I was recently in the US to look at the deployment planning and automation (DP&A) capabilities ( see here ). Despite having to travel on one of American Airline’s oldest planes – it was well worth it. DP&A brings together Rational Asset Manager(RAM), Rational Software Architect(RSA) and Rational Automation Framework(RAF) so that organisations can put in place better communication, governance and automation around their deployment processes. It allows operations and development to improve how they communicate through deployment plans in RSA, combined with the ability to generate a workflow (think step by step instructions on how to deploy the application) which can then be automated by RAF. So this means development and operations can quickly agree on how an application should be deployed, define all the information that is required to deploy the app, and then generate a script to automatically deploy it!!! All this is then supported by using RAM to govern the deployable artefacts (plus their related software assets) and the organizations standard or approved deployment topologies.
I’ve spoken to a number of customers already, and their level of excitement around this technology is really surprising. There seems to be some real challenges in most organisation around the way that development and operations interact ( possibly due to an innate friction – development want to produce software faster and faster – and operations tend to be inherently risk averse and want to make sure they don’t break anything or stop the business from working !!). The exciting thing about this technology is that it allows the deployment process to be very smooth and automated, thus reducing a lot of the risk most organisations see today, and making it very easy for older version of software to be rolled back.
The other cool aspect of this is that it dramatically enhances our cloud support. DP&A integrates with the IBM Service Delivery Manager to provide one place to go for end to end automation support. We can build up new images from scratch, provision them, deploy the middle ware and the business applications in one simple, integrated, automated, risk-free way – and that it a big improvement for a lot of organisations I’m currently talking to.