Taking Application Release Automation (ARA) to the Next Level: Announcing CloudBees Flow 5.3 Release

Written by: Electric Bee

5 min read

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The new year of 2015 is off to a bang for the world of DevOps and all of us here at CloudBees are extremely excited about helping to drive further innovation around continuous delivery and application release automation (ARA) with our powerful suite of CloudBees Flow products. Before we get too far into 2015 I’d like to take a quick look back at the amazing pace of innovation we produced in the latter part of 2014.

v5.2RESTful API and extending core capabilities in 5.2

Version 5.2 of CloudBees Flow which was released last October was a major leap forward with extending core capabilities and enabling customers to satisfy more of their deploy automation use cases. Some of the key featured introduced in 5.2:

  • Lowered risk and faster deployments through Smart Deploy
  • Partial Deployments for additional flexibility
  • Improved user experience to trigger deploy with Last Run
  • Kick off unattended deployment using Scheduled Deployment
  • Deployment Notifications over email
  • Easier integrations through RESTful API
  • Ability to define complex business rules using Javascript API
  • Visibility into server activity though System Health Monitoring

v5.3Versioning, Change History and more in CloudBees Flow 5.3

The most recent version of CloudBees Flow released last month addresses key issues that DevOps teams face around versioning and change history of objects within their deploy automation workflows. Our focus was to solve some of the most fundamental and critical problems with versioning in ARA and lay the foundation for future innovation in this area. Here is what we delivered:

  • Complete visibility into changes to objects through “Change Tracking”: Changes to all relevant objects within CloudBees Flow Deploy are now tracked and versioned. This feature provides a view into the history of objects (such as tiers of applications and environments, components, steps, properties, and procedures) including their creation, modification and deletion. It is now possible to have complete audit of changes including who made the change, when the change was made and what the exact change was.This visibility into the change history of objects greatly enhances root cause analysis and aids in troubleshooting . In addition this helps with enterprise level auditing requirements. change-history
  • Change history record for all objects modified between the user-defined date range. The list can be sorted by object type, change type, project, and user.
  • Rapid troubleshooting and repair through object revert: When something goes wrong and you are triaging the root-cause it will now be possible to ‘revert’ back to a point in time to ensure continuity. All relevant changes to key objects can now be reverted to their previous state. The system also supports complete hierarchical reversion to ensure dependencies are maintained. This ability to revert significantly improves recovery time from a bad change to your deploy automation workflow.
  • Improved deployment success rate with Snapshots: The new Snapshot feature provides the ability to record all aspects of a deployment for comparison and reuse. By capturing exact versions of artifacts and processes, users are able to remove variance as they get closer to production deployments. Deploying using certified snapshots significantly improves success rates of deployments in controlled environment thereby reducing risk. snapshot
  • Taking a new snapshot of an application in CloudBees Flow Deploy. Artifacts default to their current versions but can be manually set as needed.
  • Identify environment drift using Snapshot comparison: Users can now compare their current deployed application in an environment to existing snapshots, providing value for troubleshooting and compliance needs. This allows tracking drifts in an environment from a baseline, or a ‘desired state’, as captured in a snapshot. Users can then easily fix the drift by deploying again using the baseline snapshot.
  • Comparison of QA and Prod snapshots to identify any differences. Note the ‘Changes: 2’ in the top right alerting the operator to the quantity of differences.
  • Quickly rollback using Snapshots: In case of a failed deployment or defects found in the latest release, snapshots allow a fast way to rollback to a known good state for continuity.
  • rollback-to-snapshot
  • Rolling back to a previous snapshot.

  ElectricCommander , the powerful platform underpinning CloudBees Flow Deploy, has also been extended with the new "Change Tracking" ability to better serve customers who leverage complex procedures and workflows in their ARA solution.

Get the latest 5.3 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.


2015 and beyond

In 2015 the pace of innovation for CloudBees Flow will continue at a fast clip. With our 45 day feature-release cycle and our larger, long term support (LTS) releases we’ll be putting new ARA functionality into the hands of DevOps teams around the world at an amazing rate. We look forward to sharing this all with you!

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