CloudBees: Continuous Delivery Even In the Most Staid EnterprisesMay 21, 2014
by Nancy Gohring
A new integration of Jenkins with Chef and Puppet, available on the CloudBees platform as a service (PaaS), could help development and operations teams work together better. It's all part of the trend toward adopting continuous software delivery principles, so companies can continually improve software services for users, rather than pushing out updates on a schedule, the way traditional software was developed.
Doing so, however, requires a variety of backend processes and tools. Jenkins is open source continuous integration server software, initially created by a CloudBees engineer, that lets developers and operations teams manage and deploy code. Chef and Puppet are open source orchestration software tools that primarily operations staff use to deploy things like Web servers or database servers.
Currently, a developer updates an app and, using Jenkins, drops it into a repository.
"It's opaque. They don't see what happens after that," said Steve Harris, senior vice president of product for CloudBees. From there, operations staff deploy the code, sometimes using Chef and Puppet.
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As part of the new integration, Chef and Puppet create a trail in Jenkins showing where and when the code was deployed. That means a developer can use the Jenkins dashboard to see when new code was deployed on which machine.
The tighter integration is one more way that businesses can help development and operations teams work closer together to achieve continuous delivery, Harris said.
Continuous delivery is often a challenge for traditional businesses, but not for technical reasons, he said. "It's a cultural, organizational set of issues that gate it," he said.
Enterprises hear about companies like Facebook pushing out changes many times a day into production and they get scared, he said.
"A bank or insurance company or other large enterprise player can't do that for a variety of reasons. They use a more dated process," Harris said. "But it doesn't mean they can't adopt continuous delivery."
Using software like Jenkins, developers at one of those more conservative businesses can keep software in a production release ready state at all times, he said. "It doesn't mean it's pushed to production," he said. But developers can continually iterate, leaving it to the operations team to handle business issues ensuring that the updates comply with policies, and then push out the updates.
Harris said he's seeing more and more companies talk about adopting continuous practices, although many are still just talking or adopting such practices on a project or team basis.