Diving into DevOps

Shippable Enterprise Advances 'DevOps Assembly Lines'

Shippable Server is designed to unify DevOps tools and activities behind-the-firewall into software "assembly lines" that provide control and visibility across all DevOps tools and processes.

Assembly lines are the future of DevOps. That's a bold statement -- especially about a concept that isn't yet widely embraced -- but the folks at Shippable are continuing to bet big on its inherent wisdom with a newly released enterprise edition of their namesake continuous delivery platform. Shippable Server is designed to unify DevOps tools and activities behind-the-firewall into software "assembly lines" that provide control and visibility across all DevOps tools and processes.

In a white paper ("The Power of DevOps Assembly Lines") the company defines "DevOps Assembly Line" and differentiates the concept from "DevOps Pipeline." Boiled down, a pipeline is an automated phase of the software delivery workflow, an "island of automation;" an assembly line links those islands into an interconnected workflow that enables toolchain collaboration. It also defines workflows as code with a common, declarative specification language; provides end-to-end visibility with rich logistics; and integrates with technical stacks and app architectures with a plug-and-play model.

"DevOps has created an awareness of the need to automate and be more efficient in terms of software delivery," Manisha Sahasrabudhe, Shippable co-founder and VP of product management, wrote in a recent blog post. "However, most of the focus around the how has been around cultural changes and tools that help automate bits and pieces of the end-to-end software delivery workflow. This has led to the formation of 'islands of automation' that are optimized for specific tasks but do not enable the holy grail of Continuous Delivery or Continuous Deployment. To achieve those goals, you need an Assembly Line platform that takes all these tools and connects them into end-to-end workflows with complete visibility, traceability, and auditability."

With the new version of the Shippable platform, the company hopes to spread its assembly line message to DevOps-savvy enterprises that are often limited to tools that work behind the firewall because of security and compliance requirements. The list of enterprise-focused features in this release includes: admin-configurable security; automation of tasks, such as provisioning, building, testing, and management releases; code-flow visualization via a unified dashboard; more than 80 native connectors with popular tools, technologies, and languages for creating "synergistic" activities across diverse toolchains; continuous monitoring across the entire workflow; and best-in-class Docker support.

"This is the next wave of DevOps and brings the discipline of hyper-efficient manufacturing to software delivery," Shippable's CEO Avi Cavale said in a statement. "Companies like Amazon, Netflix and Google have spent many years and millions of dollars perfecting similar homegrown solutions, but most companies don't have that kind of money and time. Shippable is built to bring that capability to every organization, irrespective of size."

About the Author

John has been covering the high-tech beat from Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area for nearly two decades. He serves as Editor-at-Large for Application Development Trends (www.ADTMag.com) and contributes regularly to Redmond Magazine, The Technology Horizons in Education Journal, and Campus Technology. He is the author of more than a dozen books, including The Everything Guide to Social Media; The Everything Computer Book; Blobitecture: Waveform Architecture and Digital Design; John Chambers and the Cisco Way; and Diablo: The Official Strategy Guide.

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