Continuous Delivery Environments Explained
You’ve heard the buzz words such as Continuous Delivery Environments and DevOps but what does it really mean and how can it benefit you?
One of the biggest challenges in software development is the ability of the team to rapidly deliver high quality software. After all, developing great software that captures the critical requirements, elegantly solves problems and maintains a high quality is not easy.
Most importantly, business dictates that software has no business value to the organization unless it is in production. Today, the pace of business is faster than ever. Disruptive technology is introduced almost daily that can bring about obsolescence quickly. Business priorities and plans change constantly which makes it imperative that new ideas find their way to clients rapidly. Given this environment, the old methods of software process just don’t cut it anymore.
This is why the agile software methodology has gained enormous popularity and adoption over the last 10 years. The agile process can help a company accelerate development time, improve quality, prioritize business value and shorten time to production.
Taking an idea from concept to delivery has a lot of steps in between it, otherwise referred to as the software life cycle. Skipping steps in the cycle have consequences that are often overlooked in the desire to deliver. This is often referred to as technical debt, which most definitely is paid in one way or another.
The agile software methodology has brought much benefit to software processes. However, the supporting development environments have not kept pace. Many organizations struggle with their environment because it was not designed to fully support the principals of agile and the practices necessary to properly execute it.
A Continuous Delivery Environment helps solve this problem. It addresses the often overlooked daily mechanics of delivering software by automating it. This realization has brought about a DevOps revolution over the last 5 years.
DevOps is the fusion of development and operations. It stresses communication, collaboration, integration and automation between software teams, infrastructure and other IT resources. A focus on DevOps by organizations is improving the overall performance of IT. In fact, we are now seeing the creation of a DevOps Engineer position in many organizations.
So What Does A Continuous Delivery Environment Do?
A Continuous Delivery Environment automates the build, test and deploy processes to fully support agile software practices. This allows software teams to routinely merge code into version control and trigger automatic builds and tests to receive instant notification if the build breaks. A broken build is the number one priority to keep the team working.
A Continuous Delivery Environment also automates unit tests and acceptance tests to allow detection of problems introduced by changes. This vastly improves quality by building it into the process. Addressing issues early is significantly less expensive. It is a far better alternative than allowing your clients to find the problems.
Deployment automation is a critical capability in a Continuous Delivery Environment that allows functionality to be easily deployed through the various environments. These environments may be QA, demo, User Acceptance or production environments.
Automating deployment not only saves significant time but also reduces risk and downtime. Manual deployments are notorious for exposing issues to your client base. Code mismatches, configuration issues, database incompatibilities and other maladies routinely cause expensive fire drills. In addition, automated deployments can also address regulatory and compliance issues that may require segregated access to various environments.
A Continuous Delivery Environment can be challenging to setup and configure. The numerous availability of tools and their compatibility with a given environment add to the complexity. Other challenges such as the scripting that glues the components together and delivers the magic of automation demand a steep learning curve. Scripting also requires specialized knowledge and knowing how to connect the various tools.
Despite the challenges, more organizations are realizing that the extra effort is worth it. High performing IT teams make a big difference to the ability and bottom line of a company. Rapid, high quality software delivery transitions the IT team from cost center to revenue generator in a software driven world. This is why we are seeing the investment in DevOps starting to take hold in more companies.
The end goal is to ensure your software is always in a state where it can easily be deployed.
The agile software process and a Continuous Delivery Environment are strong allies in increasing team productivity. However, there is one more critical piece that brings it all together.
That is a culture of high performance IT teams that embrace the process, the Continuous Delivery Environment, the best practices, the communication and collaboration. This culture routinely deploys new features or changes regularly, identifies and removes roadblocks and adds business value on a daily basis.
We will have plenty more on developing a high performing IT culture in our next and other blog posts.
Contact Us to learn more about How Continuous Delivery can help your development team
Third Wave is a boutique software development company located in Boca Raton, Florida. Our business acumen, agile development solutions, and perfected continuous development process offer unmatched levels of expert crafted software and development services. Our team is dedicated to helping companies break into the new era of rapidly changing business trends with adaptive technology that provides sophisticated business solutions.
Third Wave also offers Cloud CDE, a fully automated cloud based Continuous Delivery Environment “in a box”. Cloud CDE and our consulting services provide a jump start to organizations that are ready to start transforming their culture to a high performing IT organization.