of the release.
The Adoption of Service Oriented Architectures
A recent trend in the development of business systems is the adoption of Service Oriented Architectures (SOA), interoperable services which, once combined, provide a powerful application or business process.
An SOA framework is designed to enable organizations to achieve three key benefits:
- Faster time to business through a more modular framework
- Increased re-use of assets
- Reduced integration cost
Each of these benefits may yield significant cost savings to an organization but implementing an SOA strategy is not without its challenges, such as the management of interdependence, scope of deployment, and large change volume.
One of the challenges in adopting an SOA strategy is the delivery or deployment of related services. With discrete, re-usable services being deployed all the time, how do you manage delivery of changes to a service if it depends on another service?
An additional challenge introduced by Service Oriented Architectures is their highly distributed nature. Consider a retail deployment, where a service or group of services may be deployed to hundreds or thousands of individual stores. How do you manage the distribution of a service to hundreds or thousands of target machines?
Finally, with the high volumes of change introduced by such a strategy, how does your IT operations group cope with the rapid changes that are ongoing? Manual procedures are simply not adequate for dealing with the volume of change and managing scenarios such as recovery and rollback.
Much like the cross-platform change scenario, a process-based approach will ensure satisfactory approval is obtained, traceability back to requirements exists, adequate testing and validation occurs to manage the coordinated release of related services. An integrated ALM platform for release management can also help in automating many of your IT operational practices, equipping your teams to deal with higher volumes of change in a repeatable way.
An integrated platform groups related service changes into a single release package, ensuring a coordinated release effort. In addition, deployment can be scaled to support hundreds of target servers for a given release package, ensuring that it can scale for your SOA environment. Through integrated process and workflow, automation ensures that teams can manage with the large volumes of changed introduced by SOA development.
Managing High Volumes of Change
Release management practices are vital for dealing with high volumes of change in an IT environment. Three key benefits of a release management practice are collaboration, efficiency and compliance.
Greater collaboration between application development teams and IT operations teams occurs through the use of common processes and technologies. This cross-team collaboration ensures a clear sense of ownership and more transparency over the release process. This enhanced visibility equips your IT operations teams with a better understanding of application dependencies and the ability to elicit input from the application development teams when constructing a release.
When a release is promoted through stages in the release lifecycle, application development teams can be more dynamically involved through real-time notifications of testing or deployment failures, reducing the overall time to business.
Efficiency is generated through the implementation of a release management practice through automation. The automation of application delivery into production and pre-production environments translates into time saved by staff in overseeing releases. The recovery and rollback process can also be automated, ensuring that when a failure occurs, the corrective action is automatically taken and appropriate owners notified.
Cost efficiencies can be obtained through less operational overtime and through the ability to raise the operational capacity, ultimately dealing with larger volumes of change, to satisfy the business more rapidly.
Finally a release management practice is vital