Simplify developers' deployment journey with continuous deployment

Most development teams struggle early in the process of shifting to cloud native application development and deployment. Their existing tool chains that have served them well in the past struggle with them as they attempt to scale their deployment footprint. The last thing they want to do is invest time in becoming experts in deployment. They don’t want to create or troubleshoot a deployment process -- they want to code with a GitOps approach, and know their software has been deployed successfully, is working as expected, and providing value to the customer. How can team leaders satisfy those desires? Automated continuous deployment. Continuous deployment simplifies delivery, ensures the software works at each deployment stage and allows developers to focus on what they do best.

When it comes to the development cycle, faster is better. Companies with higher release rates generate four to five times higher revenue growth than those pushing updates less often. To keep up with the competition, fast and efficient deployment of quality, stable software is the priority.

Cloud first companies and elite teams in companies that were early to the cloud native party often prefer to implement continuous deployment by building very curated deployment environments and orchestrating and controlling every aspect of the continuous integration through deployment process (i.e. an imperative approach). Teams new to the world of cloud native often try to avoid the complexity that comes with that level of flexibility and customization. They just want automation to solve the problem for them (i.e. a declarative approach). They don’t care about the deployment journey -- they just want to get to the destination, which is successfully deployed software. Regardless of the preferred use case, continuous deployment fast tracks elite, cloud native experienced teams and newbies to the terminus.

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What is continuous deployment?

Continuous deployment picks up where continuous integration and continuous delivery leave off, when code is pushed to the production phase. Continuous deployment automates the entire release process, making releasing updates simple, reliable, predictable and repeatable once the code has passed all the required test and compliance checks. By fully automating the process, continuous deployment eliminates the majority of troubleshooting typically required to successfully deploy code, allowing developers to focus on creating new features and remediating bugs.

Progressive deployment provides even more peace of mind for developers. The technique uses progressive rollouts to reduce the "blast radius" of a production code change by allowing the development team to manage the number of users exposed to the update. A small audience receives the new code; then, observability tools gather data on the update’s health. If it meets predetermined metrics, progressive deployment automatically promotes the code to a wider audience. The process repeats until all users receive the release. If an issue arises, the software is automatically rolled back to a previously designated version. The entire process reduces deployment complexity for faster development.

How continuous deployment can help you achieve elite DORA metrics

Using continuous deployment with progressive rollouts minimizes the risks of deploying new software, reducing remediation time, preventing downtime, reducing human error and lightening workloads. When using progressive deployment, developers can feel confident in a successful software release due to the automated quality checks at each stage. Instead of watching the feedback nervously and being on standby in case of problems, developers can write new code while the process monitors the update’s health. Bad code gets rolled back quickly with little impact and without requiring human oversight. Development teams receive continuous feedback, providing the agility to pivot when unexpected issues arise.

Using the extra time not spent on troubleshooting, development teams get a jump start on coding the next update. The limited release radius allows developers to test new solutions and features in a live environment with minimal risk. With the additional time and security provided by progressive development, developers can be more innovative, improving the overall software quality and cycle speed. Rather than waiting weeks or months for updates, users can receive high-quality software daily..

Developers’ value is in their ability to write great code, not managing complex deployment processes. Progressive deployment gives your business a competitive edge by eliminating tedious tasks and freeing your teams to do work that sets you apart from the crowd. Automated deployment simplifies a complex but vital process and speeds up the delivery cycle while maintaining the customers’ quality of service.

Image credit: nd3000 / Shutterstock

Jim Douglas is the chief executive officer of Armory, the continuous deployment (CD) company empowering development teams to easily, reliably, safely and continuously deploy software at any scale. Douglas is a transformational B2B software executive with substantial global experience scaling companies from start up to Mid-Cap. He was previously president & chief executive officer of Wind River, president & chief executive officer of CodeGear, president and chief executive officer of ReShape Inc., and held various executive leadership roles at Cadence.

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