Welcome!

Microsoft Cloud Authors: Pat Romanski, Srinivasan Sundara Rajan, Glenn Rossman, Janakiram MSV, Steven Mandel

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
In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Lee Atchison, Principal Cloud Architect and Advocate at New Relic, discussed cloud as a ‘better data center’ and how it adds new capacity (faster) and improves application availability (redundancy). The cloud is a ‘Dynamic Tool for Dynamic Apps’ and resource allocation is an integral part of your application architecture, so use only the resources you need and allocate /de-allocate resources on the fly.
Vidyo, Inc., has joined the Alliance for Open Media. The Alliance for Open Media is a non-profit organization working to define and develop media technologies that address the need for an open standard for video compression and delivery over the web. As a member of the Alliance, Vidyo will collaborate with industry leaders in pursuit of an open and royalty-free AOMedia Video codec, AV1. Vidyo’s contributions to the organization will bring to bear its long history of expertise in codec technolo...
There is little doubt that Big Data solutions will have an increasing role in the Enterprise IT mainstream over time. Big Data at Cloud Expo - to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA - has announced its Call for Papers is open. Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is...
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...
An IoT product’s log files speak volumes about what’s happening with your products in the field, pinpointing current and potential issues, and enabling you to predict failures and save millions of dollars in inventory. But until recently, no one knew how to listen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dan Gettens, Chief Research Officer at OnProcess, will discuss recent research by Massachusetts Institute of Technology and OnProcess Technology, where MIT created a new, breakthrough analytics model f...
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 ...
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform and how we integrate our thinking to solve complicated problems. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, will demonstrate how to move beyond today's coding paradigm ...
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 ...
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...
IoT offers a value of almost $4 trillion to the manufacturing industry through platforms that can improve margins, optimize operations & drive high performance work teams. By using IoT technologies as a foundation, manufacturing customers are integrating worker safety with manufacturing systems, driving deep collaboration and utilizing analytics to exponentially increased per-unit margins. However, as Benoit Lheureux, the VP for Research at Gartner points out, “IoT project implementers often ...
So, you bought into the current machine learning craze and went on to collect millions/billions of records from this promising new data source. Now, what do you do with them? Too often, the abundance of data quickly turns into an abundance of problems. How do you extract that "magic essence" from your data without falling into the common pitfalls? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Natalia Ponomareva, Software Engineer at Google, provided tips on how to be successful in large scale machine learning...
Information technology is an industry that has always experienced change, and the dramatic change sweeping across the industry today could not be truthfully described as the first time we've seen such widespread change impacting customer investments. However, the rate of the change, and the potential outcomes from today's digital transformation has the distinct potential to separate the industry into two camps: Organizations that see the change coming, embrace it, and successful leverage it; and...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Roundee / LinearHub will exhibit at the WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. LinearHub provides Roundee Service, a smart platform for enterprise video conferencing with enhanced features such as automatic recording and transcription service. Slack users can integrate Roundee to their team via Slack’s App Directory, and '/roundee' command lets your video conference ...
Digital transformation is too big and important for our future success to not understand the rules that apply to it. The first three rules for winning in this age of hyper-digital transformation are: Advantages in speed, analytics and operational tempos must be captured by implementing an optimized information logistics system (OILS) Real-time operational tempos (IT, people and business processes) must be achieved Businesses that can "analyze data and act and with speed" will dominate those t...
The Jevons Paradox suggests that when technological advances increase efficiency of a resource, it results in an overall increase in consumption. Writing on the increased use of coal as a result of technological improvements, 19th-century economist William Stanley Jevons found that these improvements led to the development of new ways to utilize coal. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Thiele, Chief Strategy Officer for Apcera, will compare the Jevons Paradox to modern-day enterprise IT, e...
There are several IoTs: the Industrial Internet, Consumer Wearables, Wearables and Healthcare, Supply Chains, and the movement toward Smart Grids, Cities, Regions, and Nations. There are competing communications standards every step of the way, a bewildering array of sensors and devices, and an entire world of competing data analytics platforms. To some this appears to be chaos. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, Bradley Holt, Developer Advocate a...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Bsquare has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For more than two decades, Bsquare has helped its customers extract business value from a broad array of physical assets by making them intelligent, connecting them, and using the data they generate to optimize business processes.
There is growing need for data-driven applications and the need for digital platforms to build these apps. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Muddu Sudhakar, VP and GM of Security & IoT at Splunk, will cover different PaaS solutions and Big Data platforms that are available to build applications. In addition, AI and machine learning are creating new requirements that developers need in the building of next-gen apps. The next-generation digital platforms have some of the past platform needs a...
SYS-CON Events announced today that ReadyTalk, a leading provider of online conferencing and webinar services, has been named Vendor Presentation Sponsor 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. ReadyTalk delivers audio and web conferencing services that inspire collaboration and enable the Future of Work for today’s increasingly digital and mobile workforce. By combining intuitive, innovative tec...
Fact is, enterprises have significant legacy voice infrastructure that’s costly to replace with pure IP solutions. How can we bring this analog infrastructure into our shiny new cloud applications? There are proven methods to bind both legacy voice applications and traditional PSTN audio into cloud-based applications and services at a carrier scale. Some of the most successful implementations leverage WebRTC, WebSockets, SIP and other open source technologies. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Da...