The ARA Cloud Revolution is HERE: Announcing CloudBees Flow 5.4 Release

Written by: Electric Bee
5 min read
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As the world of application release automation (ARA) continues to evolve and grow, so has the explosion of cloud usage by DevOps teams. SiliconAngle estimates that by the end of 2015, customer spending on cloud services could be more than $180 billion. Concerns of scalability and handling fail-over as well as the flexibility and cost-saving advantages provided by the cloud is driving more companies to invest in cloud services. With CloudBees Flow 5.4 release, we’ve made a huge step forward in the evolution of ‘ARA in the cloud’ as well as brought more flexibility to deployment processes and consistent user experience of our underlying automation platform. We’re thrilled to share this milestone with you and the entire DevOps world!

Seamless integration with the cloud of YOUR choice

Traditionally requiring a combination of scripts, 3rd party tools, and direct use of cloud platform consoles, DevOps teams have had to hand-roll their own solutions around use of cloud resources. With the CloudBees Flow 5.4 release we’ve brought the configuration, provisioning, and management of cloud resources into a singular intuitive interface , drastically reducing the complexity and effort required by DevOps teams to integrate their application deploys with the cloud. With out-of-the-box support for AWS EC2 and OpenStack , customers can now define their commonly used cloud resources in our re-usable Resource Template format, capturing AMI / VM details, instance type, and optional Chef configuration. These templates are then aggregated into cloud environment definitions and called for provisioning automatically as part of the application deployment process. Support for additional cloud platforms, such as Windows Azure and VMware vSphere, can be integrated as well through our flexible plug-in architecture. Collection of Resource Templates ready to be modeled into environments or provisioned as resource pools. This first-class cloud integration feature also satisfies continuous integration (CI) use cases where Resource Templates can be called manually or programmatically to provision a specified quantity of cloud resources for new resource pools. This significantly simplifies on-the-fly provisioning of build servers or deployment targets on public or private cloud infrastructure. Deactivation of both individual cloud resources and entire environments is available within our enhanced management UI.

List of active environments with easy access to Resource Template and Environment Template definitions.

Increased deployment flexibility with process parameters

With CloudBees Flow 5.4, authors of deployment processes can increase their level of flexibility by placing run-time parameters on application deployments. Authors can configure a wide range of parameter types (including text, radio button, checkbox, select list), set the order in which parameters are collected at run-time, and customize the user-facing labels. Once configured, users are automatically presented with a parameter input form when initiating a deployment, allowing for different deployment paths to be taken based on user input. Configuration of process parameters to enhance flexibility in application deployments.

Enhanced UI flows for faster model creation and easier debugging

CloudBees Flow users can now more easily access procedure and workflow platform capabilities needed to enhance deploy automation. In 5.4, debugging has been vastly improved by providing detailed execution information including log files from within the process run screen. This drastically reduces the learning curve for new users and improves upon the usability around deployment troubleshooting within CloudBees Flow.

Access to procedure creation is now available in CloudBees Flow 5.4, enabling customers more direct access to this very powerful feature.

More consistent UI across CloudBees Flow

The flexibility of CloudBees Flow as an automation platform is a major differentiator within the ARA market. Not only does CloudBees Flow assist with ARA, but it also it offers automation across all of DevOps. Because of this, our UI was occasionally inconsistent between different aspects of the product. With the release of 5.4, we have a more consistent UI across all features of CloudBees Flow. Users can now navigate and complete tasks in what feels like one cohesive end-to-end experience without noticing any obvious differences. The updated look and feel of the automation platform provides a more seamless user experience.

Get the latest 5.4 release

Existing customers can download the packages from the CloudBees Sharefile site (check your email for upgrade instructions!). See the product documentation for the Release Notes and Installation Guide for the supported platforms and system requirements. Contact Customer Support with questions or feedback about this release. If you are not currently an CloudBees Flow customer, request a free evaluation.

The pace of innovation continues…

CloudBees Flow continues to move extremely fast into the summer months with development of our pipeline and release product, plus more capabilities around reuse of application deploy components and provisioning of cloud environments for non-deploy use cases. The features we’ve released in CloudBees Flow 5.4 for cloud resource integration, process parameters, and a more consistent design amongst various features of the product will greatly serve DevOps teams as they continue to find more and greater success delivering software with CloudBees Flow. Enjoy!

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