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

Last Updated May 27, 2014 — DevOps Expert

Can You Afford to Lose a Dev Team for a Week Before a Release?


LoseDevTeamRecently we were talking to one of our customers about a tough situation they experienced prior to implementing a deployment automation solution. The team was completing the last features before a major release of a key system when the auditors paid a visit. Of course, auditors don’t come knocking at the team’s door…but it ultimately turned out that the team was the only one that could actually find, collect and explain the data that the auditors needed.

The auditors needed all the data to show the path of a software release from the year before.  As in most companies, the data was indeed there, but it was stored in many different places, in logs on different servers, reports, tickets, emails and more.  And as you might have experienced from your own audits, once the team had finally scraped the information together, it was mixed in with lots of other data (e.g. if you look at a server log file, which bit is the “deployment bit”?). To add to this, the raw data was naturally in a format the auditors, as non-technical people, were not able to understand. To cut a long story short: in order to fulfill their statutory audit requirement, the company had to take the Dev team off the big release for two weeks. The audit thus not only cost an incredible amount of money and time, but resulted in a delay of a major release and significant loss of revenue for the business.

Knowledge is Power

Deployment automation captures all the information you need for an audit in a central place.  You can track your apps every step of the way, view which specific machines were touched and easily check time stamps for verification. It can provide reports even a non-technical person can understand. It will also give you the controls you need to go into an audit situation with confidence.So when it comes to your organization, consider these 3 questions:
  1. How many systems would you have to touch to gather every log for every deployment?
  2. Once the data is collected, is it written for techies, or presented in a manner a non-technical person, such as an auditor, could understand?
  3. Do you have time to manually collect all this data if the auditors come knocking on your door?
How do you prepare for/handle audits? Have you run into similar situations in the past? What happened and did you find creative solutions to avoid them?

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