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New CI/CD Project Board Streamlines DevOps and Continuous Delivery

CliQr is the first cloud management platform to offer an integrated CI/CD Project Board that integrates and automates the management of users, applications, and environments.

DevOps and Continuous Delivery practices are gaining widespread support as more organizations work to accelerate application development and deployment.

The process enterprise IT organizations use do develop or update application code involves a synchronized and multi-stage lifecycle that includes front end Continuous Integration (CI) and back end partially or fully automated Continuous Deployment (CD). Together, they are referred to CI/CD or more generically Continuous Delivery.

 

DevOps and CI/CD Automation

However, managing development projects in an enterprise environment is complicated!

  • Managing projects often includes tracking multiple deployments across multiple pipeline stages (Dev, Test/QA staging, production).
  • Environments need to be deployed with high degrees of standardization with both infrastructure and application stack automation.
  • And environments and latest build need to be deployed in multiple datacenter and cloud environments.

Automation problem

Continuous Integration is typically well automated. The development and CI processes used to aggregate code changes and produce a build package and related deployment artifacts, is often well defined and highly automated.

However Continuous Deployment processes used to deploy the latest build into the appropriate environment for testing, staging or production – are often less mature. Continuous Deployment processes require both infrastructure automation and application stack automation tools and processes that are often used sequentially or separately e.g. deploy infrastructure, then deploy and configure database, app servers, load balancers etc.

And artifacts that guide automation of infrastructure and application deployment separately (e.g. scripts, recipes, CloudFormation templates etc.) are often environment specific. So automation routines used to deploy environment and latest build in one stage in one cloud or datacenter environment, don’t work at another stage in another environment. This “hard wired” back end automation is a problem when different stages of the lifecycle occur in different environments.

Visibility problem

While a chain of integrated, single purpose tools can help automate specific CI or CD tasks or even end-to-end pipeline, those tools often lack governance controls, centralized role definition, role-based access control, as well cloud usage and cost controls and reporting. Those looking for a broader visibility and tracking at the project level, or who want to promote a project across phases– must deal with complexity of multiple tools, and managing cloud account credentials, user roles and permissions.

They may use spreadsheets to manage logins. May use project management software that provides timeline and task dependencies, but doesn’t link to automation to execute the work. They may have pockets of infrastructure or application automation that don’t offer end-to-end visibility, and are hard wired to the environment. As a result scripts and other deployment routines must be modified to work in different cloud environments, resulting in proliferation of artifacts that must be versioned, managed and maintained.

Both automation problem and visibility problem slows down the project and adds risk and cost – that undermine the business value of DevOps and CI/CD initiatives.

What’s Needed

IT organizations can’t increase velocity and implement Continuous Integration or Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) without automation. But automation offered by today’s solutions doesn’t integrate application and infrastructure deployment in a way that works across environments. Hard-wired automation doesn’t scale across cloud environments, creating multiple automation artifacts that must be version controlled and maintained. And linking multiple single purpose tools doesn’t provide an overall project view that federates management of applications/projects, user groups, and execution environments.

To optimize the value of DevOps and CI/CD automation enterprise IT organizations should:

  • combine application and infrastructure automation,
  • with consistent deployment across various datacenter and cloud environments,
  • and manage across a federation of users, applications, and clouds.

What are we announcing?

CliQr CloudCenter 4.2 includes a new integrated CI/CD Project Board with visual view of project phases, health, and overall status. But because the Project Board is an integrated cloud management platform feature – and is not a separate tool – the project board is linked to underlying infrastructure and application automation. Also, because CloudCenter’s patented technology combines cloud agnostic application profile with cloud specific orchestrator, the new solution works seamlessly across datacenter and cloud environments.

CloudCenter 4.2 CI/CD Project Board

 

Previous releases of CloudCenter included the ability to take the output of continuous integration process and automate continuous deployment and promote from one stage to the next across cloud environments. But previous versions lacked ability to visualize pipelines phases, and lacked overall project status and health by process phase. Previous versions offered flexible plans and bundles at user level, those cost and usage controls couldn’t be applied to a project or specific project phase.

The new CI/CD Project Board adds an intuitive new user interface and powerful new project related capabilities to the existing application-defined cloud management capabilities of CloudCenter.

UI is not just a picture of project health and status – but integrated application level and infrastructure level automation platform that works across cloud and datacenter environments. Simple project board actions such as promote, suspend, terminate and upgrade, initiate sophisticated infrastructure and application stack automation across more than 16 datacenter and cloud environments.

For Developers (users)

New user-related features and capabilities include:

  •  Project health and status – New UI tab offers simple view of process phases, and color coded status and health of individual deployments in the context of overall process flow.
  • One-click promote – Users can click to promote a deployment to the next stage. Promote action deploys latest version of artifacts and into fully configured environment on top of underlying infrastructure at next/any stage of the process.
  • Integrated automation – Developers update code in IDE and then see the deployment status in the CloudCenter Project Board. They can them take action without detailed knowledge of underlying infrastructure and application automation, and without having to learn and use multiple new UIs related to various tools. E.g. Don’t have to log into AWS, or vSphere to manage resources.
  • Cross-cloud process – users can click to promote to next stage that can be in a completely different environment – e.g. AWS, Azure, OpenStack, vSphere, UCS Director – without needing detailed knowledge of datacenter or cloud environment or APIs, without logging into or using separate UIs.
  • Budget status – users can quickly see budget or resource allocation and current usage by stage or overall project. Controls can be easily set to prevent actions that exceed budget.

Users don’t need direct access to cloud account credentials, or even need to know specifics about where it is deployed. With CloudCenter DevOps and CI/CD teams can start simple and manage an end-to-end project with a platform that can start simple then scale and grow.

Watch this video to see how a Developer uses the CI/CD Project Board.

For project mangers and DevOps engineers (admins)

For those who set up and launch projects, or manage multiple projects, or integrate DevOps toolchain automation, new features and capabilities include:

  • Project manager role – a new role is defined, that includes rights to launch project, model process phases, link deployment environments to phases, link budget plans to projects and phases, link users to roles and permissions, as well as activate and manage project overall.
  • Project definition and launch – new UI appear as major tab where project managers launch and manage projects, and then can view and manage multiple projects including tracking spending against targets, all without knowledge of underlying automation or cloud environments.
  • Project level cost controls – plans and bundles now apply to project or project phase, not just users and groups. Project managers can set limits and report on usage against those limits.
  • Improved toolchain Integration – The latest release of CloudCenter 4.2 includes a variety of improvements that enable the CI/CD Project Board feature in the context of an existing tool chain. Updated Jenkins plugin, as well as updated support Chef and Puppet as components in an Application Profiel, along with new support or artifact repositories S3, Artifactory, Chef and Puppet — all allow CloudCenter to be anchor of automated CI/CD solution.

Watch this video to see how a Project Manager uses the CI/CD Project Board.

CliQr’s Unique Value

CliQr CloudCenter is the only integrated platform that federates management of – projects, users ,and cloud, with integrated cost controls and deployment automation, that works across datacenter and cloud environments.

Several key benefits related to having one solution that combines project board and deployment automation as features of a cloud management platform, including:

  • Holistic view – single project, automation, and cloud management fabric that federates management of applications, users and clouds. One platform used for project setup, project execution, as well as integrated application and infrastructure automation – gives both developers and project managers instant view of the overall project status.
  • Abstraction – CI/CD Project Board as feature in cloud management platform allows users to “one click” tasks that have sophisticated underlying automation. Users don’t need to have knowledge of automation or underlying infrastructure, and don’t need to UI hop across multiple tools to complete tasks.
  • Improved efficiency – project board as part of management platform saves time during project setup and especially project execution. Using one solution for deployment automation in both pre-production and production environments reduces variability that is a common source of wasted effort for development and production personnel.
  • Simplicity – Program managers don’t need deep knowledge of clouds or automation tools to set up an automated end-to-end project. Don’t need to learn and master multiple, tools. Developers stay focused on development. Don’t need to learn or use multiple tool logins beyond IDE or build automation. Don’t need to track and mange account logins. Don’t need to install or configure environments. DevOps engineers – simplify develop and maintain integration between various tools. Platform as foundation or central actor in toolchain simplifies role based access, centralized cost and usage controls and reporting. Don’t need to create or manage cloud specific automation artifacts when using cloud agnostic application profile.

Additional Resources:

Request a demo to see how CloudCenter would work for your team.

 

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