This post is from the XebiaLabs blog and has not been updated since the original publish date.
Why Application Release Automation needs a Release and an Operations view
As the interface between Development and Operations, Application Release Management1 handles information that is highly relevant to your Release and Operations teams. Selecting an Application Release Automation solution that provides insight and analytics from both perspectives is thus a key component of an effective DevOps strategy. Here, we explain how XL Deploy's Infrastructure and new Release Overview features help you achieve this goal.
Continuous Delivery & the Release PerspectiveIn today's highly competitive economic environment, the need to bring new features to market quickly, flexibly and reliably is paramount - a goal that is ultimately the aim of the main IT trends Cloud, Agile and DevOps. Continuous Delivery - extending Continuous Integration to automatically transition applications down the Dev-Test-Acc-Prod delivery pipeline - is a key component of this strategy. In order to be able to effectively implement this, your ARA solution needs to allow your developers - or, in larger organisations, release or DevOps teams, to quickly and efficiently answer questions such as:
- How far is MyApplication down the road to Production?
- When will MyApplication take the next step down the road?
- What do I still need to do before that next step can be taken2?
(Virtual) Environment Management & the Operations PerspectiveFrom an Operations point of view, an individual application is only a small part of the picture. Across your Dev-Test-Acc-Prod landscape, you will need to track all applications vying for these environments, to manage potentially conflicting resource requests, plan environment maintenance activities and the like. Since these environments are often owned and managed by different teams and certainly have varying service levels, you will also want to limit your view to one or a subset of these environments at a time. Your Operations or DevOps teams need to know:
- Which application versions are currently deployed to my environment(s), or were deployed at a certain point in time?
- Which components do these applications consist of? On which middleware and infrastructure systems are these components deployed?
- What are the current values of any properties or settings for these components? Which environment-specific customizations have been applied?
Incorporating ARA Data in the Service Delivery PictureWhilst your ARA solution should be your "go-to" platform for answers about how your applications and environments relate, it is equally important to consider when this data might be more effectively embedded in a broader service delivery picture. For example, your ARA platform is not a good candidate for providing a release calendar, since it is not aware of much of the information that is relevant in this context, such as CAB4 meeting schedules, business sign-off dates or operational maintenance windows. It is thus important to ensure that your ARA solution can make its data accessible via APIs such as RSS feeds, iCal calendars and other APIs, to enable effective integrations with the rest of your service delivery tooling.
ConclusionThe right Application Release Automation platform gives your Delivery and Operations teams fast, accurate insight into your application environments and delivery pipeline. Choosing a solution like XL Deploy with focused Operations and Delivery overviews as well as open APIs for easy integration into your overall Service Delivery dashboards and reports greatly enhances the accessibility and effectiveness of your application release management.
- a.k.a. Deployment Automation - choose your favourite ;-)
- For instance, certain blocking release conditions, such as test sign-off, may still need to be met.
- and have long done so in many forward-looking organisations
- Change Advisory Board