Say Watt? Hello Electric Cloud(Bees)!

Ohm my! CloudBees has acquired Electric Cloud!

Ok, enough of the (shocking) electricity puns. Today marks an incredibly significant milestone in the continued evolution of CloudBees.

Before I talk more about Electric Cloud, I’d like to tell you a story about Karla.

Karla is a release manager at ACME Inc. Karla has a problem. Karla suffers from release anxiety. Most things continuous in software delivery are very good. Being in a continuous state of release anxiety is not one of those things.

It’s Karla’s job to get software released to production so that it can start delivering value to users. She is the person on the end of calls and emails when releases don’t go to plan; when bugs are found that delay releases; when a production release goes awry and creates downtime for the ACME Inc. customers.

Karla wants releases to be predictable, boring non-events. But that’s never the case.

Karla’s success is the cumulative success of all of the various product teams she works with in order to get the release into users hands. But deploying and releasing any non-trivial software is really hard to do consistently well. At ACME Inc., deployment and release are necessarily multidisciplinary activities requiring close collaboration between multiple different people within - and often across - teams and functional groups.

There are many dependencies between the various different parts of the system that all need to be coordinated for every release. Major releases at ACME Inc. include changes across such a wide surface area that there are hundreds of such dependencies. Making sure all of these dependencies are visible and that work across the many different teams is effectively coordinated so that development, testing, delivery and release all go smoothly is a mammoth task for Karla.

The challenge is compounded because teams all have their own way of doing things. Karla has been trying to standardize release processes across the different component and application teams but even where he’s been successful, those processes are at best partially automated, with a roll-your-own approach for each team. Testing, staging and production environments are not managed consistently, and the delivery pipelines for each team have no standardization and are brittle. It’s not uncommon that configuration drift in snowflake environments in at least one team has some sort of breaking impact during release cycles. Karla knows that teams need to have autonomy and flexibility to experiment with new processes and tools, but wishes there was a way for them to do so safely without risk of breaking things so often.

And when it comes to making go/no-go decisions on releases, it’s really difficult to do that with confidence since the information needed to get that confidence is difficult to find without fear of missing any.

It might be easier for Karla to manage all of this effectively if she didn’t spend so much time creating reports for her leadership team around release status, readiness, risks, and productivity metrics. Pulling all of that stuff together is mainly manual, time consuming, and unfortunately error prone. Beyond regular reporting, internal and external audits are the stuff of nightmares for Karla.

None of this gets easier over time. Ultimately, Karla sees a lot of waste in the way they work at ACME Inc., but doesn’t really have any good way to quantify that waste or logically guide and drive improvements.

And so it comes to pass that Karla is in this perpetual state of release anxiety. She’s constantly worried about issues with releases caused by complex meshes of dependencies between teams and software components, about getting the right information to the right people when it’s needed, and about how one last minute bug or environment issue might derail even the best-laid plans. She’s even been known to cancel weekend plans with family because things at work have taken an unexpected turn. Nowadays she doesn’t even arrange things for weekends near a release.  Release anxiety is not a good state to be in.

Whilst Karla and ACME Inc. are fictional, the scenarios depicted in that short narrative are all too true. I’ve seen them myself, and many of you I’m sure have worked in organizations where you’ve seen and lived through at least some of the pains that Karla and ACME Inc. face.

Release tomorrow’s software, today….enter Electric Cloud!

The problems faced by Karla and ACME Inc. are some of the problems that continuous delivery and release orchestration solutions address, and none does so better than Electric Flow from Electric Cloud.

The team at Electric Cloud have built *the best* solution for managing, automating and orchestrating the release of software. The undisputed leader in the 2018 Forrester Wave for CDRA (Continuous Delivery and Release Automation), and leader for three consecutive years in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for ARO (Application Release Orchestration).

And as of today, Electric Flow became CloudBees Flow.

CloudBees Flow provides an easily repeatable path to quality, integrity and security throughout the release process, at any scale. It makes it easy to model releases and environments and to create and share processes and automation that can be easily adopted by autonomous teams via a self-service catalog.cloudbees flow

Even the most complex dependencies can be visualized and tracked across many teams, environments and software components that need to be orchestrated for successful release. Configuration drift across environments is easily detected and can be automatically remedied. When necessary, deployments can be seamlessly rolled back to a previous state. Dashboards serve multiple audiences and make painful and error-prone reporting tasks a thing of the past. Machine learning powers proactive risk analysis for releases to allow potential issues to be dealt with before they create impact. Additionally, your existing Jenkins infrastructure integrates seamlessly with CloudBees Flow and provides best of breed continuous integration to feed into the continuous delivery and release orchestration workflows of CloudBees Flow.

All of these capabilities come together to make releases predictable and boring. And in doing so are solving release anxiety for the release managers at organizations all across the globe.

And that’s not all - Electric Cloud have also created an amazing product that helps development teams make orders of magnitude improvements in their automation efficiency through build and test acceleration with Electric Accelerator, now known as CloudBees Accelerator.

In welcoming Electric Cloud into the CloudBees family, we are strengthening further our ability to help any software driven organization deliver more value, faster.

Existing CloudBees and Electric Cloud customers can expect some incredibly exciting product innovations now that the teams are able to start working together. We’ll share more details soon, but we’re all extremely excited about the potential to build even greater things going forward!

Ben Williams
VP Product Management, CloudBees

Additional resources