Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Getting an A in software release management demands automation

Wednesday, March 20, 2013 9:19 AMGetting an A in software release management demands automationPuppet LabsScott Johnston

Agile techniques and automation can greatly improve software release management, according to Addteq CEO Surinderpal Kumar in his article, "Changing Trends in Software Release Management." Kumar says that going halfway to agile, with a nod toward practices like standup meetings won't cut it. To really get the benefit of agile and improve the reliability and speed of your software release management practices, you must also invest in automation.

Here are some ideas about how automation can help you with software release management:

  • Building, testing, and deployment are your top automation candidates so that your team can focus on what they do best. If a developer commits his changes to version control, the changes then get automatically integrated with all modules, and the assemblies you send to testing are deployed to a realistically production-like environment. And, if the platform changes, it gets automatically built and deployed on a test bed. Capacity tests can be automated too. The payoff? While the release management team will have to nod at some manual check points, within each activity of the deployment pipeline, you only have to pay attention when something fails.
  • You can push version releases to a repository, from which new versions can be pulled – you guessed it – automatically by systems that need to use them.
  • If your development, test, and operations teams are geographically dispersed, creating and maintaining multiple environments is a big challenge. By using virtualization and cloud platforms, you can eliminate some of the struggle. In fact, release management teams in some companies have begun to virtualize their deployment automation. That means the version history of all supported platforms is maintained the same way code and configuration history are maintained. Automation makes all of this repeatable, fast, and clear – build it once and reap the benefits many times.

In other words, to be truly agile, remember this mantra: If it can move, automate it.

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