Welcome!

Related Topics: IBM Cloud, Linux Containers, Containers Expo Blog, @DevOpsSummit

IBM Cloud: Blog Feed Post

The ‘What’ and ‘Why’ Behind Continuous Delivery | @DevOpsSummit #CD #Agile #DevOps

Users’ needs have evolved – they expect more releases and features which waterfall just isn’t able to deliver

The ‘What’ and ‘Why’ Behind Continuous Delivery
By Ron Gidron

In the digital age, speed is everything and no-one wants to be left behind. Being slow to react is the first and, most likely, final nail in the coffin for a 21st century company. The rigidity of the traditional ‘waterfall' development approach was overhauled by the ‘agile' philosophy. And with agility things have changed; its brought into reality the idea of continuous delivery.

Move with the Times or Get Left Behind
But what is continuous delivery? Simply put, it's the ability to push any kind of change, be it new functionality, code updates, bug squashes or the like, into production environments quickly and safely. Not only this, but each release must be stable and sustainable. Continuous delivery eradicates pesky time-consuming processes and freeze periods, as it removes the need for dedicated silos of integration and testing. This is all achieved by creating code which is always in a state fit for deployment. In theory, continuous delivery enables us to release stable code to production at any given time - an approach demanded by the needs of the end user and impossible to achieve through waterfall-styled development.

Those who have adopted continuous delivery are already reaping the rewards. They're seeing how it significantly improves your time-to-market: as your changes can be published almost instantly, you're no longer restricted by a rigid release schedule. You become much faster to react, to iron out bugs and release features. Your customers are more satisfied than before, which is what we ultimately strive for.

Shipping a release has traditionally been momentous, something we want to shout about, and rightly so. Ironing out those bugs or releasing those long sought-after features is no small feat and takes a huge amount of effort from everyone involved. There's nothing worse than shipping, only for new bugs to crop up, or the software to crash. Continuous delivery allows you (in theory) to continually deploy - just not always to customers. Pushing your stable code to UAT environments or staging reduces the risk around the production release. Now, you're no longer deploying once every few months: you can be releasing every single day.

There are often barriers, inefficiencies and hidden costs in the release cycle which, historically, went unnoticed until launch. Continuous delivery highlights all these flaws, making them clear to the business and senior management members, who are in charge of making decisions. Pipelines will be much more transparent: you'll know where and when manual, human input will be required, where bottlenecks will crop up, where automation can be implemented. The pipeline now creates a clear incentive for a dynamic software delivery schedule, replacing a notion of dissatisfaction with costly, long and arduous release windows.

Flexibility is one of the main selling points of the model. Yes, there is an initial outlay in terms of infrastructure, in both software and operational architectures, but once this seed is sown, the benefits are there to be reaped. Features and fixes are now available to be pushed to specific individuals or customer subsets, ensuring the functionality works as expected. Or the features can remain dormant within the product, awaiting a future release which could be sparked by a marketing push for example. In the past, trying to devise such functionality would have been a logistical and costly nightmare. With continuous delivery, it's par for the course.

The rewards speak for themselves. Like I said, continuous delivery is simple - in theory. The difficulties arise in its implementation.

The Pains of Changing
The main challenge you may encounter while trying to implement continuous delivery will probably be organizational. While more and more companies are working toward implementing a DevOps culture - structurally, they may not yet be ready for continuous delivery. You'll still find plenty of firms are split into seemingly countless divisions, each of which ‘owns' a particular product, feature, or codebase. Each division is going to have its own goals, targets and KPIs it must meet. Trying to bring these ‘opposing' factions together can be a logistical nightmare which could prove to be the undoing of your dreams of agility.

Therein lies the problem. For large companies, it can take months, if not years, to move complex applications to continuous delivery. It requires a complete mind-set overhaul to adapt to this new process. New behaviors and practices must be learned, architecture will probably need revisiting as will software development processes. Top-down changes must be implemented in order to promote a culture of collaboration.

In all honesty, continuous delivery can seem a tough sell when presenting the concept to senior management for a number of reasons. Firstly, they have their own day-to-day tasks to see to, which depending on seniority levels, are going to take up much of their time. They may not be as tech-minded as yourself and may not be able to immediately see the benefits of implementation. They also have their own views, priorities and goals, which may vary from yours.

The barriers to employing continuous delivery may seem insurmountable at times but, as we've seen, the benefits of the approach speak for themselves. That's how you'll sell the approach to senior stakeholders.

Automation is the key
Continuous delivery has revolutionized the way we develop and release software, but without automation, arguably it wouldn't be possible at all. Automating the entire pipeline, from code submission, through testing and environmental deployments is crucial to being able to obtain true continuous delivery.

The entire philosophy is built around flexibility, around agility; code changes and releases could be occurring at any time. Without the right automation processes in place, saving manual testing, deployment and releases, we'd be back at square one: the cumbersome waterfall approach. Manually overseeing each of these processes would completely defeat the entire goal of continuous delivery. But, like I said, times really have (a) changed.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Automic Blog

Automic, a leader in business automation, helps enterprises drive competitive advantage by automating their IT factory - from on-premise to the Cloud, Big Data and the Internet of Things.

With offices across North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific, Automic powers over 2,600 customers including Bosch, PSA, BT, Carphone Warehouse, Deutsche Post, Societe Generale, TUI and Swisscom. The company is privately held by EQT. More information can be found at www.automic.com.

Latest Stories
Cloud resources, although available in abundance, are inherently volatile. For transactional computing, like ERP and most enterprise software, this is a challenge as transactional integrity and data fidelity is paramount – making it a challenge to create cloud native applications while relying on RDBMS. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Claus Jepsen, Chief Architect and Head of Innovation Labs at Unit4, will explore that in order to create distributed and scalable solutions ensuring high availa...
For financial firms, the cloud is going to increasingly become a crucial part of dealing with customers over the next five years and beyond, particularly with the growing use and acceptance of virtual currencies. There are new data storage paradigms on the horizon that will deliver secure solutions for storing and moving sensitive financial data around the world without touching terrestrial networks. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Cliff Beek, President of Cloud Constellation Corporation, d...
Internet-of-Things discussions can end up either going down the consumer gadget rabbit hole or focused on the sort of data logging that industrial manufacturers have been doing forever. However, in fact, companies today are already using IoT data both to optimize their operational technology and to improve the experience of customer interactions in novel ways. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Gordon Haff, Red Hat Technology Evangelist, shared examples from a wide range of industries – including en...
In IT, we sometimes coin terms for things before we know exactly what they are and how they’ll be used. The resulting terms may capture a common set of aspirations and goals – as “cloud” did broadly for on-demand, self-service, and flexible computing. But such a term can also lump together diverse and even competing practices, technologies, and priorities to the point where important distinctions are glossed over and lost.
In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Kelly Looney, director of DevOps consulting for Skytap, showed how an incremental approach to introducing containers into complex, distributed applications results in modernization with less risk and more reward. He also shared the story of how Skytap used Docker to get out of the business of managing infrastructure, and into the business of delivering innovation and business value. Attendees learned how up-front planning allows for a clean sep...
Detecting internal user threats in the Big Data eco-system is challenging and cumbersome. Many organizations monitor internal usage of the Big Data eco-system using a set of alerts. This is not a scalable process given the increase in the number of alerts with the accelerating growth in data volume and user base. Organizations are increasingly leveraging machine learning to monitor only those data elements that are sensitive and critical, autonomously establish monitoring policies, and to detect...
Most companies are adopting or evaluating container technology - Docker in particular - to speed up application deployment, drive down cost, ease management and make application delivery more flexible overall. As with most new architectures, this dream takes a lot of work to become a reality. Even when you do get your application componentized enough and packaged properly, there are still challenges for DevOps teams to making the shift to continuous delivery and achieving that reduction in cost ...
Enterprise architects are increasingly adopting multi-cloud strategies as they seek to utilize existing data center assets, leverage the advantages of cloud computing and avoid cloud vendor lock-in. This requires a globally aware traffic management strategy that can monitor infrastructure health across data centers and end-user experience globally, while responding to control changes and system specification at the speed of today’s DevOps teams. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Josh Gray, Chie...
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. Jack Norris reviews best practices to show how companies develop, deploy, and dynamically update these applications and how this data-first...
Intelligent Automation is now one of the key business imperatives for CIOs and CISOs impacting all areas of business today. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Brian Boeggeman, VP Alliances & Partnerships at Ayehu, will talk about how business value is created and delivered through intelligent automation to today’s enterprises. The open ecosystem platform approach toward Intelligent Automation that Ayehu delivers to the market is core to enabling the creation of the self-driving enterprise.
"At the keynote this morning we spoke about the value proposition of Nutanix, of having a DevOps culture and a mindset, and the business outcomes of achieving agility and scale, which everybody here is trying to accomplish," noted Mark Lavi, DevOps Solution Architect at Nutanix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"We're here to tell the world about our cloud-scale infrastructure that we have at Juniper combined with the world-class security that we put into the cloud," explained Lisa Guess, VP of Systems Engineering at Juniper Networks, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Historically, some banking activities such as trading have been relying heavily on analytics and cutting edge algorithmic tools. The coming of age of powerful data analytics solutions combined with the development of intelligent algorithms have created new opportunities for financial institutions. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Sebastien Meunier, Head of Digital for North America at Chappuis Halder & Co., discussed how these tools can be leveraged to develop a lasting competitive advantage ...
WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web communications world. The 6th WebRTC Summit continues our tradition of delivering the latest and greatest presentations within the world of WebRTC. Topics include voice calling, video chat, P2P file sharing, and use cases that have already leveraged the power and convenience of WebRTC.
"We're a cybersecurity firm that specializes in engineering security solutions both at the software and hardware level. Security cannot be an after-the-fact afterthought, which is what it's become," stated Richard Blech, Chief Executive Officer at Secure Channels, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.