Taking Automation to the Next Level
A Customer Success Story
Leading organizations worldwide count on software, systems and services to manage and store their data. With their partners, one Global Hi-Tech company empowers organizations to unleash the full potential of their data to expand customer touchpoints, foster greater innovation and optimize their operations. For a company helping others transform and innovate, it’s no surprise that ensuring their own processes are as efficient and effective as possible is a big focus.
- Oracle SOA
- Oracle EBS 11.5.10 and R12
- Java applications
Challenges: Islands of Automation
In 2015 this company started a DevOps initiative focused on creating a platform to enable IT to get to production as fast as possible, without sacrificing quality or increasing cost or resources. As part of the initiative the team focused on automating processes, enabling Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD), and driving efficiencies to their Oracle stack, specifically E-Business Suite and SOA.
Automation was not new to the team – they had been using Jenkins and Kintana for several years – but they had islands of automation that were not orchestrated together and had to be triggered separately, impacting both time to delivery and resource costs. Additionally, neither of their existing tools could meet all requirements. The existing Jenkins implementation could handle the CI parts of a CI/CD pipeline, but it was not Oracle aware and the team needed to develop and maintain scripts. Kintana, on the other hand, was Oracle EBS aware, but did not have the required CI/CD capabilities. This organization wanted an automation tool which could be used across their IT landscape, starting with Oracle and going well beyond over time.
Challenges Before FlexDeploy
- Tool proliferation caused by existing resources being narrowly focused
- Islands of automation required manual intervention to complete a deployment
- Deployments required a dedicated employee to shepherd through to production
- Custom built scripts and workflows required maintenance and management
“It’s not just about getting the release faster. With FlexDeploy it just works without anything more than a click.”
The Solution: FlexDeploy
They evaluated many vendors, including market leading deployment and release automation tools, but couldn’t find a perfect fit. Like Jenkins and Kintana, none of the options met all requirements. None of these tools had both the support for Oracle technologies and CI/CD functionality out-of-the-box and would require scripting. According to a Senior IT Manager, Integration & DevOps “one goal of this project was to stop tool proliferation and consolidate into a handful of strategic tools. We weren’t interested in bringing in a tool that would only solve one part of the problem.”
It was in the midst of this initiative that the company encountered Flexagon and FlexDeploy at Oracle Open World. FlexDeploy is a DevOps and Release Automation platform that not only supports CI/CD but also has plugins for myriad Oracle and non-Oracle tools and technologies. Finally, it looked like they had found a solution that could meet their needs.
- 10% time savings overall per release
- Tooling solution supported move to more complete automation for Oracle stack
- Resource reallocation thanks to fully automated lifecycle
- Orchestrated automation across the delivery lifecycle reduces manual intervention
- 40% time savings for operations (migrations) team per release
- Notification system within FlexDeploy frees up delivery team to do other work while deployment is being executed
- Out-of-the-box capabilities “just work,” reducing time required to write and maintain scripts
After: Orchestration and Efficient Automation
The POC focused not only on learning how FlexDeploy worked and how their existing processes could be ported to, and covered by FlexDeploy, but also on understanding the ease with which FlexDeploy could be customized to meet required use cases. Through the POC, the company found that FlexDeploy was a very good match. The alignment with the Oracle product suite and the ability of FlexDeploy to help with CI/CD functions out-of-the-box made the tool a stand out. Additionally, where gaps in the tool were identified (support for Oracle EBS 11.5.10, for example) Flexagon was easy to work with. The Senior IT Manager described the POC saying, “we could understand FlexDeploy functionality, see how processes translated from old tools to the new one, and saw the willingness from Flexagon to add new or extend existing features to close identified gaps.”
The company has taken a phased approach to their implementation, starting with Oracle SOA, before moving their EBS R12 and then EBS 11.5.10 instances to the platform. Since utilizing FlexDeploy, there have been improvements across the delivery processes.
- Reduction in manual touches: What had been “islands of automation,” or multiple automated processes that had to be knitted together manually became one automated workflow with FlexDeploy. In the words of the Senior IT Manager, “with FlexDeploy, we took automation to the next level.”
- Time Reallocation: Previously, deployments required a team member to validate errors as they arose and keep the process moving. Essentially, deployments required a babysitter. With FlexDeploy, deployment errors have been reduced, and when errors do arise they are pushed to the team via a feedback mechanism, freeing up the team to do other work.
- Time Savings: Where previously the team was required to deploy to different environments individually, with FlexDeploy workflows, pipelines and releases, they can deploy across environments with a single click or on a schedule. These efficiencies have resulted in a more agile development lifecycle, and noticeable time savings.
Since using FlexDeploy, this organization has seen a 10% time savings per release, with a 40% time savings for the operations team per release. One Systems Architect described the new release process saying “it’s not just about getting the release faster. With FlexDeploy it just works without anything more than a click.” And while the quantifiable time savings is important, having processes that work – reducing employee time spent doing manual or tedious tasks and reducing the distractions and frustrations that come with failed deployments – are the hard-to-quantify benefits that can make all the difference.