Building Blocks 2 & 3
2. Continuous Release
In the waterfall development model, releases are extremely infrequent and can only take place once all previous phases have been completed: design, coding, testing. While this model is easy to understand, it does not adapt well to complex projects with changing specifications. And if problems are found prior to release, it can lead to numerous delays. Most ServiceNow developments currently use a waterfall model for production releases, which are even more complex than downstream deployments. Releases involve multiple applications and dependencies (for example, into global scope) and often include a combination of scoped applications, plugins, plugin activation, XML files, and update sets from different scopes, data, and elements that are not captured in update sets or scoped applications, and more. Due to the complexity of production releases with ServiceNow, many organizations are using manual processes, relying on paper-based instructions that are difficult to follow and not repeatable. Plus, releases are often done during off-hours and on weekends to avoid the risk of downtime during work hours. The continuous release model begins with automation. Moving away from manual-release “run books” and adopting automated release packages can immediately reduce errors; eliminate overtime and weekend work; and ensure stability, compliance, and consistency. But the benefits of moving to continuous release don’t end there. Adopting a true DevOps model gives you more control over release packaging. That means you can track release versions across your environment, and ensure that releases are deployed in order, and even support automated multiple-scope releases.
3. Continuous Monitoring and Compliance
In the waterfall development model, it can take a lot of work to manage that final push to production. But then, developers can generally sit back, take a deep breath... and hope that nothing breaks that will send them back to the drawing board and have to scramble to fix code that misbehaves in production - or that contains performance issues, vulnerabilities, or security problems.
In most ServiceNow development environments, these issues don’t come to light until right before release - or later, with problems becoming even more costly to resolve once the app is in production. This is one of the areas where a DevOps model can be most valuable, letting ServiceNow adapt to a modern, faster-paced approach.
One of the biggest advances that come built into the DevOps process is continuous monitoring and compliance throughout all stages of development and production. Generally, this involves testing teams as well as security, incorporating automation wherever possible. This essentially bakes automated verification testing and security scanning into the ongoing process.
With the DevOps model, deployment to production isn’t the end of the line; it’s an ongoing process of improving the app from a wide range of perspectives: usability, security, functionality, user experience, and more. For that reason, your DevOps solution needs to consider more than just orderly deployment - you need to consider quality and security, too.
When problems arise, your organization needs tools to help you track and pinpoint them accurately. This makes for easier debugging and faster solutions to a wide range of issues. An effective DevOps platform will provide a single command-and- control center for all releases, letting you take control of your environment. A comprehensive DevOps dashboard will also help you track ROI with relevant KPIs in a clear, measurable format.