Wouldn’t it be nice to have the entire continuous delivery topography laid out in a nice map that shows how they are all interconnected? Sort of like a subway or metro map? Well now you have it and it is interactive! The good folks at Automic, a CA Technologies company just released their Continuous Delivery Map. It is really cool and they are adding to it all the time.
I caught up with Scott Wilson of Automic and had a chat about the Continuous Delivery Map. As usual the streaming audio of our conversation is immediately below, followed by a transcript of our chat.
Alan Shimel: Hey, everyone, Alan Shimel, DevOps.com here for another DevOps Chat. Welcome and welcome to our guest, Scott Wilson, Automic, a CA Technologies company. Scott, welcome back to DevOps Chat
Scott Wilson: Thank you, Alan. I’m glad to be here.
Alan Shimel: Glad you’re here with me. So, Scott, you know, lot going on with Automic, obviously – always is – but I wanted to focus in today on some pretty cool interactive graphic – well, it’s more than just a graphic. It’s really a whole project that you guys have launched and it’s called the “continuous delivery map.” For those following along at home, if you wanted to check it out, you can get to it at automic.com/continuous-delivery-tools and – dash or a hyphen. Scott, you know, assuming people are listening to us but not able to get to the site this second, can you describe for us what the continuous delivery map is?
Scott Wilson: Yeah, so the continuous delivery map is really just a way to visualize a topography, if you will, of all the different tools that are in the continuous delivery value chain, and there are lots of tools. And we found, in talking with a lot of prospects and just other companies in the industry, that amongst IT professionals there’s a bit of confusion on what kind of the best use case is for many of the tools, mostly, Alan, due to so many of these tools having a great deal of crossover functionality, right? It’s kind of muddied, blurred the lines a bit.
And so, in thinking about a good way to help people out and kind of visualize the tool chain used to get an application into production environments, we took inspiration from metro rail systems, like the London tube or the New York subway, and so we built out a map that looks similar to that.
Alan Shimel: Yeah. I mean, for those of you, as I say, who maybe can’t get to a computer right this second, as you’re listening to this, it really is. It’s based on a subway map or a tube or it could be the Washington metro or the Boston or Tokyo or anyplace else, in that you have a central hub and then there’re different lines that are color-coded. And each of these color-coded lines represent a lineage or a line of a particular functionality in the continuous delivery world. So, for instance, there’s a line for cloud, IaaS and PaaS. Another line for middleware, another one for CI tools. Another one for artifact repositories. And, along that line, the stops are all of the different companies that kind of play within that are or are on that, and it’s not just companies – it’s actually the products of these companies that play on that particular branch, if you will.
So it’s actually pretty cool, Scott, and what I like about it too is, though, look, plainly and clearly, Automic is a vendor. I mean, there’s no favorites here. You’ve done a pretty exhaustive mapping or the whole topography of the continuous delivery world, it looks like, to me anyway.
Scott Wilson: Absolutely. We really wanted this to be agnostic for the tools. We’re really just trying to help the community understand, you know, the landscape for continuous delivery, and, as you mentioned, the central hub is really the way you would bind all those many plethora of tools into a coherent pipeline, right, to safely and reliably deliver apps to production environments. And, yeah, this definitely respects that. Ultimately, we’re gonna be opening this up to the community so that people can comment or keep this updated ’cause there’re always new tools coming on board and other tools or open-source projects that kind of fall out of vogue, so we’re looking to really make this more interactive and far – we’ll keep it up to date.
Alan Shimel: Yep. And, you know, again, trying to visualize or paint a picture for people who don’t have it in front of them, at every stop on every branch, if you will, it’s a link, and if you click on that link, it gives you a little pop-up with a little information about that particular company or product but also links through to their full websites or what have you. So it really is – I could see this being a really useful tool for anyone interested in the CD kind of world. There have been – I mean, clearly, Scott, right? Full disclosure: there’ve been other companies that have tried to organize, if we will, the CD world, but, really, using this paradigm of the subway map and the branches and lines, if you will – maybe it’s just ’cause I’m from New York and I’m used to subway maps –
– makes a lot of sense to me.
Scott Wilson: Right. Well, we’ve heard that feedback as well that that’s just – well, you know, continuous delivery’s about movement, right? You’re moving things along and it just seems to help visualize it. You know, a lot of the data from what other folks have done is similar, right – a big list of tools – but just being able to put it in a format like this, we’re finding a lot of people go, “Ah, this makes sense. I would use these set of tools. Source code management fits here and deployment automation fits there.”
And it’s helpful because I think, without presenting it this way, you’re just left to a hodgepodge of tools and you’re like, “Yep, I got ten of these and two of those and I’m good.” When you look at it in this format, you realize, “Oh, well, I could actually go further. I could do more or I could better organize things,” or maybe even take some of the burden off a tool that you keep having it be more than it was designed for and actually use a best-of in another category, or, as we represent it as, a color-coded rail line.
Alan Shimel: Yeah. Yeah. And, of course, you know, the thing about projects like this, Scott, is they’re, in some ways, a never-ending story. They’re constantly morphing, changing, growing. And, I mean, the good news is you’ve got a great start right here; the bad news is you guys need now to keep this up, week in, week out, month after month. What are the plans, going forward, to keep it current and fresh?
Scott Wilson: Excellent observation and point. We are looking to ultimately open this up to the community, so this page will not only be as it is now; it’ll be far more interactive, where visitors can come in and recommend tools that aren’t on here, maybe further defining particular lines or branches that we have, upvoting, downvoting various tools, and, yeah, so we’re looking to have that community help us keep it up to date. In just doing the research for this and playing with many of these tools and looking at their viability to be on the map, as you said, it was a ton of work. And so it’d be impossible, with the growing market, to do that on our own, and we’re definitely looking forward to collaborate with the DevOps community at large in keeping this current, the information current and fresh and, of course, far more interactive and useful, as we go forward.
Alan Shimel: Yeah. I mean, you know what? I mean, this is great and I don’t know how you would visualize it, but it would be great to show sort of connected dots, in terms of how companies or products actually integrate or work together. But that –
Scott Wilson: So, yeah, not to give away – [chuckles] – so much what we’re planning, but, yes, you’re absolutely correct. That is something that is on our roadmap, what we’re planning. Indeed, what we think would be useful for this is to allow us to kind of rank or order the tools and use a kind of a most popular or what the market, the community says, “Now this is the best practice set of tools.” A simple example would be SQL Server and Oracle. Right? If you’re going down the RDBMS line, the database line, then, well, those two are kind of the giants. And so by ordering them such a way, you would be able to come in, list the tools that you have, and be able to visually see, “Are you kind of following what everyone, what the consensus best practice is? Or are you have a lot of outliers?” And I suspect a few outliers here and there are okay, but, you know, if you’re going two four outlines, you might be putting yourself at risk.
And sometimes I think it’s just to help you answer that big question, is “I don’t know. Should we go with this tool or this tool?” Well, you could come here and, in future releases, be able to see what the community is saying the best of or the next best of, right, and have it ordered and you’d be able to see that in a nice map, visual way, to understand and help you to, hopefully, make decisions on what tooling you should consider or not.
Alan Shimel: You can also see if you’re taking the express or going on the locals. There’s a lot that a clever marketing person and someone with a good knowledge of the market here in the CD space can really make some hay with this, Scott. And, you know, beyond cute, it’s actually pretty – a really useful tool here.
Scott Wilson: Yeah. Appreciate that. Like I said, we’re looking to make it far more useful and what you hinted to and what I’ve just discussed is really make it really interactive and help you measure yourself against what the market or the community is doing, what the norms are, best practices and so forth.
Alan Shimel: So I’ll include a link to this, Scott, in our show notes when we publish, but, for those who may be listening on iTunes or SoundCloud or audio only, again, the URL for this CD map is automic.com/continuous – dash or hyphen – delivery – dash or hyphen – tools. And you could check it out there. Scott, you know, in real DevOps fashion, upgrades here will be continuous, right? There’s not a Linux version planned or anything like that, I would assume
Scott Wilson: Correct. Yes. So we have continuous sprints planned. New vendors are actually in our current sprint, that are coming out, and, yeah, so you’re absolutely right. If we’re gonna do something on continuous delivery, then we ourselves are looking to be agile and looking to keep it fresh and then, ultimately, have one of the inputs to those sprints be the community, community feedback and input.
Alan Shimel: Got it. So, Scott, this is really great. Congratulations to the whole team at Automic who worked on it. It’s a piece of work here that I think is highly useful. What else is new at Automic, Scott? Anything noteworthy you wanna report on
Scott Wilson: Well, what we’re shipping here lately, in the next few weeks, is a incremental release of our application release automation product, version 12.1. There are several enhancements that are coming out, going GA here, in the coming weeks. We’re pretty excited about that and some of the additional enhancements. There’ll be a lot of information coming out in a few weeks about all of that and the functionality and things that we’re doing with that. And then, you know, just additionally, the growth and recognition within the CA company, as an automation business unit, and, yeah, we’re keeping pretty busy with automating not just things within the continuous delivery value stream or DevOps tool chain, but also within the CA ecosystem itself. There’s a lot of growth. And so, really, what’s happening with Automic is we’re really able to help show how we can automate, really, the modern software factory.
Alan Shimel: Yep.
Scott Wilson: That’s kind of one of the – falls in line with what CA is trying to do, one of the core tenets. They’re trying to reach out to the community and the marketplace.
Alan Shimel: Absolutely. All about software development life cycle and software supply chains.
Scott Wilson: Yeah.
Alan Shimel: Well, Scott, thanks for giving us a peek behind the scenes at the continuous delivery map. We’ll try to feature this on DevOps.com and we’ll be watching as it continues to develop, adding even more features or functionality, but it’s pretty cool stuff.
Scott Wilson: Well, thank you very much and, as always, I love being here and grateful you had me.
Alan Shimel: Well, we’ll have you back on again then. You know, Scott, flattery will get you everywhere.
Scott Wilson: [Laughs]
Alan Shimel: Thanks
Scott Wilson: That’s so true, isn’t it?
Alan Shimel: Yep. We’ll have you on again. Scott Wilson, Automic, a CA Technology company, talking about their new continuous delivery map here on DevOps Chat. Scott, thanks for coming. Hey, everyone, thanks for listening. Hope to see you soon on another DevOps Chat. Until then, I’m Alan Shimel for DevOps.com and we’re out of here. Thank you.