For many development teams, the process of releasing software to end users requires a significant time investment to ensure high levels of quality and functionality. This is true for software releases in nearly all industries when following a traditional software-release schedule. However, there’s another release option that provides users with access to software faster without sacrificing quality. This option, a software-engineering approach known as continuous delivery, streamlines the release process, allows for user feedback to guide further development, and ultimately leads to a better end product.
What is Continuous Delivery?
If you want to truly understand the benefits of continuous delivery, it’s necessary to first understand the continuous-delivery approach. Unlike traditional software-engineering approaches, continuous delivery focuses on short production cycles with the goal of fast, reliable software releases. It facilitates the rapid delivery of software that allows for the seamless integration of changes and the addition of new features. By taking this approach, development teams are able to implement software changes in a more efficient manner under the guidance of steady feedback from actual users.
One of the reasons why continuous delivery enhances developers’ abilities to deliver reliable software at a rapid pace is that it introduces new architectural attributes. These attributes, specifically testability and deployability, automate various tasks to boost efficiency and software stability. With testable architecture, automated tests can be utilized to detect software defects, reducing or even eliminating dependence on the use of integrated environments for testing. Deployable architecture reduces orchestration requirements and allows for products and individual services to be automatically deployed. By utilizing modular architecture that prioritizes testability and deployability, members of the development team are better able to work both independently and interdependently, something that encourages a culture of cooperation and innovation.
To help make the concept of continuous delivery clearer, imagine, for a moment, hiring a software-development team to create and implement your company’s new billing software. Fortunately for you, the team opts to utilize a continuous-delivery approach. Shortly after greenlighting the project, the initial release of the software arrives, allowing for early implementation and testing. Early adopters of the new software offer their thoughts and suggestions to members of the development team, who can then implement requested changes with each new release. Additionally, with the flexibility that continuous delivery provides, keeping your new billing software current and compatible with your industry’s practices will be possible and practical for years to come.
The Benefits of Continuous Delivery
Now that you have an understanding of the continuous-delivery approach, let’s explore a few of its most significant advantages over other development approaches. With continuous delivery, end users experience the following benefits:
- Faster Releases: One of continuous delivery’s primary benefits is a faster, more frequent release schedule. New software reaches end users faster, and subsequent changes can be implemented more readily.
- Better Functionality: Thanks to frequent feedback and a reliable deployment process, software teams are able to provide end users with incremental updates designed to provide the features and changes requested most.
- Efficient Development: Continuous delivery makes better use of the development team’s time and reduces the ultimate cost of software production. These savings can be passed on to consumers or reinvested in further software development and support.
- Software Reliability: With a more reliable release process in use, implementing new features, fixing bugs, and making other software changes is safer. As software development continues, end users can expect improved reliability with each new release.
Continuous Delivery in Action
Considering the fact that continuous delivery offers a number of significant advantages over other software-engineering approaches, it’s not hard to find examples of continuous delivery in action. One of the most impressive examples, however, is that of Huawei, one of China’s leading telecommunications-equipment companies. An article posted on SD Times details exactly how Huawei managed to successfully scale the number of developers working on their software from 2,000 to more than 40,000 by utilizing continuous delivery.
The driving force behind Huawei’s implementation of continuous delivery was a need to incorporate software features faster in order to meet the expectations of their growing user base. Initial attempts to implement new software changes and features followed a traditional software-engineering approach, but the lack of automation and integration made the release process far too cumbersome to scale efficiently. With these issues preventing Huawei from obtaining a fast, reliable software-release schedule, it was clear that a major change would be necessary.
Ultimately, this change came in the form of a continuous-delivery platform that allowed for the seamless shared integration of building, testing, deployment, and more into the software-development process. Thanks to Huawei’s continuous-delivery implementation, their software-development teams are now able to accomplish more than:
From a software-development standpoint, these figures are certainly impressive. More impressive still is the impact that continuous-delivery practices had on Huawei’s business. Not only was Huawei able to reduce operating costs significantly by boosting the efficiency of software delivery and development, they were able to penetrate the global market more effectively thanks to higher quality software running on their devices.
Continuous Delivery: A Summary
Continuous delivery is a streamlined approach to software development that focuses on short release cycles and allows for the implementation of further software changes with increased ease and reliability over other approaches. The benefits of continuous delivery include:
- Software can be released quickly, frequently, and reliably
- End-user input guides development and enhances functionality
- Development is more efficient, saving both time and money
By implementing an effective continuous-delivery processes platform, the software-release process becomes more efficient and ultimately more reliable. Continuous delivery reduces cycle time and the potential for errors, which makes it possible for companies to implement software changes on an as-needed basis without worrying about the reliability of new releases.
As companies shift their software-engineering teams toward continuous delivery model it is important to automate their testing and deployment processes. Rigor enables companies to build performance testing into these processes and programmatically identify performance regressions during the deployment process. Interested in learning more? Contact us today to start a free two week trial and start the process of integrating performance testing into your deployment process.
Keep an eye on our blog for future posts on continuous delivery and the benefits it provides companies and their end users. To learn more about how Rigor’s continuous-delivery approach can enhance your software and improve your business, contact us today.