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February 24, 2020

What Are Some of the Advantages of Continuous Delivery? What Are the Common Barriers?

Zend Server

Continuous delivery benefits many development teams. It leads to consistently maintained, tested, and dependable applications. But is there a downside? Find out.

In this article, we give an overview of:

  • Continuous delivery.
  • Continuous delivery benefits.
  • Barriers to adoption.
  • Advice for taking the next step.

Let's start with the basics.

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What Is Continuous Delivery?

Continuous delivery is a software development practice. It enables continuous process and software improvement via automation. It's abbreviated CD.

Without CD, developers manually develop, test, and deploy code. This often takes several months.

Continuous delivery uses:

Automated Continuous Integration Processes

Perform code analysis to pinpoint where improvements can be made. Do unit, regression, and integration tests every time a modification is made. This helps you proactively resolve issues and ensure more stable production releases.

Infrastructure Automation

Consistently provision and configure servers. Manage dependencies. And do it all on the fly to meet real-time demands.

Release Automation

Deploy software applications into production as needed to meet real-time requirements and dependencies.

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Continuous Delivery and DevOps ROI

Continuous delivery is not the same thing as DevOps. But CD is key to DevOps ROI.

Continuous delivery makes your release processes as efficient and repeatable as possible. DevOps helps you build, test, and release software faster and more reliably. 

DevOps includes improved collaboration and communication between software developers and IT operations staff. It also includes the automation made possible with continuous delivery.

So, you can improve DevOps ROI by adopting effective continuous delivery processes.

Why Automate a Manual Process?

Continuous delivery automates manual processes. It makes them easily repeatable. Each iteration is performed in an identical manner. This is why automation is a prerequisite to any successful CD process. And this is why continuous delivery boosts DevOps ROI.

Manual Testing Has Issues

Repeated manual tasks are prone to errors and inconsistencies. This lowers ROI and wastes expensive IT resources. For example, consider that manual:

  • Code analysis allows technical issues to accumulate.
  • Testing often misses regressions and other issues until software is in production.
  • Infrastructure management introduces anomalies in environment configuration and can slow issue resolution.
  • Deployments require significant time and introduce risks from inadvertent errors.

📕 Related Resource: Learn more about Continuous Delivery vs. Deployment – What's the Difference?

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4 Benefits of Continuous Delivery

Perhaps the biggest advantage of continuous delivery is an increase in DevOps ROI. But there are other important continuous delivery benefits, too:

  1. Streamlining workflows.
  2. Lowering staffing costs.
  3. Improving operational confidence.
  4. Enhancing teamwork.

1. Streamlining Workflows

CD streamlines workflows. This increases efficiency and helps you solve DevOps challenges. Automated workflows ensure that tasks will always be completed the same way. And you can easily customize your workflows to meet unique requirements.

Leading organizations use automated workflows to accelerate processes. This boosts DevOps ROI. You'll get increased efficiency and revenue.

For example, consider that on average:

  • Amazon deploys every 11.6 seconds.
  • Facebook deploys least twice a day.
  • Netflix deploys 100 times per day.

2. Lowering Staffing Costs

CD lowers staffing costs. Developers and site administrators save time on manual tasks. So, they can spend more time adding new services and improving service levels. This increases DevOps ROI.

You can streamline teams to eliminate redundant roles, too. The cost savings can be significant. And it won't compromise the quality of the end product.

3. Improving Operational Confidence 

CD boosts operational confidence, service levels, and regulatory compliance. This increase ROI. Tasks are completed efficiently and effectively every time.

For example, automated monitoring tools can alert staff of issues in real time. This includes issues related to poor user experience and security.

Automated debugging tools can pinpoint issues in seconds and help speed resolution. This helps with regulatory compliance, too. Automated monitoring tools can send real-time alerts when specific conditions occur. 

4. Enhancing Teamwork

CD enhances teamwork.

Automated processes handle the brunt of the work. So, the IT team is free to focus on the work that delivers business value.

Software developers, application integrators, and testers can collaborate to deliver software faster. Automation and processes allow them to spend less time working in the trenches.

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2 Barriers to Continuous Delivery

There can be some barriers to continuous delivery. Initial installations, configurations, and workflow changes are required. So, for some organizations, CD requires:

  1. Upfront investment.
  2. Adopting continuous delivery culture.

1. Upfront Investments

Changing workflows requires time. This can disrupt business. Your business must establish a strategy. Make sure that new workflows and automated processes are part of your strategy. They should align with business objectives and meet operational requirements.

2. Organizational Culture Considerations

You'll also need to consider changes to your organizational culture. 

For instance, you might be developing software using waterfall, spiral, or other methodologies. So, you must overcome learning curves before implementing continuous delivery. This minimizes disruptions. And it ensures operations continue to run while staff get up to speed.

You might also have resistant team members. Those who are accustomed to being more “hands on” may mistrust the heavy use of automation. 

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Enlist Continuous Delivery Services For Success

The benefits of continuous delivery outweigh the costs. 

So, what's the key to building the most efficient and effective CD processes? Engaging experts as you develop — and possibly implement — your strategy.

Successful outcomes at the onset will:

  • Build confidence in the process.
  • Help to increase momentum.
  • Deliver the best return on investment.

Luckily, you can enlist the help of continuous delivery experts — and do continuous delivery the right way. Contact us to learn more about continuous delivery services from Zend.

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Additional Resources

Note: This post was originally published in 2015 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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