Transform your software release processes: Introducing CloudBees Flow 6.1 with Release

Written by: Electric Bee
6 min read
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Is your ability to release software keeping up with your development team’s ability to create customer value? Do you find application dependencies missing, or the wrong versions of dependent applications installed in production? With all the release activity, is it hard to keep track of different release statuses, or which application versions ended up on which environments? In the past few years, many large and “traditional” software organizations have begun evolving their software release processes using Continuous Delivery and DevOps principles. And this is with good reason. There is growing evidence from more than just Unicorns that doing so reduces time to market, increases quality, and increases innovation cycles. With the release of CloudBees Flow 6.1 comes a new module called Release , which increases the speed and quality of releases, while reducing the risks.

Transform at your own pace

The transformation to Continuous Delivery and DevOps does not happen over night. But while that transformation happens, there are still releases to get done, whether by traditional means, by using CD and DevOps methodologies, or somewhere in between. CloudBees Flow Release can help release teams solve their challenges today, while at the same time encouraging and supporting the transition to more modern release methods, on a single platform, and at the pace that works for each organization. This means that Release Managers can get the bird’s eye view and manage all releases , regardless of what release methodology each team is using. Keep reading to hear about some of the key capabilities that make this possible.

Gain Visibility and Coordination

Release managers can stop hunting down release participants to collect status. No more need for early morning team update calls. No more need to sit in the release war room waiting for each participant to do their part. Everyone can see what the latest status is, and who is supposed to be doing what, and when, all from wherever and whenever they are. CloudBees Flow Release provides the release team the bird’s eye view of all the releases that are planned, active, or complete. For each release, teams can get quick visibility including if the release is in progress, milestone dates, if the release is blocked waiting for someone, and how far the release has progressed. One dashboard to manage all your complex releases. The Release List provides high-level visibility and coordination across releases.

Always Know What is Where

With multiple teams working on a release, and multiple release candidates coming from each team over the course of the release process, it’s easy to lose track of which version of each application is on each environment in each stage. This is probably why the number one challenge we hear from folks trying to improve their release processes is “what is where?”. CloudBees Flow Release provides the Path to Production view to answer this question. It shows what version of every application in the release is on each of the environments in each of the stages of the release pipeline. CloudBees Flow Release’s path to production view provides at-a-glance visuals to help release teams to quickly isolate which environments are not in compliance with the release bill of materials. And, with it’s expanded detailed view, anyone can get up to date information on which application versions are installed onto any environment. Path to production view of what is where throughout a release.

Manage multi-application enterprise releases

Whether your release consists of multiple interdependent monolithic apps or loosely coupled micro-services , the output of many teams coming together into a single integrated working release means lots of data to keep track of (bill of materials, environment assignments, task sequences, approvals and advancement conditions, configuration inputs, schedules, etc). CloudBees Flow Release captures all of this data in one place so no one has to re-construct the details from emails, ticketing systems, wikis, and whatever other disparate and arcane place this critical data is being kept. It makes every release transparent, to everyone. When it comes time to run the release, CloudBees Flow Release will automatically coordinate all the right information into the right places in the pipeline to make the deployments just work. Need to add another application you left out, or change a version? No problem. Just make the change in the release bill of materials. Release will take care of the rest. No re-writing the pipeline or tasks necessary. Release definition provides a central location to collect and manage all relevant information and inputs

Control the flow

View of a pipeline in authoring mode. CloudBees Flow Release runs on pipelines, which define, execute, and track the ordered list of tasks to be executed for each stage a release needs to go through to get to production (eg Int, UAT, Pre-Prod, Prod). Pipelines control the flow of a release with the approvals and conditions that need to be passed to advance from, or to, a given release stage. Pipeline stopped at a stage exit gate, waiting for approvals before moving on. Tasks in a stage can be either automated tasks or manual tasks, such as creating documentation, or running some visual checks. These manual tasks allow for coordination of people resources as part of the release process, and enables the gradual transition from traditional, more manual release practices to more automated styles such as CD and DevOps. When you are ready to automate a manual task in your pipeline, replace the manual task with one of several other automating options, such as Application Processes (for deploying applications), CloudBees Flow procedures (which can run your existing scripts), workflows (for sophisticated automation logic), or plugins (for interfacing with external systems). Many different automated and manual task types can be run in a stage.

Begin your transformation

So, whether you are doing some form of traditional release management with “big bang” release planning, risk and impact analysis, resource reservations, and release plan approvals, or full blown Unicorn CD, with frequent small batches, everything automated, using cloud environments provisioned and configured as needed, with loosely coupled system components, or anything in between, CloudBees Flow Release has you covered, in one platform that will support it all at once, so you can keep all of your customers happy as their CD/DevOps maturity grows.

Get the latest CloudBees Flow 6.1 release

Existing customers can download the latest 6.1 release from the CloudBees Sharefile site.**** If you are not currently an CloudBees Flow customer, you can now download the CloudBees Flow Community Edition to get started. 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.

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