Take Release Automation to the Next Level, Episode 6: Getting Started with Advanced Deployment Patterns
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.
In the “Take Release Automation to the Next Level," we’ve seen how the DevOps best practice of deployment patterns can help you speed up the software delivery cycle while maintaining control over the way your applications are deployed. Deployment patterns 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. But while advanced deployment patterns can help you take release and deployment automation to the next level, there are some considerations to keep in mind before you start applying them. There are also best practices that you can follow to reduce the risk of adopting them.
What to Consider When Adopting Advanced Deployment Patterns
1. You might need to change your applications. Minimizing or eliminating downtime often requires multiple versions of the application to be active in Production at the same time, which might require you to change your applications at the code level. 2. Running multiple application versions at the same time means that the database must be compatible with all active versions. You must decouple database updates from application updates. In addition, Development teams must design database changes to be backward compatible. In practice, maintaining compatibility has consequences for both database changes and application logic. 3. You might need to change your infrastructure. Some deployment patterns require you to create and maintain multiple environments that end users can access. Many DevOps teams achieve a multi-environment setup by using virtual infrastructure in the form of cloud-based environments. They might also containerize applications so that they can more easily stop, start, scale up, scale down, and load-balance them using container management and orchestration tools. However, shifting from on-premises infrastructure and traditional middleware platforms to containers and the cloud cannot be done overnight. Most applications require architecture changes to run effectively in such environments.
Best Practices When Using Advanced Deployment Patterns
1. Limit the number of application versions that are live at the same time to two. This approach reduces the complexity of deployments, infrastructure management, and database compatibility. 2. Deploy in small increments, only releasing a few features at a time. This approach, which is one of the core principles of DevOps, reduces deployment risk because the more frequently you release software, the more reliable your release process becomes, as teams have a greater incentive to fix problems and improve the process. Deploying small increments also reduces lead time, which is the time that elapses between the start of feature development until that feature is available to end users. Reduced lead time is one of the key goals of Continuous Delivery, as it enables you to deliver value to users and to the market faster. 3. Manage risk by refactoring monolithic applications into microservices that you can deploy independently. Microservices can give you more control over the impact of changes to the environment. They can also increase development throughput and enable faster development cycles, as new features are typically delivered as one or more microservices and don’t require changing the entire application.
Advanced Deployment with the XebiaLabs DevOps Platform
The XebiaLabs DevOps Platform provides deployment automation and release orchestration for your entire software delivery pipeline. It makes release and deployment practices across the enterprise reusable, scalable, and secure through:
- Proven templates that work for Production deployments at enterprise scale
- Integrated support for both automated and manual release activities
- Visibility into the status of running releases and deployments
- Proactive notification of delays and bottlenecks in the process
- Detailed error analysis for troubleshooting failed releases and deployments
- Fully auditable releases and deployments, with detailed reports and analytics
- Granular, role-based access control over all applications and environments
- Episode 1: Speed Up Delivery with Advanced Deployment Patterns
- Episode 2: Blaze a Trail with Blue/Green Deployments
- Episode 3: Rock Your Pipeline with Rolling Updates
- Episode 4: Create Stability with Canary Releases
- Episode 5: Demonstrate Value with Dark Launches and Features Toggles
- Best Practices for DevOps: Advanced Deployment Patterns