Elimination of release management and the rise of continuous delivery

Ways to manage innovation inside your organizations 

February 2017


Written by: Jason Spight

Release Management involves the coordination of both technical and human resources with the objective of deploying software or hardware for a specific business purpose. Deployment of software includes new software development, or hardware components, routine repairs, and systematic system upgrade to achieve business driven innovations [insert link]. Release management poses many issues during software deployment. Firstly, it is a sophisticated process, and uses complex form of technology during software deployment, which may cause several issues especially with the development team. Secondly, it requires clear understanding of the client’s software requirements to be able to form a detailed picture of the deployment process. For every session, managers have to determine the starting point, and sometimes test environments are limited or not well managed. When this happens, software take long to be deployed. Thirdly, release management requires the establishment of a structured cycle to be able carry out routine testing to create accurate software that gives confidence to users. Software should be tested and reviewed early enough. They also require a lot of technical documentation, which users can read and refer to when a problem arises.

In addition, software deployment require establishing the infrastructure needed early enough before software deployment. Infrastructure covers hardware, storage, network connectivity, licenses, access permission, user profile, and users’ skills. Software developers have an obligation to not only build great software but also software that is accessible and easy to use. Lastly, successful deployment of packages requires automation and standardization to be able to carry out various tasks, ensure consistency of input and outputs during data management. Ideally, many things contribute to the success of software deployment, and release management allows for proper testing of software before deploying them into the market, which is one of the most important steps before software deployment.

The problem with software deployment in Release Management is its dependent on a chain of systems and requires several resources and planning. Deployment impact analysis carried out by specialized and cross-functional teams insist on proper measures for a successful delivery. Changes to any system component in the chain affect the whole deployment package. The root cause of the abandonment of the Release Management is its complexity in management of updates required. The introduction of Microservices [insert link] in the architecture pattern with independent software and hardware eliminates Release Management and gives rise to Continuous Delivery. The increased interest in microservices has led to the introduction of Continuous Delivery in software deployment. The Continuous Delivery enables high-quality functionality and highly effective loop between your business and your users. Continuous Delivery ensures relevance, quality, and success of the end product.

The software is ready from the first day of the project and if pushed by users, the software can be released even before completion of the whole feature. It also allows users to react quickly and adapt to change in technology. Additionally, it is reliable, more efficient and saves on time needed in automation of tasks. Several practices and patterns are responsible for successful software deployment, but excellent configuration, continuous integration and comprehensive automated testing are some of the key elements. Microservices business functionality allows for a composition of independent, self-contained deployment cycles. For businesses that want to stay on top of the competitors, they must adopt and elevate Continuous Delivery.

The architecture pattern allows the monolithic application to be split into small bits to create room for flexible and agile productivity within the company. With Microservices, things have moved fast with the introduction of complex architecture and overhead management particularly the testing stage. The independent pattern allows frequent updates without the need to change other entities in the system. An independent microservice resides inside a segmented virtual machine with self-contained data storage, and output is in the form of data services only and not tightly coupled integrations. Changes to any components in the system with Microservices are now possible and fast without the risk of changing the whole system. Continuous delivery is all about establishing the shortest and fastest possible feedback in every aspect of software development.

An example of a Microservices software deployment is the Docker software. This open source project automates software deployment inside software containers and makes it easy to create, deploy, and run applications. It allows software engineers to develop applications from micro services without any inconsistencies between development and the production stage or any language barrier.

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