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Continuous Delivery Best Practices and Tools

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What is Continuous Delivery?

Continuous Delivery (CD) processes to build, test, configure and ready to deploy from a build to the production environment at any time. This process is automated which is the extension of Continuous Integration. The purpose of CD is to keep production up to date by integrating the latest code available in version control or with any required package as soon as possible. Note: It is possible to have Continuous Integration without CD, but it's challenging to have Continuous Delivery without Continuous Integration.

Why Continuous Delivery Matters?

  • The software release is getting slower than usual.
  • Ensure products quality is up to the mark along with the speedy delivery to users.
  • Provides online services (as it's not compulsory).
  • Build new products at a faster pace and release to improve quality.
  • Reduce vulnerabilities in products, by releasing security patches often.

How Continuous Delivery Works?

Continuous Delivery follows the concept of Continuous Integration to the next steps. Different modules of a software system integrated, to ensure code always deployable to production. It has an automated build, an automated test suite, and an automated process to deliver software to production. Using the automated process, it deploys software within minutes. CD is the core principle of DevOps. It includes predictable deploys, reduced risk with new features, shorter feedback cycle with the customer and overall higher quality of software.

How to Adopt Continuous Delivery?

Organizations which integrate Continuous Delivery in their process make mistakes like assuming CD as an end-state, a goal in itself, or spend a lot of time worrying about what products to use. So how to adopt it in their organization? Below are some points to be considered during adaptation -
  • First Organization's Architecture.
  • What Culture followed?
  • Follow the principle of Continuous Integration and Deployment, and make CI process as efficient as possible.
  • Automate the testing process, and add manual testing too if needed.
  • Automate the build and deploy task.

How is adoption successful?

Everything is relative, define success parameters like expectations after adopting the Continuous Delivery in the organization, and that parameter obviously should be in the domain which means we can't define "we live more as parameter" right?. Set the parameters more carefully and thoughtfully, because, in the end, everyone will deduce the result by these defined threshold value.

What are adoption challenges?

Everything has some price, same goes for CD integration, below are some challenges  -
  • Automation price is not small.
  • It's challenging to start adopting the CD if someone is not following the Microservices architecture.
  • Organizational culture, and architecture.

Benefits of Adopting Continuous Delivery

  • The software is delivering with fewer bugs and lower risk.
  • Improve Developer Productivity and efficiency.
  • Software Release Process is automated.
  • Finding bug become more accessible and so do addressing.
  • Improve Customer Satisfaction.

Best Practices for Continuous Delivery

So any organization who are willing to or already practicing CD in their organization should know what's the best practices to make CD successful and more efficient. Below are some points someone should consider -
  • An organization should follow the trend of "Build your binaries only once."
  • Deploy the same way to all environments, whether its a production or UAT or any other.
  • One should do the smoke test of deployments.
  • Continuous Delivery should follow Instantaneous propagation means the CD should be the ongoing process of build, test, release (the most common one).
  • CD should include the Database.
  • Firstly, deploy to a similar environment like the production one, before deploying to finally to production.
  • Implement GitOps.
  • Monitor the CD pipeline and restart the pipeline once any stage fail.
  • Automate everything.
NOTE - Organization should take care of the security and should try to make the pipeline as secure as possible like should follow the Pull-type pattern rather than push-type.

Continuous Delivery Tools

A Comprehensive Approach

Continuous delivery is a software development discipline where code modifications are automatically prepared for a release to production which improves productivity and efficiency of software development teams.To Incorporate Continuous Delivery model we recommend taking the following steps -

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