Is Your Release-Cycle Process Costing You a Fortune?
The scale and scope of application releases has grown and widened, making the management of testing processes more and more complex. The release cycle for applications has changed tremendously in recent years, with the time between releases decreasing, and so has the amount of work involved in testing applications before distribution.
Poor management of those increasingly complex enterprise test environments can lead to application-release delays that can be enormously expensive—a simply unacceptable proposition. Additionally, poor management of complex enterprise test environments are affecting businesses’ bottom lines because of costs associated with application-release delays.
How Did You Get Here?
Organizations may have started with a simple release cycle and just a few developers and QA testers, but projects have quickly become more complex, requiring more developers, more teams and more time. With multiple teams working across multiple departments, coordination and collaboration becomes difficult and time consuming. Timelines increase and so do the risks of delay, which can be very costly.
Many organizations lack the processes to successfully deliver components or services. Their release-management process is inadequate to the task, resulting in bugs and live crashes.
What Can You Do About It?
To manage multiple test environments and eliminate conflict and configuration challenges, organizations must deploy the right testing system. They need a management system that provides a consolidated view of the availability, usage and configuration of enterprise-scale application testing.
One way organizations can address this problem is with test-environment management (TEM), which delivers a number of benefits:
- Provides appropriately configured testing environments when needed
- Enables development teams to deliver higher-quality production software without extending the software-development cycle
- Saves organizations time and money because they can avoid devoting so much time and resources addressing bugs and vulnerabilities after release.
TEM improves production applications, allows development teams to extend their testing cycle and spend more time working on new products by reducing the number of defects. But as it covers a wide range of components and architectures, it can be difficult for TEM to provide a full view of availability, usage and configuration detail in the environment. For enterprises with thousands of test environments, this difficulty can cause conflicts and faulty configurations, resulting in hefty financial losses.
Where Do You Go Next?
The need to support agile, continuous delivery and multispeed development is growing, but meeting it is proving difficult for TEM. Organizations are also under pressure to keep pace with the massive acceleration in software delivery and to increase test efficiency on a flat budget. Managing test environments presents a number of challenges that can become a major obstacle to achieving enterprise efficiencies. A delay to a single pipeline can disrupt the flow of the entire release.
Managing release pipelines is more important than ever, but with IT delivery teams releasing to production at different rates, the challenge is to minimize the risk of application downtime and reinforce production stability. By enabling efficient code deployment between development and production, release management can help eradicate many of those difficulties and eliminate problems that can occur further down the track.
The Case for Continuous-Delivery Management
With the growing complexity of IT projects and the high cost of failure, the pressure is on organizations to find ways to make the release- and test-management process faster, more efficient and more reliable. The manual and time-consuming processes of the past that drove the overall delivery no longer fit the bill.
There’s a clear argument in favor of automation replacing the huge manual coordination that enterprise release delivery requires. Automation would enable enterprise IT teams to assume the role of cross-functional product teams, allowing continuous delivery with governance and control from the business. Continuous-delivery management uses a big data approach to glue together information from various DevOps tools and allow IT delivery resources to gain real-time visibility into their release pipelines.
Industry analysts agree on the importance of this issue. In Six Trends That Will Shape DevOps Adoption In 2017 And Beyond, an August 2017 Forrester report, analysts Rob Stroud and Eveline Oehrlich said that “the automated [continuous integration and continuous delivery] pipeline is a critical success factor for velocity.” The report goes on to note that “45% of respondents are automating this pipeline….[A]utomated CI/CD pipelines dramatically reduce the time, risk, and expense of software and infrastructure delivery by frequently releasing small batches of changes with excellent visibility and traceability.”
Using continuous-delivery management, organizations can manage the application-delivery process from start to finish across their entire portfolio. They can manage preproduction environments, software testing and software delivery across the life cycle of each release—and the entire portfolio.
Continuous-delivery management allows a business to use reporting and analytics to make better decisions and allocate resources appropriately to projects. IT management gets the tools to govern projects efficiently and effectively, while individual engineering and operations teams can continue to use their existing tools, but with live reports and control from the business. Improved collaboration between all parties during the release process enables faster and more-frequent releases—with real-time analytics on quality before the releases move to production.
Because the growing complexity of the release process has allied with the demand for agility and faster delivery, these factors add even more pressure to the release- and test-management process. Increasingly, organizations are looking for a solution to enable predictable, high-quality, automated enterprise-software delivery through one common repository across the entire release portfolio. This approach improves visibility, traceability and control, and it helps to minimize the cost of testing delays. The good news is that it’s here already and it can deliver. The question is, are you ready?
Leading article image courtesy of Plutora
About the Author
Bob Davis is chief marketing officer for Plutora. Bob brings more than 30 years of engineering, marketing and sales-management experience at high-technology organizations from emerging startups to global 500 corporations. Before joining Plutora, he was the chief marketing officer at Atlantis Computing, a provider of software-defined and hyperconverged solutions for enterprise customers. Bob has a record of using analysis-driven and measurable revenue-based marketing. He has propelled company growth at data-storage and IT-management companies including Kaseya (cofounder, acquired by Insight Venture Partners), Sentilla, CA, Netreon (acquired by CA), Novell and Intel. Bob earned a BS in electrical engineering from Purdue University and an MBA from Santa Clara University. He holds a patent in data networking.