If you are an executive who determines your organization’s business, development, and IT strategies and policies, or if you are looking for ways to implement continuous delivery (CD) in your business and are considering a variety of options, you need to know about the available possibilities. This report provides a better understanding of the process of implementing a CD pipeline, highlights the benefits of using CD as a service, and evaluates the trade-offs and advantages offered by each choice. Some of the issues we address are:
- What is CD?
- Why is it important?
- How do you implement a CD pipeline?
- What do you gain by using the turnkey approach offered by CD as a service?
At the center of CD, a process that uses agile development and automated tools to create and deploy robust software services, is the CD pipeline. Software changes that successfully pass through the pipeline are ready for customers to use. Among its advantages, CD gives you the ability to respond to business needs swiftly, and it puts the business in charge of the software rather than the other way around. It also reduces risk by delivering early, often, and in small increments while making quality a first-class concern. Additionally, CD aligns an organization’s departments around the shared goal of delivering a good product.
If you decide to use CD, you have two options. You create a CD pipeline yourself, but must also provision and manage the infrastructure that supports the pipeline. Or, you can use CD as a service, which means that someone else handles the server administration while you concentrate on building applications. This is often a good option for a small company that doesn’t have the necessary IT resources to create a CD pipeline. Additional things to consider are:
- Applications that are well suited to CD as a service follow the “convention over configuration” principle.
- Doing CD requires you to understand how to design applications for CD, how to treat infrastructure as code, and how to automate services and infrastructure.
- Choosing to start with a service based on conventions means that many of the decisions about the infrastructure have already been made for you, so you can focus on how to design your application for CD.
(Feature image courtesy Flickr user OwenXu)