In this article, we will highlight some release management tools that are essential to the success of your release with heightened velocity. A release manager will need to be familiar with at least some of these tools in order to create automated processes that result in high quality releases.
These tools help to increase speed of software delivery while reducing risk and errors. The following are our top picks to help you deploy faster and more efficiently, some of which are either open source or premium paid tools.
But before we start, here is a quick reminder about what is release management.
Release management process
In our release management guide, we mentioned what release management is, its different phases as well as the different deployment strategies to release new features to production.
As a quick recap, release management basically outlines the different phases involved in the release process of a feature from its inception to its launch. It is the process of planning and controlling software builds throughout its entire life cycle.
As organizations transition from more traditional practices of Waterfall to an Agile methodology, the goal of the release management process is now to move software builds through the various phases quicker and more frequently.
Without further ado, here is the list of our favorite release management tools.
Ansible is an open source configuration management and application deployment tool. It has the advantage of being simple and easy to use, hence creating a collaborative environment.
This tool also enhances productivity as it eliminates repetitive tasks so that your team can focus on other more important tasks and strategic work.
- Comes with an agentless architecture
- Allows you to orchestrate your app lifecycle
- Doesn’t require any special coding skills
Jenkins is one of the most popular tools currently available. A leading open source automation server, it provides hundreds of plugins to support building, automating and deploying your projects.
This tool is easy to set up and configure and integrates with practically any tool and can be distributed across multiple machines.
It is also extensible and so can be used for continuous integration and continuous delivery.
- Easy to install
- Detects failures early on
- Helps organize releases and keep deployments on schedule
The platform also gives you full visibility and control over the release process enhancing productivity and allowing different teams to see what they’re doing.
This transparency over the software delivery process allows you to increase efficiency and reduce time-to-value to deliver better software faster.
- Increases delivery speed through automation and streamlined processes
- Improves collaboration to ensure fast workflows between development and test teams
- Provides release insights to make sure high-quality releases are delivered on time
Chef helps to facilitate a culture of DevSecOps (Development, Security and Operations) by allowing effective collaboration through software automation.
Chef helps teams build, deploy and secure your releases as well as enabling them to scale continuous delivery across different applications.
- Facilitates cross-team collaboration with actionable insights for configuration
- Provides operational visibility for all your teams in one place
- Provides a single source of truth for all environments
Clarive helps make application delivery easier through a unified workflow. This release management tool drives application changes from development all the way to production.
This tool also allows you to choose a template that fits your organization’s unique workflow and delivery mode.
- Provides a Kanboard board to create a deployment.
- Allows you to track your release progress through the different stages
- Provides an end-to-end delivery
Spinnaker is an open source, multi-cloud continuous delivery platform. Created by Netflix, this platform allows for fast and safe deployments across multiple cloud providers including AWS EC2, Kubernetes and Microsoft Azure.
Its deployment features enable teams to construct and manage continuous delivery workflows.
- Provides role-based access control so that access can be restricted to projects or accounts leading to heightened security
- Allows you to restrict execution of stages to certain times; for example, when the right people are on hand to access the rollout
- Requires manual judgements (a manual approval) prior to a release
Ultimately, the release management tool you choose will depend on a number of factors including: company size, amount of projects (i.e. whether you have a large number of simultaneous projects) and ease of use.
In the end, whatever tool you end up choosing, to ensure a smooth release management process, it’s imperative to build consistent workflows and foster an environment of collaboration.
Choosing the right tools will allow teams to efficiently build, manage and deploy new features without much hassle.