithms. In 2021, GitLab acquired UnReview, a provider of a tool that uses AI to identify which expert code reviewers to assign to a project based on the quality of their previous efforts and current workloads.
David DeSanto, chief product officer at GitLab, said with 10 AI capabilities GitLab is providing more of these types of capabilities than any other DevOps platform provider. In addition, those capabilities are distributed across the entire software development life cycle rather than being focused solely on making developers more productive, he noted.
That’s critical, because if AI capabilities are only focused on developer productivity, an imbalance is created; DevOps workflows will not be able to absorb the increased amount of code that will soon be moving simultaneously through pipelines, DeSanto added.
AI will also further fuel adoption of platform engineering as a means for centralizing DevOps management. It’s becoming more apparent that infusing these types of capabilities into DevOps platforms built and maintained by an internal IT team is going to be a major challenge, he added.
There is no doubt that generative AI capabilities will soon become widely integrated across DevOps workflows. That will enable developers to build more secure code faster while at the same time making it simpler for software engineers to maintain large codebases. Just about every job function imaginable will be impacted to varying degrees. In the case of DevOps teams, the ultimate impact should involve less drudgery as many of the manual tasks that conspire to make managing DevOps workflows tedious are eliminated. In fact, AI may ultimately make DevOps, as a methodology for managing IT, more accessible to a much wider range of organizations.
As AI advances, there should still be plenty of demand for human expertise. For better or worse, the nature of the expertise required, however, will undoubtedly be at a much higher level than it has previously been as more low-level tasks are automated. The challenge is determining how and where to refocus the efforts of the DevOps teams to add higher value.