Deployment refers to the process of installation of software or going live with new websites, which includes all the steps—installation, testing, deployment, and monitoring—required to make a software system or website available to the user. The complex process may also involve making changes or updates to software or a website that are currently in use in a live production environment.
Like any other industry, automation has simplified deployment. Automation streamlines the testing and production of the software. Some examples of automation tools include Jenkins, ElectricFlow, DeployBot, and Visual Studio.
Different types of deployment
Based on user requirements, there are different types of deployments:
- Commercial: Distribution of the end-user software to a third-party’s end-users in the form of lease, subscription, or annual service agreement.
- Internal: Distribution of either off-the-shelf or custom-built software solutions to employees and contractors for their internal business use. These deployments often use third-party cloud services to host the software.
- Hosted service: In the hosted service deployments, the IT team their own servers to host end-user software for their contractors and other third parties.
- Single user: Deliver and set up of end-user software to a specific user’s workstation, PC, or mobile device.
- Server : Server deployments allow multiple persons to access end-user software deployed on a networked device or webserver.
- Cloud: End-user software is deployed on a third-party cloud service provider, and it’s available for end-users through different pricing methods.
Popular application deployment methods
There are three main approaches to application deployment:
- Blue-Green: Blue-green deployment consists of two instances of the application in two separate servers- Blue and Green. The Green environment is the live instance, and Blue is used as a concurrently running backup that allows the deployment team to switch when a problem occurs in the Green instance. This approach ensures high availability to users even if a failure occurs.
- Canary: Canary architecture uses two instances to release features of the software as batches for different levels of users. For example, one environment includes a set of features for basic users. The other environment includes another set of features for premium users.
- Atomic: The atomic approach uses a single instance for deployment and changes directories when a new deployment is required. Atomic deployment occurs first in the release directory and then updates to the web browser.
Steps involved in the process
While developer teams differ in exact methodologies, the process of deploying software and new web assets typically includes the following steps.
- Planning: Planning is crucial to ensure a smooth and quick process. The plan involves an expected date and time of deployment, a list of all potential risks that can affect the process, process requirements, and a published schedule assigning roles, responsibilities, and tasks for each team member.
- Deployment: The deployment step itself encompasses all the activities required to make software or updates available to the users. Usually, the deployment process is handled by a team of IT members including developers, and software analysts. The deployment process occurs when they deploy code, applications to the users’ devices, whether it can be their computer, smartphone, or a test server without any failure.
- Testing changes: Testing the changes made to the website or software is significant to evaluate whether it works properly. The testing process helps developers or QA analysts to identify errors, bugs, needed patches, and addressing missing requirements if any, and rectify them before the delivery of the end product.
- Go live: Once bugs have been fixed and the fixes are verified with testing, the new version is activated in the production environment.
- Monitor: Post-deployment performance data is gathered and analyzed to ensure expected uptimes and service-level agreements.
Deployment provides time- and money-saving control over the installation and management of software. Some other advantages of deployment include:
- Time-saving: The end-user can deploy the software quickly and complete it within hours as the software deployment requires no learning and training.
- Improved security: Deployment offers additional security to the computers by configuring task-based permission to control sensitive and mission-critical tasks.
- Monitoring of user actions: Once deployed, the new software will require follow-up monitoring and analysis to ensure the software functions as specified.
- Timely software updates: The process is also responsible for managing software updates, executing scheduled maintenance tasks, and monitoring for developing issues.
How is software deployment managed?
Deploying software and new sites is typically a complex project, incorporating at the very least development, engineering, security, and support teams. In some enterprise-wide projects, third-party consultants, outside software developers, and integration teams will all need to coordinate efforts. Agile project methodology is typically at the core of the team and project management to ensure high visibility to all teams and team members, and ensure scheduling is coordinated to best use available resources.