What is Automated Deployment?
Deployment automation allows organizations to increase their software deployment velocity through automated builds, processes, testing, and releases. With an automated deployment approach, organizations can launch new features more quickly and more often.
Deployment automation drives better software delivery and higher organizational performance, according to the DORA State of DevOps research program which studies the practices that lead to high development performance.
What’s the Problem with Manual Software Deployment?
Manual deployments involve multiple steps, human interaction, and can lead to problems at each step. Manual process steps can be missed, incorrect, or even broken. Every time a manual deployment process enables poor software getting deployed, your brand, end users, and customers suffer.
With manual software deployment, developers have to wait for feedback. They might issue a pull request for testing, only to wait on the gatekeepers who will run manual tests and give the okay to move into the next stage. Detecting bugs can be slow and even inaccurate.
Save Time, Money, and Risk through Automated Deployment
Manual deployments take up valuable time from developers and DevOps teams. Save time, accelerate time to market, and cut down on risk with a solid automated deployment process. Automated continuous deployment frees up operations teams from manual processes that slow down software delivery.
Deployments often require time to set up new environments, spin up databases, run tests, and monitor results. Automated deployment improves the speed of execution of these tasks, as well as increases testing accuracy so developers can focus on developing instead of repetitive DevOps work.
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Using Armory, Earnin created automated pipeline templates and modules that allow its DevOps team to generate the Continuous Integration part of the CI/CD process in one to two hours and Continuous Deployment in 30 minutes.
Read more about how Earnin improved their software delivery through Armory’s automated deployment solutions here.
How Does Software Deployment Automation Work?
Automated deployment allows software to be automatically tested and deployed to different environments, going into production with limited or no human intervention. The full workflow allows a new software build to go through all of the checks in your continuous integration pipeline and is pushed into your test environment. Then, if all of the tests pass, the software can be configured to automatically push into other environments including production.
Here are some examples of tasks that you could program into your automated deployment workflow:
- End-to-end (E2E) testing
- Performance testing, monitoring, and logging
- Credentials and access control
- Database creation and provisioning
- Feature flagging
- Governance rules
- Smoke Tests
- Security Scanning and Verification
- Automated error checking
- Integration tests
When designing an automated deployment process, you should use the same process for every environment, including production. Deployment automation won’t work if the development team deploys code one way but the operations teams deploys and configures a different way. Consistency is key; the same deployment processes should be used for all environments, including production.
Consistency rules like this help you test the deployment process itself many times to ensure that it works well before you deploy anything to production.
Another consistency rule to follow is to use the same packages for every environment. Keep environment-specific configuration separate from packages so that the packages you are deploying to prod were tested and approved.
What Are the Benefits of Deployment Automation?
The value of deployment automation is hard to quantify, but here are some of the top benefits that automated software deployment can bring to your organization:
- Reduced lead time
- Better deployment processes
- Increased accuracy
- Ability for more developers to deploy
- Find bugs faster
- Increased efficiency and productivity
- Better quality software with fewer errors
- More and faster releases
- Faster feedback cycles
Automated software deployment allows you to see if your new features work as expected both in test and real environments. If you’re able to automatically deploy and monitor your software in production, you can determine how it interacts with dependencies like other tools and processes.
Who Does Automated Deployment Benefit?
Developers – Anyone on the team can use automation to deploy software, opening up opportunities for developers of all types. The knowledge of how to deploy or release software isn’t held by any one senior engineer, but is codified in a system of processes.
DevOps Teams – Instead of spending time manually testing, approving, and deploying code, DevOps teams can bring more value to their organization by automating these processes and increasing velocity across the business.
Deployment automation can be powerful; it enables developers to create a fully automated pipeline that ensures software is fully vetted before you deploy it to an environment or release it to end users. Deployment automation allows your DevOps team to add extra validation and testing before deploying your code to the production environment, leading to better quality software, faster releases, and more immediate feedback.
See how automated deployments can benefit your business. Try Continuous Deployment-as-a-Service for free.
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