Integrate and Automate: Making The Transition to Continuous Delivery

In Integrate and Automate, Stelligent CEO Paul M. Duvall reminds us what software development is all about. He tells the story of a software application he helped create that was ultimately deployed at a hospital logistics center. It was a thrilling moment—a reminder of what motivates him as a developer.

But there was a nagging problem. That release took two years to deliver. “The primary reason for this delay,” Duvall writes, “was system complexity: a 70-person development team, software that had to be manually installed at the logistics centers, and so on. So, the work got batched and delayed and delayed.” It was, he writes, a maddening process.

Continuous delivery means integrating the entire software system with every code commit. It reduces the time it takes for end users to get their software, and it provides fast, actionable feedback to production teams. Automation is its secret sauce. This mini e book, Integrate and Automate, is the third in a series of six sponsored by Zend. It collects the wisdom of seven of the world’s most brilliant DevOps minds.

Web developer and blogger Scott Hanselman makes the point emphatically. “The most powerful tool we have as developers is automation: I can’t stress this point enough,” he writes. Humans, after all, do repetitive tasks poorly, while computers are designed for them. Seek ways to automate processes down to a single button press, he writes. That will breed confidence, both among end users and inside your organization.

None of the advice to be found in Integrate and Automate is more cogent than that offered by Michael Dehaan, CTO at Ansible and creator of several DevOps automation tools. Successfully automating processes, he says, is about creating a culture of automated testing, both at the developer and quality assurance levels. Achieving that might take time, but ultimately, he writes, you will be able to “deploy a dozen times an hour with confidence.”

Andi Gutmans, CEO and co-founder of Zend, recalls stumbling onto DevOps practices before any such thing existed. He was working on jet avionics simulators in a complex production environment comprising more than 100 binaries and various hardware drivers created in several languages. There was no easy debug for that. But Gutmans could draw from automation experience he had derived as a systems administrator. He used that experience to deliver a one-click build environment for the avionics simulators.

The same thing would not be nearly so difficult now. “Today, with the methodology and all the great tools and best practices that exist to support DevOps and continuous delivery, there’s no excuse not to embrace it fully,” Gutmans writes. Automation, in effect, does all the heavy lifting for you.
Integrate and Automate is one chapter of a larger e book, Lessons from 29 DevOps Experts on the Best Way to Make the Transition to Continuous Delivery. The publication provides best practices and advice from the top DevOps industry leaders. For those wanting to learning more about implementing continuous delivery, this book covers each step: getting started in continuous development, integrating and automating the process, getting the team on board, changing the culture, and best practices for the future. Download the full e book now to take advantage of these expert insights and determine whether continuous delivery is right for your business.

Integrate and Automate : The Best Way to Make The Transition to Continuous Delivery

 

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    Kevin Featherly