“These go to 11.” One of the great lines from the classic mockumentary – This is Spinal Tap. Spoken by fictional rock guitarist Nigel Tufnel in the wonderful scene where he proudly shows off how his amplifier has a volume range of 0 to 11. Still hilarious after 30-odd years.
With DevOps and continuous delivery, organisations can also shoot for 11 – striving to take automation to its ultimate limit and then exceeding it. One hundred software deployments today, why not thousands tomorrow? Heck, let’s crank up the release volume to the max and push every code commit all the way to production.
But just being able to turn up the deployment dial is child’s play compared to what DevOps can deliver. True practitioners understand implicitly that volume counts for nothing if application quality or supportability suffers. Not content with velocity alone, expert practitioners ramp up all dials to 11 on the business amplifier – concurrently – including quality, resilience, supportability and compliance.
This takes some seriously effective collaboration supported by advanced cross-functional toolset integrations. Here are ‘11’ good ones to consider:
- Automatically convert user stories from agile planning into the smallest set of test cases which cover 100 percent of the functionality in the user stories, linked to the right data and expected results.
- Provide a real-time dashboard for managing and monitoring multi-application release content (user stories, features, bug fixes) through the entire release pipeline. This enables teams to gain visibility of release progress, more easily reconcile dependencies and map to business requirements.
- Automatically attach test data criteria to test cases produced with agile planning tools. As features get promoted from dev to test to pre-production this allows execution of test cases with data that already exists in the target environment.
- Integrate application performance management (APM) within continuous integration to check software builds against pass/fail conditions. Top solutions enable developers to invoke this quality check right from the tools they use (e.g. Jenkins dashboard) and be taken in context to APM data.
- Leverage service virtualization to generate realistic services and inject referentially correct data with fully integrated test data management. This significantly improves the efficiency and quality of testing, while reducing compliance risk.
- Speed the test bed preparation process by automating test data generation and reservation services as part of each deployment workflow.
- Automatically initiate test case processes and tie the results back into releases to determine go/no go for automated promotion, enabling faster, higher quality deployments.
- Provision virtual services and execute test suites on multiple virtual environments directly within a deployment workflow. By deploying into any testing environment, teams no longer have to wait for hardware environments to be built and become ready for testing.
- Automatically deploy and initiate application performance monitoring as part of a deployment workflow, with metric capture feeding back critical performance information before and after release promotion.
- Integrate API management with APM for in-depth visibility into problematic APIs that impact the customer experience and application performance. Capabilities should extend to proactive alerting on emerging issues and the ability to trace the interaction of APIs related to specific business transactions.
- Enable APM users to incorporate load test scenarios with key performance metrics into their business analysis. This supports faster detection of issues and more opportunities to positively improve application quality.
There will be many more toolchain integrations to consider, but these 11 are great ones to start with. They help ensure quality is injected into every release, while addressing key issues associated with maintaining compliance and improving application supportability.
Of note too, is how essential data, metrics and workflows are integrated seamlessly in the context of roles, functions and processes across the entire software lifecycle. This way the entire pipeline moves with purpose, while individual disciplines, be that development, testing or IT operations are never impaired.
So go ahead, crank up your DevOps practices to 11 and fully amplify the incredible digital business opportunity.