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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Basic Steps in Release & Deployment Process

The basic steps in the Release and Deployment process are as follows:

1. Planning - Select the most appropriate Release and Deployment plans, and agree them with customers and stakeholders. Define the entry and exit criteria for each step in the process.
2. Build and test - Assemble and integrate the release components.
3. Service testing and pilots - Test service requirements and operational requirements using the most appropriate method for the release.
4. Plan and prepare for deployment - Ensure everything is ready.
5. Deploy service and supporting processes - Include the required user and technical training.
6. Retire/decommission any unused assets - Remove hardware and software that is no longer required.
7. Verify deployment - Check that users, Service Operations, other staff and stakeholders are capable of using or operating the service; identify any issues and take any necessary corrective action.

The whole process is illustrated in the picture below:

A frequent cause of new or changed services failing is that the necessary training is not provided or that there is insufficient checking to ensure that users can take advantage of new or changed features. Hence, once a new or changed service has been deployed into the production environment, Service Transition may provide Early Life Support for a limited period of time to ensure that everything has bedded-in correctly and that the service is being used as intended. During Early Life Support the service levels and monitoring thresholds will be reviewed and additional resources may be provided for Incident and Problem Management.

One approach to testing used by the Release and Deployment Management and the Service Validation and Testing processes is the Service V-model. This provides a framework to organize the levels of Configuration Items to be managed through the lifecycle and the associated validation and testing activities to be undertaken.

The picture below illustrates the V Model

The left-hand side of the V represents the specifications of the service requirements down to a detailed service design. The right-hand side focuses on the validation and testing activities that are performed against each of the specifications defined on the left.

Different approaches are available when making the actual deployment. Deployments can either be ‘Big bang’ (i.e. all at once) or phased (i.e. deployed to users in stages and at different times). A release can be ‘pushed’, whereby the service component is deployed from the center and pushed out to the target, or ‘pulled’, where users are free to initiate the deployment when required.

Next: More on Release & Deployment Management

Next: Challenges & Metrics

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