Continuous Delivery

Build a continuous delivery process with Chef to get the agility you need to quickly identify and capitalize on customer needs

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What is Continuous Delivery?

Customers expect real-time response, and you need to deliver new features constantly to stay in the game. What's the answer?

Continuous delivery is an automated process that accelerates the release of software and digital services. It allows you to release a new service, a better web page, a bug fix, or a special offer rapidly, and with minimum manual intervention. As it becomes possible to make more frequent small changes, which are far less risky than a few large ones, you get dramatically faster and more focused feedback about what works and what doesn't.

Chef is an ideal automation platform for continuous delivery because it allows you to model and manage your infrastructure as code. Infrastructure modeled as code is versionable, testable and repeatable. With Chef, you'll realize the true effectiveness of your organization by decreasing time to market and increasing the quality of your releases.

How Continuous Delivery Works

Here's a diagram that shows an example of a continuous delivery pipeline.

The pipeline begins when the team checks in code to the version control system. It ends when the change goes to production. In between, a lot can happen. Continuous integration is triggered when the check-in occurs. This means that every time someone commits a change it triggers a build and automated build verification tests. After a successful build, other tests run, such as functional tests and performance tests. These are the quality gates. Notice that every stage relays feedback to the team. Fast feedback is an important part of continuous delivery. If a stage fails, someone needs to know right away because the pipeline stops until the problem is fixed. In the last stage, the build is approved and goes live.

Chef and Continuous Delivery

Here are some of the ways Chef enables your continuous delivery pipeline. You can:

  • Use data driven automation at scale to allow ease of reuse and flexibility to accommodate multiple departments, environments and product lines.
  • Have data that is both searchable and actionable making it easy to identify and report on common and complex information.
  • Leverage common application process best practices such as:
  • Versioning and promotion of infrastructure policies to easily accommodate complex change windows, repeatability, and improved SLAs.
  • No longer be overwhelmed by the management of infrastructure and applications separately since they are intrinsically dependent. Leverage the same process for ensuring full lifecycle management and full-stack state changes.
  • Chef is architected at a core to ensure consistent and rapid deployment while doing so at a large scale providing flexibility to support all lines of business.
  • Chef is designed as an API expecting integration with other leading software development lifecycle tools such as GitHub, Jenkins, gerrit, and Go alleviating the need for multi-year implementations common with traditional enterprise technologies.

Let's Get Started

Continuous delivery is associated with a methodology called DevOps, which calls for close collaboration between the traditionally distinct disciplines of development, and operations (IT). This is because continuous delivery works best when operations teams and software developers are part of the same agile process. Everyone involved in the software process works together on all aspects of the project, including testers and managers. The application and the infrastructure that runs it are not treated as separate, unrelated entities. Neither can exist without the other.

Because DevOps relies not just on tools but on organizational changes, adopting it can be difficult for many companies. Chef can help. While Chef is a fundamental tool for implementing an automated pipeline, the Chef professional services team can also help you with the business process and cultural elements of this transformation.


#ChefTalks: Continuous Delivery

Rob Cummings, infrastructure engineer at Nordstrom, discuss how Nordstrom uses Chef to turn a heterogeneous architecture mixing legacy and new technology into a streamlined DevOps machine.

Automate Build, Test, Configuration and Deployment Functions

Use Chef as a part of your continuous delivery solution to increase your deployment rate. Automation dramatically reduces the time between deciding to make a change and when that change is in production. Stop thinking in terms of weeks and start thinking in terms of days or even hours.

“With Chef, we've begun executing an agile development strategy, significantly accelerating the rate at which we can bring new, sophisticated services to our subscribers. Now we have the ability to make better use of our infrastructure and are more prepared for whatever changes tomorrow may bring.”
John Esser
Director of Engineering Productivity and Agile Development, Ancestry.com

Keep Pace with Customer Needs

Keep up with customer demands by continually bringing applications and features to market. Chef helps you create an integrated infrastructure that incorporates physical servers, cloud resources, management packages, and the controls necessary to keep the continuous pipeline flowing.

“Not only is the media landscape in near-constant flux, but so are audiences' preferences. To keep pace, we have to continually keep bringing new applications to market. You can't do that when you're spending all your time just managing infrastructure.”
Alon Rohter
Operations Lead, Fanhattan

Improve Agility

Use Chef to create an agile, responsive infrastructure that you can configure to suit your needs, as they arise. Automate everything from the basic configuration of your infrastructure to the execution of automated tests and the deployment of new features into your applications. With Chef as part of your continuous delivery process, you'll be easily able to allocate resources to keep your pipeline efficient.

“If we're not pushing the limits of innovation, we're not delivering the best service for our customers. Chef enables our development team to go from an idea to production-ready code in very little time. This means we are faster to market with updates and more adaptive to changes in demand.”
Gaurav Gupta
Vice President of Cloud Products, Splunk

Improve Software Quality

Use Chef to make environments available early and to keep them standardized, so that everyone involved in the software process, from developers, to testers, to IT can run and test the code consistently. Standard environments will help you find and fix interoperability issues long before you deploy to production.

“When you're continuously innovating and delivering new software, documentation is critical to quality control and team communication. Chef keeps us all on the same page by allowing anyone on our team to easily see current settings, as well as a complete history of changes, updates and code deployments.”
Steven Mohapi-Banks
CTO, Digital Science