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This post is from the XebiaLabs blog and has not been updated since the original publish date.

Last Updated Mar 19, 2018 — DevOps Expert

5 Ways to Optimize Your Dev-Ops-Dev Feedback Loop with XL Release and OpsGenie

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OpsGenie and XebiaLabs recently created a partnership and integrated their tools. This new integration enables users to close the feedback loop between Dev and Ops and really push the Continuous Delivery pipeline far into the world of operations.

Read on to learn about the great benefits of this integration for helping you optimize the feedback loop between Dev and Ops. We’ll also offer concrete examples of how XL Release and OpsGenie work together.

1. Speed up software delivery while dramatically reducing false positives

These days, most systems are continuously monitored, so if something goes wrong you can take immediate action. While organizations can improve the speed of delivery with good Continuous Delivery practices, the number of deployments to production is going up. Imagine doing a lot of deployments that cause a little downtime. The downtime might be short, but your monitoring systems will start alerting you every time. The XebiaLabs and OpsGenie integration lets you avoid this. In addition, a lot of deployments to production bring down systems. For some systems, a restart is inevitable. When integrating your Continuous Delivery pipeline with your monitoring and alerting systems, one great benefit is that the number of false positives will go down dramatically. With the XL Release and OpsGenie integration, you can easily mute alerts so you’re not getting false positives for things like planned downtime due to more frequent deployments. This helps you focus on real problems and maintains trust in your alerting systems.

2. Only trigger an action when needed

The second step is to start monitoring your releases and devising a plan to put people into motion in case something goes wrong during the release. For example, what if a release fails? Or what if a release that was planned during the night doesn’t successfully execute? You must be ready to take immediate action, such as triggering a rollback or even fixing it manually. Through the XL Release and OpsGenie integration, you can build triggers into your pipeline, so you can take action exactly when needed. You simply make use of the existing channels that are setup in OpsGenie and get the right people moving.

3. Set up the right alerts on the right channels

Whether a deployment has failed or is successful, you need to be sure you’re sending the right message to the right teams every time. ChatOps communication channels like Slack or Stride can easily get messy if there are too many messages or if messages are going to people who are not interested in them at all. With the integration between XL Release and OpsGenie, you can connect a specific release pipeline to a specific team in OpsGenie. If a team in OpsGenie is connected to certain communication channels, the information automatically flows from the release towards the right people. For example, operations people on duty should only receive messages when they must take action. And if they receive a message, it should include the right context, so they can immediately take the remedial action. You can use XL Release to configure a message that indicates what happened and exactly which deployment is affected. This can be sent to the operations engineers automatically via OpsGenie. As another example, assume one of your development teams is working on your mobile app and that they have a strong nightly build process in place. You can set up XL Release to automatically send messages over the communication channel that your team uses every time something happens that they should be aware of.
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4. Set up an automated approach that takes advantage of existing escalation schemes

So, you’ve done steps 1,2, and 3 and all your integrations are setup. Great! But it gets even better. Instead of creating escalations via email or phone, you can now do it directly from your C pipeline using well-known, existing escalation schemes in OpsGenie. And through the OpsGenie and XL Release integration, you can automatically initiate the right escalation scheme. For example: a deployment is failing, and it’s impossible to automatically bring back the system in the previous state. The only way to resolve the problem is to contact a certain group of engineers with the expertise to fix it. XL Release and OpsGenie do this automatically if you connect your pipeline to the right scheme.

5. Use ChatOps to facilitate inter-team communication and updates

Both OpsGenie and XebiaLabs believe in the power of communication solutions like Slack, Stride, and others for development teams. Building automated notifications from your monitoring tools into these channels is, for many teams, common practice. Connecting your Continuous Delivery pipeline brings it to a whole new level, allowing teams to understand what’s going on with their pipeline and when to take action.

Best practices for bringing Dev and Ops closer together

Bringing Dev and Ops closer together is not an easy journey. It requires perseverance and continuous dedication. While bridging the gap between Dev and Ops from a tooling perspective is a big step forward, it’s just one piece of the larger puzzle. Here are few best practices for encouraging a culture of collaboration:
  • Every so often, bring everyone physically together in one room to enable clear and easy communication
  • Work together to define shared goals
  • Work on the same team-board on the wall using Kanban and/or Scrum practices to identify what really matters
  • Create one shared definition of “done”
By using an integrated solution like XL Release and OpsGenie and following best practices such as those above, you’ll take an important step forward in closing the gap between Dev and Ops and strengthening your Continuous Delivery pipeline.

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