CloudBees Continuous Delivery/ Release Orchestration (CD/RO) is an application release orchestration and deployment automation solution that brings real-time transparency across your software development lifecycle (SDLC). By combining these capabilities into a single product, enterprises can effectively deploy to production while receiving additional benefits through orchestration and analytics.
CloudBees CD/RO enables developer autonomy in tooling while providing governance guardrails. This blog discusses a recent feature that furthers this cause: Third-Party Deployment.
What is deployment automation?
Let’s set the stage by defining deployment automation, which allows you to move your software between testing and production environments using automated processes. Deployment automation leads to repeatable and reliable deployments across the software delivery cycle, enabling faster releases while removing human intervention.
Deployment automation is used alongside continuous delivery and continuous deployment to help achieve faster and more efficient deployments. While continuous deployment is specific to automating deployment changes to production, deployment automation is a broader concept encompassing the entire deployment process, including building, packaging, and deploying software.
How Release Orchestration Plays in
Release orchestration brings everything together by sequencing software releases across environments and tooling. It ensures a governed release process by mapping out and executing all steps while automatically capturing evidence to generate audit trails. It provides visibility across the SDLC, enabling centralized insights to improve release effectiveness.
From a visual perspective, imagine release orchestration as an air traffic controller. Travelers often take for granted that their flights will safely reach their end destination. Behind the scenes, air traffic controllers ensure all flights, not just your flight, are coordinated to deliver a smooth experience. If they only focused on a single plane, they wouldn’t be able to provide an optimal experience across takeoff, in-flight, and landing. The same is true for release orchestration, except instead of planes, we’re talking about release pipelines spanning multiple teams, tools, and environments. When properly coordinated, release orchestration brings order and control to software releases' (potential) chaos to ensure an efficient and secure experience.
How CloudBees Addresses Deployments
Now that we have defined core capabilities, let’s discuss how these get implemented. CloudBees CD/RO is a recognized leader in deployment automation and release orchestration for a few reasons:
Model-based deployments: replace brittle scripts to enable predictable, repeatable, automated deployments.
Extensibility: a robust marketplace of out-of-the-box integrations and support for numerous applications (traditional, cloud-native), CloudBees enables a consistent experience across all tooling and environments.
Pipeline visibility: real-time evidence links to third-party tools and environment inventory at the component level. This visibility helps identify drift and improve software delivery effectiveness. It also allows for automated audit trails to prove governance.
Since we package these as a single product, we advise customers to use our deployment automation capability alongside our release orchestration to maximize their investment. However, not all enterprises are willing to standardize across all tools in their DevOps stack. Thus, we constantly seek to add new features to extend our solutions so that Platform Services teams can better realize value through standardization.
Before this feature, CloudBees could support using third-party deployment solutions through plugin integrations or invoking APIs from a pipeline task. However, this approach had noticeable downsides compared to our native deployment capabilities, including an absence of:
Introducing Third-Party Deployment
Third-Party Deployment was released in December 2022 as a part of v10.11.0, making it easier to utilize the benefits of CloudBees CD/RO traditional deployment capabilities when using a third-party tool for deployment.
Platform Services teams can apply the feature to any deployment tool, such as Jenkins, Spinnaker, Ansible Tower, Octopus Deploy, Flux CD, and Argo CD. The benefit of this is getting visibility into what and where these external tools have deployed, not just the fact that they have run.
How does this work
The CloudBees CD/RO pipeline tasks for CI, Plugin, Procedure, and Command have been extended to support deploy and undeploy operations. Additionally, a new application type External, has been introduced. User-provided application and component version information is used to push environment inventory and analytics data.
Under the hood, an external application and environment are automatically created as containers for the inventory and analytics data. The application and environment models are empty shells only used to track data, but users can add metadata to these to extend their functionality. For complete setup details, visit Docs.
CloudBees CD/RO is an enterprise DevOps solution supporting organizations to maximize their software delivery effectiveness. Our deployment automation capabilities are extensible, ensuring that we meet customers where they are today while providing the capabilities needed to transform their DevOps practices.
As a result of our third-party deployment feature, CloudBees can enhance all deployment solutions through our industry-leading release orchestration capabilities to provide automated repeatability, process visibility, environment inventory, and analytics to the release process.
To learn more, visit our documentation page.