Reduce time to market with CICD & Release Automation

In a day and age where business continuity and profitability mean everything, enterprises are moving away from traditional methods of calculating ROI. They can no longer afford to overlook the fluidity of today’s market and need to factor in the changes that occur by the time a product is actually released and deployed into the market. Profitability, therefore, is now not just about calculating ROI but also estimating the time-to-market for a product.

This approach has numerous advantages. It helps you stay ahead of market change and achieve many other objectives along the way. Some of these include better progression and quicker adjustments.

Having discussed the many elements that go into DevOps in our previous blog, we now move on to understand how the Continuous Integration / Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) helps accelerate a product’s time to market and the role played by release automation.

Understanding why CI/CD is a primer for enterprises

Knowing why you implement the CI/CD goes a long way in explaining its role. CI and CD are more like force multipliers and the right implementation will reap rich dividends for the enterprise. Not to forget the immense time it will save in rolling out new features.

In a culture of collaboration and co-ownership, CI and CD are the backbones of the sophisticated DevOps environment. While CI enables testing automation to ensure that the application is not broken during implementation changes, CD streamlines and automates every process that’s part of a deployment.

What follows is a chain of timely and consistent enhancements in the process of development and deployment that in turn speeds up the time to market of products. Bugs are fixed early on, validation takes little time and processes are orchestrated and automated easily, thanks to modern cloud technologies. The monitoring dashboard for the production environment gives a clear perspective on things and helps eliminate performance bottlenecks.

Consolidated efforts across departments go a long way in boosting processes at various junctures of delivery. CI and CD in conjunction help enterprises develop and deliver high-quality software quickly and efficiently. Their implementation helps speed up delivery times and ensures faster time-to-market.

Release Automation

As more and more enterprises adopt DevOps practices, accelerating product cycles remains a core objective. Of course, there are quite a few benefits of release automation. The top ones include enhancing agility and flexibility across departments while improving productivity and reducing manual tasks. From orchestration and packaging to dependencies and approvals, application release automation solutions must factor in the many interactions between the product and the systems it relies on.

In the wake of COVID-19, there is going to be an unprecedented demand for automation solutions. Explains Alessandro Perilli, GM, Management Strategy, Red Hat, “The current situation requires a return on the investment faster than ever. And you cannot realize a return on the investment very quickly if you focus on one big process with many complex sub-processes that have never been standardized or automated before.”

Enterprises will be compelled to protect themselves more aggressively to reduce their exposure to future business disruption. According to a new report from Forrester, “As we emerge from the crisis, firms will look to automation as a way to mitigate the risks that future crises pose to the supply and productivity of human workers. They will invest more in cognitive capabilities and applied AI, industrial robotics, service robots, and robotic process automation (RPA).”

An enterprise-wide automation strategy helps organizations refine existing processes and execute them upon digital transformation. Ultimately, employing modern automation in an enterprise application environment helps a business serve its customers better —so organizations can be successful in the digital economy.

Fig: RedHat- Enterprise Automation checklist

Let us understand the enterprise automation checklist in a DevOps World, its practical steps and best practices for Automation Implementation in detail.

Let us understand the enterprise automation checklist in a DevOps World, its practical steps and best practices for Automation Implementation in detail.

1. Adopt Agile: The pre-requisite for successful automation is the adoption of agile methodologies and scrum teams.
2. Evangelize the vision: Take time to share information and demos throughout the organization to create awareness about automation and prove its value.
3. Show small successes: Start small, automate something, but do not try to automate many things in one release.
4. DevOps toolchain: Wherever you are in the evolution from waterfall to agile methodologies and practices, pay attention to your DevOps toolchain. Refine it.
5. Fail Fast:  Fail fast by continually moving tests as early in the process as possible so that failures can be detected early and fixed at a lower cost. Cost of failure based on the phase it is caught.
6. Standardize your practices:  Standardize your playbooks, roles, and other automation practices. It helps to maintain a clean, readable, manageable, and stable code.
7. Automate your tools:  Develop your Infrastructure as Code (IaC) so that it can be easily managed.

Choosing the best-of-breed tools 

While choosing the best application release automation tools, it is important to choose the ones that offer a wide range of capabilities that enable better pipeline management, environment provisioning, and an appropriate test automation framework. As reported by Globe Newswire, the application release automation market globally is expected to grow by US$5.5 billion with a compounded growth of 20.8%.

The best automation tools are expected to offer integrated functionality along with software tracking and reporting features. As always, the solution you choose should be scalable, adaptable, and reusable to meet the changing needs of your business.

Automating with Ansible

Among the many tools available today, Red Hat Ansible automation has garnered a lot of popularity for the incredible business values it offers. Increased IT and DevOps agility, better control and compliance, and a stronger grip on infrastructure and cloud resources are some of the prominent advantages enterprises enjoy with Ansible.

Based on the ‘release early, release often’ approach, Ansible makes continuous delivery effortless. It replaces complicated code writing with easy to execute simple task descriptions that even new team members can immediately understand. This equips them to react to change in a more responsive and responsible manner.

Ansible – The power of playbook 

Ansible also gives IT leaders the power of playbooks that allow them to describe the desired state of their systems that are often under source control. Once the required state is specified, Ansible ensures that the systems are updated accordingly without necessitating a lengthy protocol. Also, playbooks make all chores repeatable and reliable; be it constant upgrades or frequent installations.

Ansible can orchestrate zero downtime rolling updates easily eliminating the need for long, tedious processes. It’s flexible and cloud-ready. What we love about Ansible is the agentless design that makes it easier for IT leaders to introduce and integrate it into their existing environment.

A white paper by IDC iterates the following business values offered by Ansible Automation:

• 498% five-year ROI

• $1.13 million additional new revenue

• 68% greater productivity across IT infrastructure management teams

• 41% greater efficiency amongst application environment management teams

• 135% more applications developed per year

• 25% greater efficiency in IT security teams

• 53% drop in unplanned downtime

Do more with less – Culture of Automation

Global dynamics are shifting at a phenomenal pace and a simple automation language is just what we need. Ansible is an amazing blend of power and simplicity. Ansible automation is a perfect fit for a ‘do more with less’ culture.

At TransformHub, the onus is on us to help organizations get started on their journey towards automation and digital transformation. Your goals are our focus and we look forward to enhancing your work environment with diverse solutions that have incredible capabilities.

Call us for a detailed analysis of your business environment. You are just a call away from the power to do more.

Bala

Group Chief Technology Officer

TransformHub – Banking & Finance | Fintech | Insurance | Retail | Technology