Continuous Delivery (CD) is a process, not a solution. Continuous Delivery is an extension of Continuous Integration (CI). When a software update is saved to the version repository, the Continuous Integration workflow is triggered to execute steps that may include the calling of a script to compile code into binaries (Continuous Build), followed by a script to deliver the binaries to a list of servers (Continuous Delivery). In some cases where the production environment is made up of only a small set of servers, the Continuous Integration process may support production deployments, but in most organizations CI is used mainly by development and testing teams. When someone states they are doing Continuous Delivery, they are saying that they use their CI process to execute a deployment script.
Application Release Automation (ARA) is designed to fully orchestrate the delivery of software including infrastructure and database updates, server configuration management, calendaring, roll-forward, rollback, security access and component packaging. A Continuous Delivery process may call an ARA solution to perform the orchestration of the deployment, replacing the one-off deployment scripts written by developers.
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Tracy Ragan is the co-founder and COO of OpenMake Software. Tracy has extensive experience in the development and implementation of standardized build and release processes for fortune 500 organizations with over 20 years’ experience. She is keenly aware of the challenges large organizations face with moving toward a centralized and repeatable DevOps standard.