This post is from the XebiaLabs blog and has not been updated since the original publish date.
Why application deployment scripts fall short in supporting today's enterprise.
Application deployment scripts have been around for some time now and today they still play a major role in the enterprise when it comes to deploying applications in Development, Test, Acceptance and Production (DTAP) environments. This common IT practice made sense when there were fewer applications to support and when enterprise applications were monolithic and deployment was to a single platform and deployments weren’t as frequent. However, the IT landscape has changed drastically in the last few years with more and more applications coming online everyday. Additionally, applications and platforms are no longer single entities; they have been componentized making deployments more complex than ever before. The IT landscape will continue to change, as we speak the adoption rate of virtualization and cloud computing is on the rise, which again will reshape how an application is viewed and deployed. The business landscape has also changed drastically. The business is now required to reach out to a global marketplace while working under a more stringent global economy. This places a lot of pressure on the enterprises IT infrastructure to be more efficient in building new applications and updating current applications to support the lines of business within the enterprise. We can already see many enterprises re-tooling their IT infrastructure to support this ever-changing environment. However, we’ve noticed very little re-tooling when it comes to application deployments. We’ve also noticed that scripts are still being used and in some cases deployments are being done by hand. Well, you ask what’s so wrong with that? Well if you are doing it by hand, then you know how time consuming this process can be as well as how error prone, not to mention that it’s a process that won’t scale. If you are using scripts then you know that your scripts are only as good as your ability to maintain them which is a costly proposition as changes to the applications and platforms are always changing as a result you need highly skilled resources to maintain them. The other problem with homegrown scripting solutions are that they aren’t developed to adhere to enterprise software or enterprise architecture standards, and as a result they lack common enterprise class functionality like: Role Based Security, Audit Trails, Reporting, Integration to existing tools, Flexibility to easily support new applications and platforms, just to name a few. When you consider the cost of maintaining scripts, the lack of enterprise functionality, the increasing number and complexity of new applications and middleware platforms impinging the enterprise. It’s clear that it’s time for a new breed of application deployment tools, which will better serve the enterprise of today and tomorrow.