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August 04, 2016
Guide to continuous delivery vol. 3
By: Mirco Hering

I am not really objective when I say that I hope you have read the most recent Guide to Continuous Delivery Vol. 3, as I had the honor of contributing an article to it. My article is about mapping out a roadmap for your DevOps journey and I have an extended and updated blog article in draft on that topic that I will push out sometime soon. There is a lot of really good insight in this guide. For those with little time or who just prefer the “CliffsNotes,” I want to provide my personal highlights. I won’t go through every article but will cover many of them. Besides articles, the guide provides a lot of information on tooling that can help in your DevOps journey.

Key research findings
The first article covers the CD survey that was put together for this guide. While less people said they use CD this might indicate more people understanding better what it takes to really do CD, I take this a positive indication for the community. Unsurprisingly Docker is very hot, but it’s clear that there is a long way to go to make it really work when you look at the survey results.

Five steps to automating Continuous Delivery pipelines
Very decent guidance on how to create your CD pipeline, the two things that stood out for me are “Measure your pipeline,” which is absolutely critical to enable continuous improvement and potentially crucial for measuring the benefits for your CD business case. It also highlights that you sometimes need to include manual steps, which is where many tools fall down a bit. Gradually moving from manual to full automation by enabling a mix of automated and manual steps is a very good way to move forward.

Adding architectural quality metrics to your CD pipeline
An interesting article on measuring more than just functional testing in your pipeline. It stresses the point to include performance and stress testing in the pipeline and that even without full scale in early environments you can get good insights from measuring performance in early environments and use the relative change to investigate areas of concern. There is other information that can provide valuable insights into architectural weaknesses like the number of calls to external systems, response time and size for those calls, number of exceptions and CPU time.

How to define your DevOps roadmap
Well, this one is mine and I hope you read the whole article.

Four keys to successful Continuous Delivery
Three of the keys are quite common: Culture, Automation and Cloud. I was happy to see the point about open and extendable tools. Hopefully over time more vendors realize that this is the right way to go.

A scorecard for measuring ROI of Continuous Delivery investment
An interesting short model for measuring ROI, it uses lots of research-based numbers as inputs into the calculations. Could come in handy for some who want a high-level business case.

Continuous Delivery & release automation for microservices
I really liked this article with quite a few handy tips for managing microservices. For example, you should only get into microservices if you already have decent CI and CD skills and capabilities. Microservices require more governance than traditional architectures as you will likely deal with more technology stacks, have to deal with additional testing complexity and require a different ops model. To deal with this you need to have a real-time view of status and dependencies of your microservices. The article goes into quite some detail and provides a nice checklist.

Top CD resources
No surprise here to see the State of DevOps report, Phoenix Project and the Continuous Delivery book on this list.

DevOps checklist
Make sure to check out the DevOps checklist. There are a lot of good questions on this checklist that can make you think about possible next steps for your own adoption.

Continuous Delivery for containerized applications
A lot of common ground get revisited in this article like the need for immutable microservices/containers, Canary launches and A/B testing. What I found great about this article is the description of a useful tagging mechanism to govern your containers through the CD pipeline.

Securing a Continuous Delivery pipeline
Some practical guidance on leveraging the power of CD pipelines to increase security. The article highlights that tools alone will not solve all your problems but can provide real insights. When starting to use tools like SonarQube be aware that the initial information can be confusing and it will take a while to make sense of all the information. Using the tools right will allow you to free up time for more meaningful manual inspections where required.

Executive insights on Continuous Delivery
Based on interviewing 24 executives, this article gathers their insights. Not surprisingly they mention that it is much easier to start in a green field environment than in brown fields. Even though everyone agrees that tools have significantly improved, the state of CD tools is still not where people would like it to be and many organizations still have to create a lot of homemade automation. The “elephant in the room” that is raised at the end is that in general people rely on intuition still for the ROI of DevOps, there is no obvious recommendation for how to measure this scientifically.

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