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In the DevOps world, Continuous Deployment needs no introduction. 

By making sure every change that passes through all stages of the production pipeline is released to customers, Continuous Deployment helps accelerate time-to-market. It eliminates the need for human intervention, makes bug identification (and resolution) easier, and ensures that every change is triggered automatically – thus shortening the feedback loop and allowing developers to focus all of their attention on building good-quality software.

In the traditional world, Continuous Deployment comprised a series of manual, time-consuming, error-prone tasks, while in the modern world it has undergone a complete transformation – especially with the use of advanced tools and technologies. 

Let’s dive right into the basic premise of Continuous Deployment and see how it looks in the modern world. 

Continuous Deployment – An Introduction 

In DevOps, the basic premise of Continuous Deployment is simple to understand - build software in a way that every change that is introduced is automatically deployed to production – so that working software can be released quickly and automatically. 

This is what the Continuous Deployment process looks like: 

• Build software using Agile Scrum methodologies, with a strong focus on functionality. 

• Check-in each update and change into a Version Control System (VCS). 

• Have the VCS trigger the Build and Unit Test task with feedback automatically fed back into the development stage. 

• Incorporate feedback into the code and automatically have the process of Test Automation triggered. 

• Once the tests have been approved, carry out necessary User Acceptance Tests. 

• Once the test results have been approved, release the software.  

The benefits? Faster development of software, easy-to-fix issues, low-risk releases, reduced lead time, and a continuous stream of improvements. 

The Modern Outlook 

The continuous deployment lifecycle is reasonably straightforward: once a new software package is ready, teams need to prepare the test environment machine. Once the test environment machine is ready, the code is tested. If the test outputs a failed result, the developer is notified, whereas if it is a success, the test environment machine is prepared. The entire process is repeated until the production deployment.

In the traditional world, almost all activities in the deployment lifecycle are carried out manually. However, in the modern world, everything is automated. 

Let’s look at what continuous deployment in the modern world looks like: 

  1. Getting the required machine 

    Traditional approach: Previously, teams made use of physical servers to get the required machine ready. Since tasks were done manually, it took several days before teams could get the required machine ready.

    Current options: Today, with the use of Virtual Machines and the Cloud, teams can get machines ready in minutes (or even seconds). In addition, provisioning tools such as Docker and EC2 are allowing teams to automate the process of setting up infrastructure components and increase software release speed like never before.

  2. Installing the database and the app server

    Traditional approach: Earlier, installation activities like setting up database and app server was done manually. Teams referred to a checklist and ticked items off the list to make sure everything was in order. However, the chances of error were extremely high. Even a small mistake required teams to carry out complete rework – which brought down deployment speed by a large margin. 

    Current options: With the use of modern tools like Cobbler and Foreman, teams can quickly set up the installation environment. Since these tools automate most of the tasks, teams can save time and complexity in hopping between different commands and applications while deploying new systems. In addition, configuration files are paving the way for faster installations, while tools like Puppet and Chef are making integration quick and straightforward. 

  3. Deploying the application codebase while populating test data

    Traditional approach: In the past, when it came to deploying an application codebase, teams had to do the deployment manually while populating test data.

    Current options: Now, with the use of tools like Chef and Puppet, teams are able to deploy the latest codebase almost instantly. Since these tools help in machine setup, not just on physical servers but also on virtual machines and the cloud, they make controlling and managing infrastructure a cakewalk. The tools ensure that all files and software that are required on a machine are configured correctly and working as intended. What’s more, these tools are able to integrate tasks 1 and 2 and make it a one-step deployment process – thus improving deployment accuracy and reducing deployment time. 

Make Deployment a Breeze 

As organizations struggle to deliver high-quality software to customers quickly, the concept of Continuous Deployment is making deployment a breeze. By automatically deploying every change into production, it is enabling teams to bring good quality, bug-free software into the market – quickly and easily.  

In the modern world, through the use of advanced tools, you can set up the deployment infrastructure in seconds, automate the testing process, and meet the time-to-market deadlines with ease. 

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