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Why Chef Delivery is a Big Step Forward, and What Comes Next

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Why Chef Delivery is a Big Step Forward, and What Comes Next

· DevOps Zone ·
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As a company building tools for the Continuous Delivery and DevOps space, we decided early on that the real value lies in managing the application layer. This was the driver for the launch, almost 18 months ago now, of XL Release: the first Continuous Delivery Management tool designed to allow teams and businesses to focus on getting code from development out to your users faster without compromising quality.

As such, we’ve been keen observers of the evolution of the Continuous Delivery space, and have been looking forward to the much-rumoured arrival of Chef Delivery for a long time now. Finally, it’s been announced!

Chef Delivery will likely end up competing with XL Release in some scenarios, but that’s just healthy. More importantly, a new tool will bring new ideas and new users to the Continuous Delivery arena. That means more learning, improved best practices and better tooling all round, from which we all benefit. The delivery and pricing model for Chef Delivery doesn’t seem to be clear yet, but I certainly hope there will eventually be a fully-featured free version similar to XL Release’s Community Edition.

xlr-xlt-chefI’m also curious to see how quickly the Chef community will be able to respond to the new Chef CD story. Many of our users that are now using XL Release to improve their delivery process on top of Chef added pipeline orchestration only after trying to do CD with just Chef, before concluding that an additional end-to-end layer would help. The Chef Delivery launch makes it very clear that a tool dedicated to the pipeline/release process is needed on top of the underlying automation provided by tools like Chef. This will hopefully eliminate a lot of the confusion we see in the community today.

In short, I think this new emphasis on the end-to-end process is a big and timely step that will really help teams and organizations get value out of CD. But one important lesson that we learned from our XL Release users was that trying to improve the ability to ship code more quickly really doesn’t work without a greatly increased focus on testing. And that was causing problems that they weren’t able to handle with existing tooling.

More specifically, what our users were seeing is that running a growing number of automated tests more and more frequently significantly increased the challenge of visualizing and analyzing all the test results. They explained that this was often their biggest bottleneck: moving code from Dev to Prod was now a piece of cake, but it was very difficult for them to determine with confidence whether the code they were shipping was actually usable.

This is why we created XL Test, which is the first tool designed to address the problem of visualizing and analyzing all the test results that you end up with in a CD environment quickly and effectively, on a very frequent basis. If you’re trying to figure out how to make sense of all your automated test results, it’s definitely worth a try.

And of course you can get started orchestrating your Chef, Docker, Azure, mobile etc. pipelines with XL Release today too!

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