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Continuous Integration Authors: Karthick Viswanathan, XebiaLabs Blog, Liz McMillan, Mehdi Daoudi, Automic Blog

Related Topics: Agile Software Development, Continuous Integration, DevOps for Business Application Services, Continuous Testing, DevOps Journal

Blog Post

Continuous Delivery Considerations By @XebiaLabs | @DevOpsSummit [#DevOps]

Are you planning on implementing true DevOps good practice of treating Configuration as Code?

11 Things to Consider When Evaluating Continuous Delivery Tools

By Rick Broker

Based on our experience we have found there are several land mines that you need to be aware of when evaluating your Continuous Delivery (CD) tools. As a Senior Principal Architect of a large midwestern bank, I had the opportunity to evaluate XL Deploy and other tools. Some of the key differences and important design considerations that we found were as follows:

  1. Are you planning on implementing true DevOps good practice of treating Configuration as Code? If yes, then do you prefer the approach of copying configurations from one environment to another or would you prefer to define the configuration required independent of the target?

    – XL Deploy helps you define your deployable CIs independent of the target when possible. In this way, you can always discover, compare, report and apply versioned configurations across your deployment pipeline.

  2. Will the tool’s reporting support continuous improvement?

    – You should evaluate the reporting capabilities carefully. Having useful reporting is critical to any continuous improvement process.

  3. What is the future of the tool?

    Will you need to rebuild your entire CD environment in 6 months?

  4. How hard will it be to manage workflows?

    – Other tools use workflows. We know that workflows are problematic and an approach that is not scalable. XebiaLabs has a white paper explaining why Workflows are not a suitable solution. XL Deploy uses a model-based approach to define your continuous delivery process. Since XL Deploy uses a model it can more efficiently deploy only the CIs that need to be changed.

  5. Will OS level patching cause agent problems?

    – Since XL Deploy does not have agents, there is nothing to patch on your target servers. It is less likely that an OS patch on your target servers will break you CD Tool.

  6. Do you want an agent on your target servers?

    XL Deploy is agentless, we use the same methods you currently use to log on to your servers to deploy your configuration items. We don’t require additional software.  XebiaLabs even has a white paper describing why agents are not a suitable approach.  Since XL Deploy uses the same methods that you would use to install your CIs manually, you don’t need to install any additional code.

  7. How much Network Traffic will be driven by the agent?

    – Agents can consume a lot of network traffic calling home to the master server.

  8. How well will the tool integrate with the rest of your environment?

    – Large software organizations try to lock you into their solutions. Therefore, you may experience problems trying to integrate with other tools.  If you are looking for “best of breed” solutions some tools are going to have problems keeping up with your integration points.

  9. Are you comfortable with tool “magic”?

    – With XL Deploy, you can see our deployment scripts that will be used during a deployment. If you don’t like our approach you can override our behavior. Transparency is a better approach (See my blog post “Transparancy CD Tools Good Thing“).  XebiaLabs is much more agile than large organizations and can quickly extend our product to support your needs. Furthermore, there is an active community and plenty of examples to guide users on how to customize XL Deploy.

  10. Is the level of complexity of the tool worth the effort?

    – Because some vendors try to wedge their tool into a broader suite of tools, the level of complexity will go up. We believe the better approach is to choose tools with open APIs that solve delivery challenges across all of your tools.

  11. Do you want to use a Continuous Delivery solution that has weak support for state of the art CI tools like Jenkins & Hudson?

    – Integrating Hudson with some tools is awkward and involves using workflows that inject an unbelievable amount of complexity into a task.  Integrating with XL Deploy is simple.

The post 11 Things to Consider When Evaluating Continuous Delivery Tools appeared first on XebiaLabs.

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XebiaLabs is the technology leader for automation software for DevOps and Continuous Delivery. It focuses on helping companies accelerate the delivery of new software in the most efficient manner. Its products are simple to use, quick to implement, and provide robust enterprise technology.