A Better Way to Solve the Complexities of Release Management

Having spent many years of my career in both IT operations and application development, I’ve seen both sides of the problem. I remember quite vividly the late night weekend heroics onsite implementing a new release or being woken up at home on a failed release. I’ve also experienced the intense deadline pressure as a developer to deliver the new features that will help ensure that the business makes its quarterly number. From each perspective I always viewed the other team as … well, “the other team.” We rarely spoke unless there were problems or we were at the very end of the release, and I had no visibility into what that team was doing or needed until it was typically too late. We had a process but it was slow, cumbersome, and fragile to say the least. Does this sound familiar? Not much has changed since my days as a developer.

Everyone has a release management process, but the majority of customers we have talked to are unhappy with the current state of release management. That is why the DevOps movement is gaining so much traction. DevOps core principles of culture, automation, measurement, and sharing (CAMS) makes so much sense. Up until now, software vendors have focused solely on solving the “A” part of the problem – automation. Sure automation is important, required, and a great place to start and get some quick wins. But just automating deployments does not address the lack of collaboration, sharing, and visibility. Automating “garbage in” will only make “garbage out” faster. Yes, failing fast is better than failing slow, but I’d rather succeed fast, wouldn’t you?

With the introduction of Serena Release Manager v5, Serena Software becomes the first and only vendor to address the challenges of the complete release lifecycle. Serena Release Manager v5 allows companies to orchestrate their entire release lifecycle by bringing together release process management and application release automation in a single product. Serena Release Manager bridges the DevOps divide by integrating with existing tool chains, and by simplifying and automating handoffs across development, quality, and operations teams. By supporting continuous delivery and production deployments, Serena Release Manager creates a repeatable and consistent release process across distributed, cloud, and mainframe applications. Serena Release Manager v5 capabilities include:

  • Proactive Dashboards, Calendars, and Reports: Provides unified timeline views of release trains and application releases. Out-of-the-box tracking and process improvement Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) supported by a fully integrated role-based dashboard and reporting system delivers actionable insight into the end-to-end release management process to all stakeholders.
  • Ability to plan, track, and control the release process: Delivers best practice out-of-the-box yet easily tailored processes that manage releases throughout the entire path to production. These processes are versioned, shared, controlled, and auditable, enabling users to plan and schedule releases, track milestones and stage gates.
  • Management of Deployments and Environments: Supports the management, scheduling, and configuration of development and test environments within the release process. Define, document, automate, manage, and report on deployment processes that implement changes into releases with Runbooks and Turnovers.
  • Application Release Automation: Provides visually defined, model-driven automated deployments that integrate with the entire DevOps tool chain. Acts as a deployment hub to integrate existing deployment tools while providing end-to-end release management.
  • DevOps Integration and Coordination: Unifies, coordinates, and automates processes that connect teams and tools. Process automation routes tasks and notifications and streamlines handoffs from Dev to Ops. Granular process audit trails track handoffs. Integrated email notification and social feeds improve communication and visibility. Built-in audit trails make compliance easy.
  • Enterprise Scalability: Provides complete compliance and audit support with a highly scalable, multitiered architecture that supports LDAP and AD authentication and enterprise security policies.

The DevOps principles of culture, automation, measurement, and sharing (CAMS) support the objective of delivering customer value faster and more reliably. While it’s true that Serena Release Manager does not change culture, it does start an important transformation by eliminating the manual steps, botched handoffs, and poor communication that reinforce stereotypes, breed mistrust, and deepen silos. With the automation of previously manual and error-prone human tasks, and with the transparency of the release process across diverse silos, smart and capable Dev and Ops practitioners are freed up to do more value-added work, collaborate better with colleagues, and communicate more effectively up and downstream.

With Serena Release Manager, organizations deploy and follow a release process that is instrumented at every step. Cycle times and stage durations are automatically measured and reported, allowing organizations to focus on continuous improvement, delivering more customer value faster and more reliably.  To see the latest version of Serena Release Manager in action, tune in to the live webcast and demonstration on Tuesday, December 17.

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