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

Last Updated Sep 10, 2018 — DevOps Expert

Take Release Automation to the Next Level, Episode 1: Speed Up Delivery with Advanced Deployment Patterns

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The “Take Release Automation to the Next Level” series gives you insights into the benefits and challenges surrounding DevOps deployment patterns. In this series, we’ll look at how different patterns work, the advantages and disadvantages of each one, considerations for implementing them, and best practices when applying them.

Getting new software to your users without interrupting their experience is hard; how do you upgrade an application that’s in active use? And if you do take an application offline for an update, what happens if something goes wrong? It’s tempting to try to minimize downtime and reduce release risks by implementing extensive manual processes and procedures—but pre-release work that isn’t automated slows down delivery and makes it hard to roll out new features. The good news is that you can avoid time-consuming manual work while reducing release risks by following DevOps principles to automate the release and deployment process. And as you automate, using advanced deployment patterns can help you speed up the software delivery cycle while maintaining control over the way your applications are deployed.

Reducing Application Downtime Is Critical

Application downtime is expensive, so most enterprises strive to minimize or, better yet, eliminate it. Reducing downtime when you need to roll out software patches or new features is a technical challenge. But as an organization starts to automate software delivery pipelines and to deliver applications to Production more often, avoiding downtime with application release evolves from a “nice-to-have” into something that’s critical for the business. But simply automating manual activities isn’t always enough; organizations need to ensure that DevOps teams implement automated processes in a consistent way, so that those processes can be scaled across the enterprise. Advanced deployment patterns provide a flexible structure that you can use when automating the release of new software.

Why Advanced Deployment Patterns?

Flexible deployment patterns such as blue/green deployments, rolling updates, canary releases, dark launches, and feature toggles allow you to control the technical deployment of new software versions as well as the rollout of new features to users. You can even release features to limited user groups and test them in Production with much less risk than if you made them generally available. Throughout the “Take Release Automation to the Next Level” series, we’ll look at each pattern in detail and discuss its advantages and disadvantages.Advanced deployment patterns can help you:
  • Minimize application downtime and work toward the goal of zero downtime
  • Predict and contain release and deployment risks
  • Manage and resolve incidents with minimal impact on end users
  • Achieve predictable, repeatable software deployments
  • Address failed deployments in a reliable, effective way
However, implementing advanced deployment patterns in the enterprise can add a layer of complexity to application releases. To ensure technical and business requirements are met and to facilitate troubleshooting, release and deployment processes should be repeatable across teams, applications, and environments. But if you aren’t careful, adopting advanced deployment patterns can lead you down the opposite path: one where you create custom deployment flows for each application or environment. And if you don’t have a solution for automatic rollback in the event of a deployment failure, using deployment patterns can increase the difficulty and risk of rolling back application updates. For these reasons, even teams that have automated their deployment processes may struggle to apply deployment patterns effectively.
Application Release AutomationBest Practices for DevOps: Advanced Deployment PatternsThis white paper gives you insights into the DevOps best practice of advanced deployment patterns. It describes how each pattern works, the advantages and disadvantages of each one, considerations for implementing them, and best practices when applying them. Read more.

The XebiaLabs DevOps Platform Makes it Easy to Adopt Advanced Deployment Patterns

The XebiaLabs DevOps Platform provides deployment automation and release orchestration for your entire software delivery pipeline. It includes fully integrated, out-of-the-box support for blue/green deployments, rolling updates, canary releases, dark launches, and feature toggles. With XebiaLabs, you can create scalable release and deployment processes that DevOps teams can easily reuse across applications and environments—all without writing scripts or building workflows by hand. And XebiaLabs supports fully automated rollbacks that reduce the risk of errors and application downtime. Take control of release and deployment processes and give your teams the flexibility to best meet each application’s unique needs.

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