Agile Software Factory – Accelerating The Enterprise IT Software Release Cycle
Avery Lyford, Chairman of Qubell shares his perspective on accelerating the Enterprise IT software release cycle. The latest National Retail Federation report opens with “CIOs can summarize their priorities and challenges in one word – Agility”. Agility is about capturing opportunities. As IT is used to drive the topline, agility becomes the critical battleground. New technologies are dramatically redefining customer interactions and expectations. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the retail industry where mobile, social, and big data are transforming the retail business. Over half of all Americans now have a smartphone and 70% of them used it in the store last year. This environment of rapid change rewards agility. Digital natives such as Amazon, Google and eBay have invested heavily to build the competencies required to excel in this environment. Continuous delivery and continuous integration are two of those essential competencies. And they use that agility as a competitive weapon. For instance, Amazon uses substantial A/B testing to optimize their web site and deploys new code every 11 seconds. Today the infrastructure can change as quickly as the code. For digital natives, change is constant and expected, not occasional and resisted. However most Enterprises are not digital natives and do not have the luxury of rebuilding from a blank slate. What do you do if you have a large established business and want to compete effectively? Simply working harder with existing technologies and methodologies will not provide the required 100x speed improvement. The challenge is not simply about development. The entire process from idea to implementation must be addressed. Every stage from concept to development to test to pre-production to production must be compressed. As Michael Cote of the 451 Group put it – “cloud is speed. How fast does it take to deploy a new release, IT service, and patch, provision a new box, and so on with your “traditional” setup? How fast does cloud allow you to do it?” To meet this challenge, Qubell (http://www.qubell.com) worked with key customers, such as Kohl’s, who are leading the charge to accelerate online businesses. “Rapid delivery of new, omnichannel features to online customers is critical in retail ecommerce, and we want to deliver our innovative ideas to customers more quickly,” said Ratnakar Lavu, Kohl’s senior vice president of digital innovation. “Qubell provides exactly what we were looking for: an automation platform to accelerate our application development processes and update and deploy our applications in near-real time.” Qubell utilizes an application-centric approach by treating an application as a collection of services; provides a unified view across multiple data centers and clouds; and supports a wide variety of configurations. Qubell terms this approach as the “Agile Software Factory”. The Agile Software factory approach cleanly separates the application from the environment, captures the application dependencies, packages applications as auto configurable, and delivers accelerated release cycles The result is daily pushes of new changes to production, continuous automated testing and automated live upgrades The business gains dramatically accelerated release cycles and higher reliability while leveraging investments in existing software platforms and existing investments.