Welcome!

Microsoft Cloud Authors: Elizabeth White, Mihai Corbuleac, Pat Romanski, David Bermingham, 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
Manufacturers are embracing the Industrial Internet the same way consumers are leveraging Fitbits – to improve overall health and wellness. Both can provide consistent measurement, visibility, and suggest performance improvements customized to help reach goals. Fitbit users can view real-time data and make adjustments to increase their activity. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mark Bernardo Professional Services Leader, Americas, at GE Digital, will discuss how leveraging the Industrial Interne...
The IETF draft standard for M2M certificates is a security solution specifically designed for the demanding needs of IoT/M2M applications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Brian Romansky, VP of Strategic Technology at TrustPoint Innovation, will explain how M2M certificates can efficiently enable confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity on highly constrained devices.
There is an ever-growing explosion of new devices that are connected to the Internet using “cloud” solutions. This rapid growth is creating a massive new demand for efficient access to data. And it’s not just about connecting to that data anymore. This new demand is bringing new issues and challenges and it is important for companies to scale for the coming growth. And with that scaling comes the need for greater security, gathering and data analysis, storage, connectivity and, of course, the...
Increasing IoT connectivity is forcing enterprises to find elegant solutions to organize and visualize all incoming data from these connected devices with re-configurable dashboard widgets to effectively allow rapid decision-making for everything from immediate actions in tactical situations to strategic analysis and reporting. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Shikhir Singh, Senior Developer Relations Manager at Sencha, will discuss how to create HTML5 dashboards that interact with IoT devic...
The increasing popularity of the Internet of Things necessitates that our physical and cognitive relationship with wearable technology will change rapidly in the near future. This advent means logging has become a thing of the past. Before, it was on us to track our own data, but now that data is automatically available. What does this mean for mHealth and the "connected" body? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Lisa Calkins, CEO and co-founder of Amadeus Consulting, will discuss the impact of wea...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ericsson has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Ericsson is a world leader in the rapidly changing environment of communications technology – providing equipment, software and services to enable transformation through mobility. Some 40 percent of global mobile traffic runs through networks we have supplied. More than 1 billion subscribers around the world re...
Whether your IoT service is connecting cars, homes, appliances, wearable, cameras or other devices, one question hangs in the balance – how do you actually make money from this service? The ability to turn your IoT service into profit requires the ability to create a monetization strategy that is flexible, scalable and working for you in real-time. It must be a transparent, smoothly implemented strategy that all stakeholders – from customers to the board – will be able to understand and comprehe...
You deployed your app with the Bluemix PaaS and it's gaining some serious traction, so it's time to make some tweaks. Did you design your application in a way that it can scale in the cloud? Were you even thinking about the cloud when you built the app? If not, chances are your app is going to break. Check out this webcast to learn various techniques for designing applications that will scale successfully in Bluemix, for the confidence you need to take your apps to the next level and beyond.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Peak 10, Inc., a national IT infrastructure and cloud services provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Peak 10 provides reliable, tailored data center and network services, cloud and managed services. Its solutions are designed to scale and adapt to customers’ changing business needs, enabling them to lower costs, improve performance and focus inter...
Artificial Intelligence has the potential to massively disrupt IoT. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, AJ Abdallat, CEO of Beyond AI, will discuss what the five main drivers are in Artificial Intelligence that could shape the future of the Internet of Things. AJ Abdallat is CEO of Beyond AI. He has over 20 years of management experience in the fields of artificial intelligence, sensors, instruments, devices and software for telecommunications, life sciences, environmental monitoring, process...
We’ve worked with dozens of early adopters across numerous industries and will debunk common misperceptions, which starts with understanding that many of the connected products we’ll use over the next 5 years are already products, they’re just not yet connected. With an IoT product, time-in-market provides much more essential feedback than ever before. Innovation comes from what you do with the data that the connected product provides in order to enhance the customer experience and optimize busi...
The IoTs 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. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, will demonstrate how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and share the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the development proc...
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, will provide tips on how to be successful in large scale machine lear...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Klein, CEO and Co-founder of Rachio, will discuss next generation communities that are using IoT to create more sustainable, intelligent communities. One example is Sterling Ranch, a 10,000 home development that – with the help of Siemens – will integrate IoT technology into the community to provide residents with energy and water savings as well as intelligent security. Everything from stop lights to sprinkler systems to building infrastructures will run ef...
You think you know what’s in your data. But do you? Most organizations are now aware of the business intelligence represented by their data. Data science stands to take this to a level you never thought of – literally. The techniques of data science, when used with the capabilities of Big Data technologies, can make connections you had not yet imagined, helping you discover new insights and ask new questions of your data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sarbjit Sarkaria, data science team lead ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Fusion, a leading provider of cloud services, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Fusion, a leading provider of integrated cloud solutions to small, medium and large businesses, is the industry's single source for the cloud. Fusion's advanced, proprietary cloud service platform enables the integration of leading edge solutions in the cloud, including cloud...
Digital payments using wearable devices such as smart watches, fitness trackers, and payment wristbands are an increasing area of focus for industry participants, and consumer acceptance from early trials and deployments has encouraged some of the biggest names in technology and banking to continue their push to drive growth in this nascent market. Wearable payment systems may utilize near field communication (NFC), radio frequency identification (RFID), or quick response (QR) codes and barcodes...
SYS-CON Events announced today that DatacenterDynamics has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. DatacenterDynamics is a brand of DCD Group, a global B2B media and publishing company that develops products to help senior professionals in the world's most ICT dependent organizations make risk-based infrastructure and capacity decisions.
The IoT has the potential to create a renaissance of manufacturing in the US and elsewhere. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Florent Solt, CTO and chief architect of Netvibes, will discuss how the expected exponential increase in the amount of data that will be processed, transported, stored, and accessed means there will be a huge demand for smart technologies to deliver it. Florent Solt is the CTO and chief architect of Netvibes. Prior to joining Netvibes in 2007, he co-founded Rift Technol...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Stratoscale, the software company developing the next generation data center operating system, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Stratoscale is revolutionizing the data center with a zero-to-cloud-in-minutes solution. With Stratoscale’s hardware-agnostic, Software Defined Data Center (SDDC) solution to store everything, run anything and scale everywhere...