Monthly Archives: July 2013

The Benefits of Fail-Safe Application Deployments

(A guest post by Dan Gordon of Electric Cloud)

Enterprises are building, testing, and deploying software faster and more frequently now than at any point in the past. Faced with unprecedented demands, many of these software development organizations are realizing their rollout processes are haphazard, at best. These improvised procedures lead directly to heightened numbers of costly, time-consuming errors that degrade their business agility. Production deployments remain the last mile hurdle in the agile world due to the disconnect between the Dev and Ops teams.

Fortunately, there is a well-regarded, proven collection of best practices and supporting technologies that can go a long way towards making the software deployment process more streamlined, safer and more robust. These fail-safe software deployment techniques deliver an impressive array of business and technological advantages.

  • Design for manufacturability – Transform your software design and implementation procedures into a more mechanized, repeatable series of steps. This help make test results from earlier phases in the delivery cycle relevant for later stages, and lets you perform consistent test in many scenarios over time.
  • Leverage the power of automaton for your software delivery process – Eliminate the unrefined, often manual deployment processes that plaque so many software development organizations. Comprehensive automation technology can have a meaningful impact on productivity and accuracy, just as it has for many other sophisticated businesses practices.
  • Design with failure in mind – The bottom line is failures will occur despite your best efforts, so prepare for inevitable breakdowns. Determine what is an acceptable failure, and by acceptable, we mean a failure that doesn’t need to halt the entire deployment process. Define success and failure thresholds by tier, and allow for partial deployments to complete successfully.
  • Test early and test often – Build a consistent deployment model and test it throughout the entire software deployment lifecycle. Your software deployment platform should reside at the heart of your testing efforts. Taking this approach uncovers any issues well before a crisis develops and lets you evolve the process so your production deployments are smooth and fail-safe.
  • Zero in on defects efficiently – Identifying and correction defects tends to be laborious and inadequate, but fortunately, specialized automation solutions are great for isolating and resolving these problems. This makes troubleshooting complex deployments much more efficient, and results in faster time-to-market.

These techniques can make your software deployment experience faster, smoother and more reliable. By transforming complex software delivery processes into fail-safe production deployments, you will benefit from increased DevOps collaboration, reduced cost and a higher quality of delivered software.

Dan Gordon is a Product Manager at Electric Cloud. Dan brings over 20 years of experience in the IT software industry. At Electric Cloud, Dan is responsible for product strategy, product marketing, tactical alignment and execution with product development, sales and pre-sales enablement and support. Previously, Dan was a product manager and systems architect for the enterprise IT automation software business within HP Software. Dan has also held managing and systems engineering roles at Opsware and Sun Microsystems. Dan holds a bachelor of science in information and computer science from the University of California, Irvine. 

News, 17 July 2013

Happy summer, Northern Hemisphere dwellers.  There’s a break in the rain at Build Doctor South HQ, have some news:

  • IBM acquired UrbanCode.  I guess Build Forge wasn’t addressing the DevOps market the way UrbanCode had.  Top marks to Maciej, Eric, and the guys for a) building multi-stage CI in 2006, and b) pivoting and responding to DevOps.  One consequence of the deal is, they are no longer blog sponsor for The Build Doctor.  Thanks for your support over the years, guys! [Link]
  • Team City 8 is out, and it’s more affordable.  It looks like they focussed on making it a load more usable and faster.  [Link]
  • Sonatype just launched Nexus Pro CLM edition, which allows you to set per-environment policies for artifact promotion.  They are still banging the security drum.  It makes me wonder about the viability of an attack via the M2 repository.  In other news, would you like to use my new meta logging library that delegates to every other logger in the world? It doesn’t phone home, honest. [Link]
  • Electric Deploy now integrates with PTC Integrity.  I have to admit that I’d never heard of the latter tool. [Link]
  • Atlassian have release Bamboo 5, with better support for Release Candiates, deploy jobs,  and features (authorization and communication) about those.  Looks useful.  I’m going to investigate further.  [Link]
  • Speaking of Bamboo, there’s a security advisory, get your upgrades in. [Link]
  • Sauce Labs have announced multi user accounts, and a round of funding – congratulations!  [Link]
  • CloudBees have a new LTS release of Jenkins, with an emphasis on availablity, including the ability to restart aborted builds [Link]