Welcome!

Open Source Cloud Authors: Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Valeriia Timokhina, Shelly Palmer, Stackify Blog

Related Topics: Open Source Cloud, Java IoT, Industrial IoT, Microservices Expo, Microsoft Cloud, Eclipse

Open Source Cloud: Blog Post

Efficiency in Development Workflows: Deployment Pipelines

Learn how to set up Deployment Pipelines and how to deploy to production servers with Zero Downtime Deployment

Last week we talked about how we review code, open pull requests and use GitHub issues to manage our development workflow.

This week I will show you every step that happens after a pull request is merged into our master branch. We use an automated deployment pipeline for releasing our code into production.

Deployment Pipelines
A deployment pipeline lays out the whole process that your code needs to go through from your repository to production. It breaks the build into several parts (e.g., build, test and deploy) and all the associated steps that need to be taken. By defining a pipeline it is always clear which step needs to happen next. Martin Fowler describes it really well in his blogpost.

If you want to dig deeper into Deployment Pipelines I highly recommend Jez Humble and David Farley's book: Continuous Delivery.

Continuous Delivery book by Jez Humble and David Farley

Continuous Delivery: Reliable Software Releases through Build, Test, and Deployment Automation - Jez Humble and David Farley

Configure deployments per branch
To automate deployment to different environments we have found that it works best to define actions for different git branches. If you always push the latest commit of your production branch to your production environment, it s very easy to determine what is currently deployed by just looking at the git branch. Git and other source code management systems only permit one commit at the top of a branch, so there can be no confusion.

At Codeship we deploy our master branch automatically to production. Many of our customers deploy the master branch to a staging environment and a production branch to their production environment. A simple git merge and git push, or a GitHub pull request, is their way of releasing their changes.

One problem with this approach is that branch names have to be meaningful. Having a development branch which is deployed to staging and a master branch that gets deployed to production can confuse new team members. Naming branches that get deployed"production" or "staging" is more intuitive. "Master" is a convention in git and should be kept, but dedicated branch names are easier to understand in a deployment pipeline.

Deployment Strategy
As soon as the feature branch is merged into our master, a new build is started on the Codeship. We run the same test commands again as we did on the feature branch to make sure there are no problems in the merged version.

When all tests pass for the master branch the deployment starts. Before pushing to production we want to make sure that all database migrations work and that the app starts successfully.

First we deploy to staging. Then we run our current set of migrations. We copy our production database to staging once a day. Therefore, when we run migrations on staging, the database is very close to our production database. This allows us to make sure our migrations work, before deploying to production.

The Codeship Workflow - Deploying to staging

Deploying to staging

The last step in our staging deployment is calling the URL of our staging site to make sure it started successfully. This has saved us twice over the last years, as we would have pushed a change to our unicorn configuration that broke the server. Wget and its retry capabilitiesmake sure the website is up and running.

The Codeship Workflow - Deploying to production

Deploying to production

Then we run our migrations in a separate step after the deployment and clear our cache.

The Codeship Workflow - Running migrations

Running migrations

Then we repeat the whole process for our production system. We push to the Heroku production repository and check that the site still works.

An enhancement would be to have tests that run against the deployed version, but so far we haven't had any problems without these tests. Our extensive Cucumber/Capybara test suite has caught all problems so far.

There is one slight difference between our staging and production deployment though:

Zero Downtime Deployment
As we want to deploy several times a day without any downtime we use Heroku's preboot feature. We started using it at the beginning of this year. Whenever we push a new release, it starts this release on a second server and switches the routing to it after about 3 minutes.

The downside is that zero downtime deployments require more care with database changes. As two versions of your codebase need to be able to work at the same time you can't just remove or rename fields.

Renaming or deleting a column or table needs to be spread out over several deployments. This way we make sure that the application still works with every incremental change. We will go into more detail on database migrations for zero downtime deployments in a later blog post.

In the meantime, you can take a look at the blog posts in our "Further Info" section that explain Zero Downtime Deployments by Etsy, Braintree and BalancedPayments.

Conclusion
It is important to automate every step of the deployment. No matter if you want to deploy your code on every merge to master or trigger it manually by merging the master into another branch.

Now that we've gone from working on a feature to code reviews and finally pushing to production in our web application we will take a closer look at our test infrastructure next time.

In the next blog posts I will delve into immutable infrastructure and how we rebuild our test server infrastructure several times a week.

Further information

More Stories By Manuel Weiss

I am the cofounder of Codeship – a hosted Continuous Integration and Deployment platform for web applications. On the Codeship blog we love to write about Software Testing, Continuos Integration and Deployment. Also check out our weekly screencast series 'Testing Tuesday'!

@ThingsExpo Stories
Elon Musk is among the notable industry figures who worries about the power of AI to destroy rather than help society. Mark Zuckerberg, on the other hand, embraces all that is going on. AI is most powerful when deployed across the vast networks being built for Internets of Things in the manufacturing, transportation and logistics, retail, healthcare, government and other sectors. Is AI transforming IoT for the good or the bad? Do we need to worry about its potential destructive power? Or will we...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SIGMA Corporation will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. uLaser flow inspection device from the Japanese top share to Global Standard! Then, make the best use of data to flip to next page. For more information, visit http://www.sigma-k.co.jp/en/.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Daiya Industry will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Daiya Industry specializes in orthotic support systems and assistive devices with pneumatic artificial muscles in order to contribute to an extended healthy life expectancy. For more information, please visit https://www.daiyak...
SYS-CON Events announced today that B2Cloud will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. B2Cloud specializes in IoT devices for preventive and predictive maintenance in any kind of equipment retrieving data like Energy consumption, working time, temperature, humidity, pressure, etc.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interface Corporation will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Interface Corporation is a company developing, manufacturing and marketing high quality and wide variety of industrial computers and interface modules such as PCIs and PCI express. For more information, visit http://www.i...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Massive Networks, that helps your business operate seamlessly with fast, reliable, and secure internet and network solutions, has been named "Exhibitor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. As a premier telecommunications provider, Massive Networks is headquartered out of Louisville, Colorado. With years of experience under their belt, their team of...
SYS-CON Events announced today that NetApp has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. NetApp is the data authority for hybrid cloud. NetApp provides a full range of hybrid cloud data services that simplify management of applications and data across cloud and on-premises environments to accelerate digital transformation. Together with their partners, NetApp em...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Mobile Create USA will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Mobile Create USA Inc. is an MVNO-based business model that uses portable communication devices and cellular-based infrastructure in the development, sales, operation and mobile communications systems incorporating GPS capabi...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Nihon Micron will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Nihon Micron Co., Ltd. strives for technological innovation to establish high-density, high-precision processing technology for providing printed circuit board and metal mount RFID tags used for communication devices. For more inf...
SYS-CON Events announced today that N3N will exhibit at SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. N3N’s solutions increase the effectiveness of operations and control centers, increase the value of IoT investments, and facilitate real-time operational decision making. N3N enables operations teams with a four dimensional digital “big board” that consolidates real-time live video feeds alongside IoT sensor data a...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Suzuki Inc. will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Suzuki Inc. is a semiconductor-related business, including sales of consuming parts, parts repair, and maintenance for semiconductor manufacturing machines, etc. It is also a health care business providing experimental research for...
While some developers care passionately about how data centers and clouds are architected, for most, it is only the end result that matters. To the majority of companies, technology exists to solve a business problem, and only delivers value when it is solving that problem. 2017 brings the mainstream adoption of containers for production workloads. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ben McCormack, VP of Operations at Evernote, will discuss how data centers of the future will be managed, how th...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ryobi Systems will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Ryobi Systems Co., Ltd., as an information service company, specialized in business support for local governments and medical industry. We are challenging to achive the precision farming with AI. For more information, visit http:...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MIRAI Inc. will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MIRAI Inc. are IT consultants from the public sector whose mission is to solve social issues by technology and innovation and to create a meaningful future for people.
SYS-CON Events announced today that mruby Forum will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. mruby is the lightweight implementation of the Ruby language. We introduce mruby and the mruby IoT framework that enhances development productivity. For more information, visit http://forum.mruby.org/.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Fusic will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Fusic Co. provides mocks as virtual IoT devices. You can customize mocks, and get any amount of data at any time in your test. For more information, visit https://fusic.co.jp/english/.
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Greg Gorman is the Director, IoT Developer Ecosystem, Watson IoT, will provide a short tutorial on Node-RED, a Node.js-based programming tool for wiring together hardware devices, APIs and online services in new and interesting ways. It provides a browser-based editor that makes it easy to wire together flows using a wide range of nodes in the palette that can be deployed to its runtime in a single-click. There is a large library of contributed nodes that help so...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enroute Lab will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Enroute Lab is an industrial design, research and development company of unmanned robotic vehicle system. For more information, please visit http://elab.co.jp/.
Agile has finally jumped the technology shark, expanding outside the software world. Enterprises are now increasingly adopting Agile practices across their organizations in order to successfully navigate the disruptive waters that threaten to drown them. In our quest for establishing change as a core competency in our organizations, this business-centric notion of Agile is an essential component of Agile Digital Transformation. In the years since the publication of the Agile Manifesto, the conn...
Real IoT production deployments running at scale are collecting sensor data from hundreds / thousands / millions of devices. The goal is to take business-critical actions on the real-time data and find insights from stored datasets. In his session at @ThingsExpo, John Walicki, Watson IoT Developer Advocate at IBM Cloud, will provide a fast-paced developer journey that follows the IoT sensor data from generation, to edge gateway, to edge analytics, to encryption, to the IBM Bluemix cloud, to Wa...