The ultimate goal of dev teams is to get their codes deployed to production. An effective software deployment process is essential to the success of the application development effort.
The advent and subsequent integration of DevOps, agile development and continuous deployment tools have increased the velocity and efficiency of the deployment process.
Benefits of Software Deployment Tools
Although software deployment is the culmination of the coding and app development process, it’s often a difficult and complicated process for dev teams. To mitigate the hassle associated with software deployment, developers should leverage deployment tools.
Such tools are designed to thoroughly check and debug application code, identify possible issues for dev teams to hotfix and ensure that apps are ready for release to the public. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of using software deployment tools.
Dev teams usually work with deadlines and often have clients and management breathing down their necks to finish app development in record time. With software deployment tools, developers can quickly roll-out apps in a few hours.
There is no need for coders to learn new features: All they have to do is run the tool, and their applications are launch-ready in next to no time.
Monitor User Actions
Developers who leverage software deployment tools can easily monitor user actions. They collate data on user activity and can be used to perform historical analysis and deliver actionable insights to dev teams.
Such data can be used to establish a controlled work environment where developers can monitor user activity around a particular software.
What to Monitor During the Software Deployment Process
Since software deployment is more a process than an event, dev teams need to monitor their applications, production servers, and other critical systems/factors to ensure smooth and flawless deployment.
Let’s take a look at some things you should monitor during the software deployment process
Performance of Application Dependencies
Today’s applications leverage a wide array of application dependencies including HTTP web services, storage, queues, caching, SQL and NoSQL databases, among others.
Other dependencies include popular services like MongoDB, Elasticsearch, Redis and others. Dev teams should monitor such dependencies before and after deployment to identify major changes in performance.
Database and SQL Query Performance
For each deployment, applications that use a SQL database may require the introduction of new SQL queries, modifications to existing ones, and changes to how the database is used.
Dev teams should track frequently used SQL queries and those that use the most resources. Slight changes to such queries could significantly impact application performance.
CPU Usage, Load, Server Counts
Keeping tabs on overall server load and CPU usage is necessary (even for cloud deployments). In some cases, a slight change in an application’s code can significantly impact CPU usage and overall performance.
Such changes are particularly beneficial for applications that auto-scale across several servers. Tweaking the code can reduce the number of servers needed to run the application. As such, dev teams should keep an eye on overall CPU usage and server load and counts.
Compare Page Load Times and Web Traffic Volume
Developers should monitor key metrics like average page load times and web traffic volume before and after a deployment. If there are sudden variations in traffic volume, it could be an indicator of deployment issues.
A significant reduction in traffic may mean that users are encountering errors and can’t get to other pages within the application. For instance, a new deployment of an application that makes a lot of internal HTTP web service calls or uses a microservices architecture could impact downstream traffic on other applications.
Application errors are the first indicators of problems during the deployment process. Dev teams need to collate and monitor errors across their servers to identify, preempt and forestall deployment issues. However, they must know the type or kind of errors to look out for.
During the deployment process, applications can be restarted mid-stream, leading to transient errors like thread abort exceptions, SQL connection issues, and a wide array of similar problems. Developers should keep tabs on the application errors that occur before deployment.
This enables them to determine if there were additional errors after deployment. Being aware of standard application error before deployment makes it easier to identify new application errors once they crop up.
More often than not, there will be new SQL timeouts, null reference exception, HTTP 4xx/5xx errors and other such issues after deployment.
Developers should leverage software deployment tools to ensure efficient deployment of their applications. Such tools speed up the deployment process and facilitate easy monitoring of user activity.
With the right deployment tools, developers can rest assured that their applications will run as expected, thus ensuring flawless, hassle-free installation and operation on the side of the clients.