Frequent and Reliable Software Releases
The sheer complexity of the average enterprise application delivery chain makes collaboration integral to achieving a proficient software release function. Time to market in an increasingly competitive application landscape is critical for businesses. With so many moving parts, a lack of cohesion really can mean the difference between the success and failure of any application development initiative. Not to mention a business dependent on its revenue generating capability. The fundamental premise behind DevOps is that regardless of where in your organisations software release participants sit hierarchically or geographically, they should function as a unified, integrated and cohesive unit.
Continuous Delivery (CD) is itself a DevOps discipline, which paradoxically comprises other DevOps techniques to collectively improve the efficiency of application delivery. Effectively enabling organizations who develop their own software to rapidly, reliably and repeatedly release applications ‘at any time’ - with minimal risk or manual overhead required. While many will debate the true definition of DevOps, few will argue that Continuous Delivery is its most aspired to tenet. Considered by many to be the ultimate DevOps objective, Continuous Delivery is sadly still often deemed a bridge too far for large scale enterprises.
Distributed development teams working in parallel are commonplace amongst enterprises, making version control a complex challenge. Typically a developer looking to work on a particular code base will make a copy from the source code repository. As others working on the same source code submit changes to the repository, the original copy being worked on by the developer fails to reflect the newest version in the repository. This ultimately leads to conflicts and failure when the code is attempted to be reintegrated into the main line. The source has diverged as the code worked on is in effect, different. Such integration issues as a result of version control are so impactful that have actually been known to completely invalidate development work. Regularly requiring a time consuming redo. Consequently, Continuous Integration (CI) remains the primary focus for DevOps aspiring companies.
Going one step further than Continuous Integration, the core principle of CD is that every application change is releasable reliably, efficiently and in an automated fashion. Continuous Delivery is in many respects a philosophical extension of CI combining application build, test and release into a clear promotion path to form a collaborative, delivery pipeline. Unfortunately CI while important is simply not impactful enough to stay ahead in today’s market place. Enterprises can now potentially compete with much smaller, agile and often more innovative companies – leveraging CD to their maximum advantage.