Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Yeshim Deniz, Darren Anstee

Related Topics: Microsoft Cloud, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, IoT User Interface, Silverlight, Agile Computing

Microsoft Cloud: Article

Step Away from One-off Release Thinking

The Continuous Delivery Approach

Not long ago, customers and prospects had to find a computer to visit your website. But today they're online 24/7 via mobile devices. Serving your customers is now a continuous interaction, and this phenomenon will only grow in the coming years as customers and prospects demand reliable and up-to-date Web services from anywhere at any time. For your organization, this translates into constant pressure to quickly and frequently add features and updates to your application services.

The environment also makes the quality of your online services more important than ever as issues become visible instantly. Applications to support your business need to be deployed not only at a much faster rate, but also with more predictability. For many organizations, a new approach to delivering software isn't simply about development and deployment practices - it's critical to business survival.

But for most organizations, software delivery is time-consuming, stressful and costly.

As soon as applications go live, issues arise - forcing IT into another costly release cycle. Businesses thus need a process that enables the addition of new online features in a matter of hours instead of days - faster, better and at a lower cost.

The Continuous Delivery Approach
One way that many businesses overcome the challenge of promptly delivering software updates is to adopt the Continuous Delivery approach - a strategy that moves ideas into production as fast and as efficiently as possible. This iterative approach also allows you to validate business assumptions at an early stage of the delivery process and adjust when required.

With Continuous Delivery, your ideas reach customers much faster compared to non-automated, "big bang" release environments. Because the focus is on automating your pipeline, delivery becomes more reliable. A well-designed automated software delivery pipeline typically features the following attributes:

  1. Manages code in version control
  2. Performs compilation and packaging of code centrally and automatically
  3. Automates testing as part of the delivery process
  4. Deploys applications automatically to multiple environments
  5. Creates and removes server environments with the push of a button
  6. Provides clear, factual and quality-focused status reports

Benefits of Continuous Delivery
Continuous Delivery lowers costs since deployments run reliably on a daily basis, and the number of deployments does not significantly impact the overall cost. Once a deployment pipeline is configured, subsequent deployments occur automatically so the maximum number of deployments is not bound to any limit.

With the Continuous Delivery approach, your organization can also envision an idea and then design and realize the benefits in stages. In addition, the process provides the possibility to adjust the scope and requirements as well as support the decision to stop investing in features that don't provide value.

Because customer behavior can be measured as the product evolves, the product also aligns better with demand compared to traditional situations. In addition, the process of assembling, compiling and testing also becomes automated. This forms an integral part of the delivery process that is quick and easy. Coding issues become immediately visible and can be fixed promptly.

Creating a Continuous Delivery Process
To adopt a Continuous Delivery process, first take an assessment to gain a clear picture of the current status of your delivery processes. Assessment is essential to determine the order, approach and expected timelines. Then streamline the process by adopting these best practices:

  • Engage the development team to discuss the approach and how to implement a fresh and automated delivery process. Encourage the team to participate in determining requirements for the new environment, especially where the current process can be optimized.
  • Implement and align tools and processes to consolidate configuration management systems; align the build and automated test tools; introduce the definitive software library; and add application release automation mechanisms. Explain and document concepts and guidelines to ensure proper use for subsequent teams that utilize the new approach.
  • Formalize the environment once the new tools and principles are in place and then introduce other development initiatives. Also make sure short and descriptive explanations of the new process are available to guide people in applying them. Slowly step away from release-like thinking toward incrementally bringing new functionality into production.

The Payoff: Ensuring Prompt and Accurate Communications
Trying to serve today's always-connected, always-updated customers and prospects with anything less than a fully automated application delivery process makes no sense. Software delivery needs to evolve from an effort-intensive, error-prone "big bang" activity to a seamless, incremental and Continuous Delivery process that is faster and more efficient.

For the Continuous Delivery software approach to succeed, everybody has to share a product-like mindset and feel responsible for the end result - from business leaders all the way to operations. Within the development team, if anyone breaks the build - meaning they leave the code broken - they must fix the build before going home. Code in the pipeline has to be shippable at all times.

Continuous Delivery is achieved when all involved are capable of delivering new functionality in an agile manner. Your business will ensure prompt and accurate communications with customers and prospects at all times.

More Stories By Andrew Phillips

Andrew Phillips heads up product management at XebiaLabs. He is an evangelist and thought leader in the DevOps, Cloud and Continuous Delivery space. He sits on the management team and drives product direction, positioning and planning.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
19th Cloud Expo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterpri...
Smart Cities are here to stay, but for their promise to be delivered, the data they produce must not be put in new siloes. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mathias Herberts, Co-founder and CTO of Cityzen Data, will deep dive into best practices that will ensure a successful smart city journey.
Why do your mobile transformations need to happen today? Mobile is the strategy that enterprise transformation centers on to drive customer engagement. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Roger Woods, Director, Mobile Product & Strategy – Adobe Marketing Cloud, covered key IoT and mobile trends that are forcing mobile transformation, key components of a solid mobile strategy and explored how brands are effectively driving mobile change throughout the enterprise.
From wearable activity trackers to fantasy e-sports, data and technology are transforming the way athletes train for the game and fans engage with their teams. In his session at @ThingsExpo, will present key data findings from leading sports organizations San Francisco 49ers, Orlando Magic NBA team. By utilizing data analytics these sports orgs have recognized new revenue streams, doubled its fan base and streamlined costs at its stadiums. John Paul is the CEO and Founder of VenueNext. Prior ...
Businesses are struggling to manage the information flow and interactions between all of these new devices and things jumping on their network, and the apps and IT systems they control. The data businesses gather is only helpful if they can do something with it. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Witeck, Principal Technology Strategist at Citrix, will discuss how different the impact of IoT will be for large businesses, expanding how IoT will allow large organizations to make their legacy ap...
“We're a global managed hosting provider. Our core customer set is a U.S.-based customer that is looking to go global,” explained Adam Rogers, Managing Director at ANEXIA, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - comp...
What does it look like when you have access to cloud infrastructure and platform under the same roof? Let’s talk about the different layers of Technology as a Service: who cares, what runs where, and how does it all fit together. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Lead Technology Evangelist at SoftLayer, an IBM company, spoke about the picture being painted by IBM Cloud and how the tools being crafted can help fill the gaps in your IT infrastructure.
Developing software for the Internet of Things (IoT) comes with its own set of challenges. Security, privacy, and unified standards are a few key issues. In addition, each IoT product is comprised of (at least) three separate application components: the software embedded in the device, the back-end service, and the mobile application for the end user’s controls. Each component is developed by a different team, using different technologies and practices, and deployed to a different stack/target –...
One of biggest questions about Big Data is “How do we harness all that information for business use quickly and effectively?” Geographic Information Systems (GIS) or spatial technology is about more than making maps, but adding critical context and meaning to data of all types, coming from all different channels – even sensors. In his session at @ThingsExpo, William (Bill) Meehan, director of utility solutions for Esri, will take a closer look at the current state of spatial technology and ar...
According to Forrester Research, every business will become either a digital predator or digital prey by 2020. To avoid demise, organizations must rapidly create new sources of value in their end-to-end customer experiences. True digital predators also must break down information and process silos and extend digital transformation initiatives to empower employees with the digital resources needed to win, serve, and retain customers.
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, wh...
Ask someone to architect an Internet of Things (IoT) solution and you are guaranteed to see a reference to the cloud. This would lead you to believe that IoT requires the cloud to exist. However, there are many IoT use cases where the cloud is not feasible or desirable. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation, will discuss the strategies that exist to extend intelligence directly to IoT devices and sensors, freeing them from the constraints of ...
Complete Internet of Things (IoT) embedded device security is not just about the device but involves the entire product’s identity, data and control integrity, and services traversing the cloud. A device can no longer be looked at as an island; it is a part of a system. In fact, given the cross-domain interactions enabled by IoT it could be a part of many systems. Also, depending on where the device is deployed, for example, in the office building versus a factory floor or oil field, security ha...
Why do your mobile transformations need to happen today? Mobile is the strategy that enterprise transformation centers on to drive customer engagement. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Roger Woods, Director, Mobile Product & Strategy – Adobe Marketing Cloud, covered key IoT and mobile trends that are forcing mobile transformation, key components of a solid mobile strategy and explored how brands are effectively driving mobile change throughout the enterprise.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CDS Global Cloud, an Infrastructure as a Service provider, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CDS Global Cloud is an IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) provider specializing in solutions for e-commerce, internet gaming, online education and other internet applications. With a growing number of data centers and network points around the world, ...
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lea...
24Notion is full-service global creative digital marketing, technology and lifestyle agency that combines strategic ideas with customized tactical execution. With a broad understand of the art of traditional marketing, new media, communications and social influence, 24Notion uniquely understands how to connect your brand strategy with the right consumer. 24Notion ranked #12 on Corporate Social Responsibility - Book of List.
SYS-CON Events announced today that LeaseWeb USA, a cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) provider, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. LeaseWeb is one of the world's largest hosting brands. The company helps customers define, develop and deploy IT infrastructure tailored to their exact business needs, by combining various kinds cloud solutions.
Technology vendors and analysts are eager to paint a rosy picture of how wonderful IoT is and why your deployment will be great with the use of their products and services. While it is easy to showcase successful IoT solutions, identifying IoT systems that missed the mark or failed can often provide more in the way of key lessons learned. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Peter Vanderminden, Principal Industry Analyst for IoT & Digital Supply Chain to Flatiron Strategies, will focus on how IoT de...