<DevOps Tech: 8 crucial steps for improved Deployment Automation/>

Deployment automation allows you to deploy software to production and testing environments with a single command. Learn more here

Deployment automation is the feature that allows you to deploy software to production and testing environments with a single command. Automation can significantly reduce production deployment risks. In addition to that, it provides quick software quality feedback. This is made possible by enabling teams to test your software comprehensively immediately after changes. Read on to learn more about DevOps tech and deployment automation within that sphere.

Understanding Deployment Automation

The Automated deployment process includes various inputs. These include:

  • Packages that are created by the continuous integration (CI) process (you can deploy these packages to any environment, which also includes production environments).
  • Configuration information that’s specific to the environment
  • Scripts to deploy packages, configure environments, and perform deployment tests (which are also known as smoke tests)

Moreover, it’s best to store configuration information and scripts in scripts in version control. Also, make sure that your automated deployment process downloads the packages from an artifact repository. Examples of repositories include Artifactory, Nexus, Container Registry, or the built-in repository by your CI tools.

Understanding the Purpose of Scripts

Now that you have a preliminary understanding of scripts, you must understand the tasks they perform in deployment automation. Thus, scripts:

  • Deploy the packages
  • Perform necessary configuration
  • Prepare target environments by configuring or installing any required software, or it may do so by initiating virtual hosts from pre-prepared images present in cloud providers like Google Cloud.
  • Run database migration scripts or perform other similar DevOps tasks related to deployment
  • Perform deployment tests to ensure that the systems function well and that it can reach external devices

8 Steps to Implementing Deployment Automation in Technology Companies

There are certain best practices regarding implementing deployment automation in technology companies. These practices ensure that necessary software is available to companies and there are no halts to their operations, such as those regarding app development. Thus these practices are essential to DevOps, so here’s what you must know.

1. Use the Same Automated Deployment Process for All Environments You should perform this practice even in production environments. Doing so will make that you’re testing the automated deployment process several times before using it for deploying to production.

2. Use the Same Packages for All Environments Like with the automated deployment process, you must also make sure to use the same packages for all environments, including production environments. Thus, you must keep packages separate from configurations that are environment-specific. As a result, you can ensure that the packages you deploy to production are precisely the ones that you have already tested.

3. Give Access to Anyone Who Has the Required Credentials You must allow anyone who has the required credentials to deploy the artifact of any version to all types of environments on-demand and through a completely automated process. You will not complete deployment automation if you must create tickets for every user and wait for them to prepare the environment.

4. Enable the Recreation Process of the State of All Environments You should make it possible for users to do this process using information that is stored in version control. This is an effective DevOps practice because it makes that your deployments are repeatable. In addition to that, it enables you to restore the state of production if there’s a disaster recovery scenario.

5. Understanding Common Challenges of Deployment Automation While deployment automation streamlines software deployment, it does come with some common challenges. It’s best to understand these challenges so that you can take measures to minimize the effect they have on your company.

6. The Complexity of the Existing Process Automating a deployment process that’s complex and fragile will result in an automated process that is also complex and fragile. Thus, for deploying enterprise software, you must re-architect the process for deployability. So, you must make the deployment script simple, and you should push the complexity to the infrastructure platform and application code. Identify deployment failure modes and determine how to avoid them by making your infrastructure platform, components, monitoring, and services smarter. Thus, you should aim to enable your cloud-native applications to run on platforms-as-services (e.g., Pivotal Cloud Foundry, Could Run, or App Engine) with deployment through a single command.

7. Dependencies Between Services Several deployment processes need orchestration, specifically in enterprise environments. This means that you must deploy many services together in a specific order while performing tasks in strict synchronization. Many enterprise software deployment tools can help with this issue. However, these tools are only temporary solutions to an architectural problem, which is a strong dependency between various services and components. You will eventually have to address this dependency. Thus, you must aim to reach the point where should be able to deploy your services independently without the need for orchestration.

8. Improving Deployment Automation You should work toward improving the automated deployment process so that you can streamline operations at your company and effectively work on building cloud infrastructure and more. Begin by documenting all parts of the current deployment process in a tool that developers can access. A wiki or Google Docs will work. After that, work on gradually simplifying deployment automation. Follow the tasks below to accomplish this.

  • Package code so that its suitable for deployment
  • Create pre-configured virtual machine containers or images
  • Automate the configuration and deployment of middleware
  • Copy files or packages into production environments
  • Restart services, applications, or servers
  • Use templates to generate configuration files
  • Run automated deployment tests to ensure the system works and is configured correctly
  • Run testing procedures
  • Script and automate database migrations

The Bottom Line

An automated deployment process is an integral part of DevOps tech. However, you must make specific adjustments to ensure that it works smoothly. You cannot take full advantage of automation if you have to consistently approve users or if the process is too complex. Are you looking to deploy automation in your company? Hooligans can help. We specialize in custom software development, mobile app development, enterprise software development, automation, and DevOps interventions. Contact us today for more information.

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