What is Continuous Delivery?
Continuous delivery is an agile DevOps approach that automates delivery and extends continuous integration further, ensuring that software is not only automatically built and tested, but also prepared for release. Engineering teams that practice continuous delivery operate under agile software development principles.
Teams that have successfully implemented continuous delivery are theoretically able to release deployment-ready updates at any time. Once code changes pass the build and testing stages, they are automatically sent to a staging environment and released when a developer signs off on them.
Forward-thinking DevOps teams have embraced continuous delivery because it removes complacency from the equation. In the past, engineers might have breathed sighs of relief following a release. Today, instead of resting on their laurels once an update ships, they go back to square one and start working on the next release, using feedback data to inform future builds.
Continuous delivery provides organizations with a number of benefits, including:
- Faster releases. Updates can be rolled out in days—or even hours. The faster releases go out, the sooner DevOps teams get feedback which can then be leveraged to build new features and improve usability.
- Better software. Continuous delivery means more smaller updates are rolled out more frequently. With automated testing built into the development cycle, teams don’t have to worry about releasing updates riddled with bugs. In other words, there’s less risk.
- Fewer errors. By automating the deployment process, human error can be removed from the equation. Furthermore, automated scripts can be tested much more frequently, allowing teams to catch any bugs much faster.
- Lower costs. With continuous delivery in place, it’s easier to see where bottlenecks exist in the development cycle and where automation can be built in to make the process more efficient—thereby reducing costs as productivity increases.
- Accelerated response. Continuous delivery enables agile DevOps teams to respond to changing market conditions faster. For example, a team might discover that a majority of its customers rely on its Android app instead of its iOS app and decide to invest more resources into extending the former.
- Less stress. Since the entire DevOps team works collaboratively to roll out incremental software releases, major responsibilities don’t fall on a handful of individuals. This makes work more predictable and therefore more relaxing and engaging.
Smart companies use continuous delivery to ensure they are able to roll out better updates more often—and in less time. As a result, customer satisfaction increases as more value is delivered on a regular basis.