GigaOm Radar for Feature Flagsv1.0

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. Market Categories and Deployment Types
  3. Key Criteria Comparison
  4. GigaOm Radar
  5. Vendor Insights
  6. Analysts’ Take
  7. About Bill Witter

1. Summary

Modern-day deployment practices rely on agile and CI/CD methodologies to drive the iteration speed needed to stay competitive in technology-led industries. A key requirement for enabling these capabilities is the ability to decouple code deployments from corresponding feature releases. This is the core value-add of feature flags: they allow developers to continuously deliver enhancements while product teams optimize feature variants and feed results back into engineering backlogs. Feature flags are a valuable tool that can promote a flexible and scalable approach to software innovation.

Feature flag products have evolved into comprehensive management tools that allow teams to create variable-based groupings and release features on demand through no- or low-code interfaces. At a minimum, a solution in this space supports the toggling of feature flags with instant platform updates, an ability to set up A/B tests and experiments that target specific user audiences, and a kill switch mechanism for quick corrections. From a flexibility perspective, feature flag products typically support a wide range of common software development kits (SDKs) and platforms, and are scaled to handle billions of events each month.

Employing a feature flag solution enables enterprises to drive faster feedback loops during experimentation and through on-demand releases and highly granular user segment configuration. Feature flags also help minimize overall maintenance costs by reducing the need for multiple staging environments, and they also reduce risk and the need to roll back large deployments because individual features can be isolated as needed.

Leading vendors in this space have evolved beyond table stakes functionality and now offer comprehensive solutions aimed at supporting end-to-end CI/CD and product development. This includes built-in experimentation modules with custom statistical engines, highly customizable workflows that integrate with other deployment tooling, and advanced functionality to manage technical debt as necessary. Challengers in this space are quickly following suit. Prospective customers now have a number of choices: vendors may target developers or non-technical teams, offer standalone solutions or broad portfolios, and/or focus on niche use cases or support a range of user requirements.

This GigaOm Radar report highlights key feature flag vendors and equips IT decision-makers with the information needed to select the best fit for their business and use case requirements. In the corresponding GigaOm report “Key Criteria for Evaluating Feature Flag Solutions,” we describe in more detail the key features and metrics that are used to evaluate vendors in this market.

How to Read this Report

This GigaOm report is one of a series of documents that helps IT organizations assess competing solutions in the context of well-defined features and criteria. For a fuller understanding, consider reviewing the following reports:

Key Criteria report: A detailed market sector analysis that assesses the impact that key product features and criteria have on top-line solution characteristics—such as scalability, performance, and TCO—that drive purchase decisions.

GigaOm Radar report: A forward-looking analysis that plots the relative value and progression of vendor solutions along multiple axes based on strategy and execution. The Radar report includes a breakdown of each vendor’s offering in the sector.

Solution Profile: An in-depth vendor analysis that builds on the framework developed in the Key Criteria and Radar reports to assess a company’s engagement within a technology sector. This analysis includes forward-looking guidance around both strategy and product.

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