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Improving DevOps automation with continuous delivery chain acceleration

DevOps teams must do more than just DevOps automation. To improve DevOps, continuous delivery chain acceleration is essential.

How do you improve your DevOps success and supercharge your continuous delivery chain? Your first thought may be to automate, automate, automate.

In fact, however, DevOps automation is not enough. In order to make the very most of continuous delivery chains, DevOps teams should strive also to do continuous delivery chain acceleration, and accelerate the processes that comprise their software delivery pipeline.

Continuous delivery chain acceleration and DevOps automation

In many cases, organizations seeking to make software delivery faster and more efficient have focused on adopting continuous delivery chain tools and processes that automate DevOps tasks. They set up continuous integration servers to automate the process of testing code. They leverage continuous delivery chain automated testing suites to minimize the amount of manual work required from their QA teams. They use DevOps automation tools in order to deploy software into on-site and  cloud-hosted production environments automatically.

By doing DevOps automation and subsequently automating processes that would otherwise take a long time, continuous delivery chain tools certainly help to make software delivery more efficient. They also allow your software engineers and admins to put their time to better use, because they can focus on completing complex tasks that can’t be automated rather than performing tedious jobs that could be handled with a continuous delivery chain automation tool.

DevOps utomation also helps organizations to achieve continuous delivery by making their software delivery processes flow as smoothly as possible. When the delivery chain is highly automated, the chance of delays or roadblocks to continuous delivery is minimized.

Making more of continuous delivery chains

On its own, however, achieving automation is only half the battle. A fully automated continuous delivery chain can be made more efficient if teams also accelerate as much of the delivery process as possible.

Acceleration means deploying tools that allow tasks -- whether manual or automated ones -- to be completed in less time than they would otherwise require. Examples of acceleration tools and strategies include:

  • Taking advantage of agile, scalable infrastructure, like a cloud-based developer PaaS or serverless functions, in order to increase the availability of hardware resources to your delivery chain. By ensuring your team’s ability to access more hardware when it is needed, you can complete resource-intensive operations like testing and deployment faster.

  • Build acceleration tools, like CMake Accelerator and IncrediBuild. Build acceleration allows you to reduce the time it takes to complete code builds -- a process that, although easy to automate, is often very time-consuming because code just takes a long time to compile.

  • Working in parallel as much as possible. One of the benefits that continuous delivery allows you to achieve is having all of the members of your team work in parallel. That way, no one part of the team has to wait on other parts in order to complete its work. But working in parallel does not happen on its own. You should make a deliberate effort to build parallel workflows into your continuous delivery chain.

  • Deploy to a single, portable environment, like Docker containers. If you only have to deploy to one type of environment, you can accelerate your delivery process because you don’t have to stage and deploy for multiple types of environments. Single-environment deployment consumes fewer resources and requires less attention from your team.

  • Keep all operations in the same environment. Doing development in one environment (on local PCs, for instance), testing in another (in an on-premise test grid, for example) and deployment in yet another (like the cloud) is inefficient because time is wasted transferring data between each environment. By doing everything in the same location, you can accelerate your processes.

With these continuous delivery chain tools and strategies in place, you can supercharge your continuous delivery chain. Not only will they help you achieve a continuous workflow, but they’ll allow you to make that workflow as fast as possible, thereby doubling-down on the benefits of DevOps automation and continuous delivery chain acceleration.

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