What is Continuous Delivery? 

by Alastair Wilkes in

Understanding Continuous Delivery’s Role in DevOps

Most DevOps teams use the method of Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CICD) for software release management. Why? This effective framework helps DevOps teams deliver new software and frequent updates to customers faster. With ongoing automation and continuous monitoring throughout the entire software development lifecycle software delivery is streamlined. 

In this article we’ll answer the top Continuous Delivery questions:

What is Continuous Delivery?

Continuous Delivery is the software development practice where code changes are automatically prepared for release. Continuous Delivery is a pillar in modern application development automating the deployment of all code changes from development to testing environments after the build stage, meant to create shorter, more effective feedback loop improving software quality.

Continuous Delivery is linked with Continuous Integration and is the second phase of the CICD pipeline, an automated software release pipeline. So, let’s first break down the two phases of the CICD pipeline. In Continuous Integration (CI), the first phase of the CICD pipeline, developers build, test, and merge code changes into the main software branch.

In the second phase of the CICD pipeline, Continuous Delivery (CD), developers focus on enabling code to be released for production. A pillar of modern application development, Continuous Delivery expands upon Continuous Integration by deploying all code changes to testing environments after the build stage. 

When Continuous Delivery is properly implemented, developers will always have a deployment-ready build artifact that has passed through a standardized test process. 

Related Article: A Crash Course in Continuous Delivery

What is Continuous Delivery within DevOps?

DevOps culture combines philosophies, practices, and tools in order to increase an organization's ability to deliver applications and services faster. DevOps focus on velocity of product improvements and evolution, empowering organizations to better serve their customers and stay competitive in their market. Continuous Delivery is a practice that supports DevOps culture.

Within DevOps, Continuous Delivery helps to automate the code delivery process. helping developers deploy new code with less effort and with quicker turnaround times. This ultimately results in speedier automated code deployment and testing, which creates less harried developers, happier customers, and a more consistent, improved workflow.

Why is Continuous Delivery important to DevOps teams?

Continuous Delivery is extremely important for successful, efficient software deployment. Continuous Delivery creates the most efficient and repeatable software release processes, which creates a more consistent, effective workflow. For DevOps teams, Continuous Delivery is a practice used for faster and more reliable building, testing, and releasing of software. Teams can improve DevOps ROI by implementing effective Continuous Delivery processes.

By automating otherwise manual processes, Continuous Delivery makes them consistent and easily repeatable. Every code deployment to a testing environment is identical, removing the guesswork on whether errors were from inconsistent code deployment. Anomalies are reduced with consistent environment configuration.

What are the key benefits of Continuous Delivery? 

1. Confidence in Deployments

By automating code deployment from development to staging, Continuous Delivery ensures manual errors and inefficiencies are bypassed or eliminated, giving teams more confidence in their releases. Software deployments become painless and low-risk, and can be performed at on-demand at any time.

2. Lowers Costs

Developers and admins save substantial time with effective Continuous Delivery practices, freeing up time for improving service levels. Teams can reduce redundant roles without compromising the quality of their product.

3. Happier Customers

The automation of testing allows for speedier release cycles of new features and apps. Continuous Delivery streamlines the deployment to environments for automated testing. This means every revision or change that’s committed triggers an automated flow that builds, tests, and then stages the latest update. 

4. Improved Teamwork & Visibility

With more frequent, consistent releases from CD, communication between developers, operations, leadership, and clients can be improved. Without Continuous Delivery, developers and operations are separated by a wide gulf of manual, error-prone hand-offs and inconsistent workflows. CD closes that gap.

The bottom line: Implementation of Continuous Delivery eliminates unnecessary and time-consuming manual processes, automates the software release cycle, and saves DevOps teams time, money, and sanity.

How can you improve your Continuous Delivery pipeline?

We’ve talked with leading experts on the evolution of the CICD pipeline as well as covered the top influences on CICD trends. A key factor that is helping teams improve their Continuous Delivery workflows further is the adoption of Continuous Quality through predictive test selection.

Testing cycles continue to be a bottleneck within workflows, especially as more complex tests like integration testing and end-to-end testing introduce many variables. The next generation of CICD testing automation aims at increasing velocity through identifying the critical tests to run, cutting the size of your test suite to the critical tests, without risking the quality of your code by including the most critical tests. Through machine learning, teams can test confidently while drastically reducing testing load by running a fraction of their test suite with Launchable’s Predictive Test Selection. 

Learn how Launchable’s Predictive Test Selection can improve your CICD pipeline today. 

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