Deployment Strategies: 6 Explained in Depth

May 3, 2022

A software development firm will need to change or upgrade its software at some point. It might be a total version change or a bug fix.

As the new version is ready, here is the real challenge for the firm's DevOps team: How do we deploy this new upgrade seamlessly without complicating things, keeping the user experience in mind?

To solve this humongous task, the DevOps team integrates deployment strategies into their operating procedures. The development of deployment strategies has helped software firms successfully deploy new versions of applications and code. These strategies are known as deployment strategies.

Our aim in this article is to explain what deployment strategies are, the different types of deployment strategies available, and their methods of implementation. We will also cover the advantages and disadvantages of each technique, as well as when to use each in your work as a DevOps engineer.

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Deployment Strategies: What Are They?

To successfully launch a new version of the software solution they provide, DevOps teams use deployment strategies. Using these techniques, network traffic in a production environment is transitioned from the old version to the new version based on the firm's specialty. Deployment strategies can influence downtime and operational costs based on the company's specialty.

Deployment Strategies of Different Types

Now that we know what deployment strategies are, let's explore the different types of deployment strategies.

Deployment in blue and green

This deployment strategy involves running the new version of the software alongside the old version. Note that this is also known as a red/black deployment strategy.

Stable or older versions of the application are always blue or red, while newer versions are green or black.

When the new version has been tested and certified to meet all the requirements, the load balancer automatically switches traffic from the older version to the newer one.

In addition to offering a quick update or rollout of a new application version, this strategy has the disadvantage of being expensive since both the new and old versions must run simultaneously. Engineers mostly use this method in mobile app development and deployment.

Canary Deployments

During canary deployment, the team responsible for deployment gradually redirects traffic from the older version to the new one. For instance, at a certain stage in the process, 90% of production traffic may still go through the older version while only 10% goes through the newer one. This approach allows DevOps engineers to evaluate the stability of the new version by using live traffic from a subset of end-users at varying levels throughout production.

Canary Deployments enables better performance monitoring as well as faster and easier software rollbacks. However, it has a slow deployment cycle and requires more time.

Recreate Deployment

The development team shuts down the old version of the application completely, deploys the new version, then reboots the whole system. This deployment method produces a system downtime between shutting down the old software and booting the new one.

As there is no traffic shifting from one version to another in the live production environment, it requires no load balancer.

The downtime in this strategy, however, affects the end user dramatically. Users must wait until the application is live again to use it. As a result, not many developers use this strategy unless it is their only option.

Ramped Deployment

The ramped deployment strategy gradually changes the older version to the new version. Unlike canary deployment, the ramped deployment strategy replaces instances of the old application version with instances of the new application version one instance at a time, as opposed to canary deployment. The rolling upgrade deployment strategy is another way to refer to this method.

As soon as developers replace all instances of the older version, they shut it down. After that, the new version is in charge of all production traffic.

The downgrading process to the initial version follows the same cycle, one instance at a time. However, the rollback duration is long in case of an unexpected event.

Shadow Deployment

In this deployment strategy, developers deploy the new version alongside the old version. However, users cannot access the new version immediately. The latest version hides in the shadows. To test how the new version will handle the requests when live, developers fork or copy a copy of the old version to the shadow version.

As a result, the DevOps engineer should be careful to ensure that the forked traffic does not create a duplicate live request since two versions of the same system are running simultaneously.

It's expensive and complex to set up, and it can create serious problems. Shadow deployment allows engineers to monitor system performance and conduct stability tests.

A/B Testing Deployment

Developers deploy the new version alongside the older version in A/B testing deployment. However, this new version is only available to a limited number of users, who are selected according to certain conditions and parameters. Location, device type, UI language, and operating system can serve as parameters for selecting these users.

After gathering statistics from performance monitoring, developers deploy the version of the application that yielded the best results.

The use of real-time statistical data can help developers make informed decisions about their software. However, A/B testing is difficult to set up and requires a high-end load balancer.

Tools for better deployment

Developing new features with any deployment strategy isn't easy. DevOps teams need to understand what values they're shipping to their users. Plutora offers tools that make it easier for DevOps teams to launch or release new features with any deployment strategy.

In addition to implementing a deployment strategy and tracking analytics, release management tools allow firms to plan and manage their release. The deployment planning tool is another great tool to have when planning a deployment. By using this tool, risk can be minimized during the deployment process.

Software deployment tools save time as they can manage CI/CD (continuous integration/ continuous delivery), automating deployment. These tools can also enhance security as they can integrate role-based access control.

In conclusion

Explore the various deployment strategies available to update your software. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, making them suitable for different situations. The main consideration is finding the most suitable option for your DevOps team based on your team's, project's, and company's requirements and business objectives. Consider factors like downtime tolerance and cost limitations. Enhance your deployment process with Plutora's deployment management tools and release management platform. Book a personalized demo now!

It is inevitable that software development firms will have to change or upgrade their software at some point, whether it is due to a complete version change or a bug fix.

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