Release orchestration is the process of coordinating the tasks related to deploying software updates across environments and into the hands of end users – improving planning, tracking and communication throughout the software release cycle across different teams, departments and technologies.
The more complex the process, the more impact release orchestration can have.
Benefits of release orchestration
Release orchestration allows a company to streamline and automate manual, repetitive tasks. This improves efficiency, helps control costs, shortens the development lifecycle, and reduces operational expenses by eliminating duplication of effort.
Because release orchestration involves coordinating and managing tasks across the software development and delivery lifecycle, it helps an organization improve visibility from build to deployment. Companies have transparency into task status and can identify and correct potential issues prior to deployment into a production environment.
When tasks and information are siloed, it is difficult to achieve clarity and transparency across a project as a whole. Release orchestration is implemented to manage all the tasks, centralizing data associated with all activities, and making updates and progress available to key stakeholders across the development lifecycle.
Release orchestration involves extensive automation and automatically forwarding software through certain steps – such as testing – and on to the next stage of a release pipeline. This eliminates the empty time spent waiting for another employee to complete manual tasks and forward the software to the next stage in the process.
This means that software reaches the end user faster; and wait time is turned to the next project at hand, improving productivity by enabling rapid feedback which can be fed back into the process for continuous improvement.
Release orchestration includes quality controls, which may include approvals, scheduling, automated functional, non-functional, and security testing, and automated status reporting. This reduces the risk that errors make it to the end user, requiring a time-consuming and lengthy process of rolling back to a previous version of the software, investigating and correcting the error, and re-release of a cleansed version.
With release orchestration, a company can prepare for audits by creating a release governance framework that clearly outlines release policies and procedures. Tracking and reporting are improved as the system is enabled to provide proof of compliance, making an organization audit-ready at a moment’s notice.
System and application reliability are critical – as users become less tolerant of downtime, and as downtime becomes more expensive to companies. Release orchestration can improve overall reliability by reducing downtime and improving rollback capabilities.
Rollback provides the option to easily and seamlessly return to a previous version of an application or release in the event of an error being discovered. Prior versions are preserved, and resolution and correction timelines are reduced as it becomes easier to track down errors and fix them at the source.
As a company continues to mature their DevOps processes, release orchestration tools become more critical to accelerating the benefits of DevOps. With release orchestration, a company can achieve visibility into the entire release pipeline, to improve planning and scheduling of software updates. This visibility allows for process streamlining and operational efficiency and allows early identification of errors or problems before a software application goes live.
Release orchestration also provides the framework for process control, helping a company to improve reliability and prepare for compliance and audits. To move along the path from new DevOps adopter to maturity, it is crucial to understand all the different steps along the way. Making the right choices in tools and resources will help achieve DevOps goals both current and future.