Continuous Deployment Trends

This is a post putting together what companies are doing in the Continuous Deployment space, and what are the current trends.

Deployments at Etsy

Here are some data about Etsy deploys to production (only data for half of the year 2013)

  • Average Deploys per day: 35.75
  • Average Authors per deploy: 7.01
  • Average Commits per deploy: 11.25

What we can read between lines is, if your “Average Deploys per day” is lower than 1 you’re not doing Continuous Deployment, (you probably releasing often but not doing it continuously)

Some insides:

  • Part of the Etsy Bootcamp is to deploy code in production, on your first day.
  • Config System / Feature Switches: You have the ability to enable a feature, for group of users, a percentage of users, or for A/B testing

The typical dev cycle is: Deploy your feature in production ASAP -> Enable for QAs and Admins -> Public Prototype (5%-10% of users) -> A/B Test (50% users) -> Full website

  • Branching in Code: Use your configuration system, to keep your feature independent, and avoid to have long live branches.
  • Versioning: There is no versioning and no rollback, you always push forward (You can disable features if something goes wrong)
  • Experimentation: They have a platform to manage what features are used, and when they are in production. (First they use a tool “Launch Calendar”, now more advanced unified launch management tool called “Catapult”)
  • Metrics: Detect if any of the changes goes wrong (statsd, ganglia, etc)
  • Start simple > Deploy ASAP > Experiment > Learn


Deployments at IMVU

IMVU is “the inventor” of Continuous Delivery but also leading the “Lean Startup”

  • Deploys per day: 50

Some insides:

  • The time to deploy is around 20 minutes
  • The feedback on features is always from real customers
  • Metrics, as an essential part of the deployments
  • Also branching in code and feature enabled/disabled


Deployments at Quora

Quora is doing also well

  • Deploys per day: 46

Some insides:

  • From the developer’s side, only a single command is required to push code to production: git push
  • It takes six to seven minutes on average for a revision to start running in production.


How to enable Continuous Deployment

I highly recommend to watch this talk, because is a good summary of all the techniques:

Many Ways to Deploy Continuously

Some common patterns for devs are:

  • Branching in Code
  • Versioning the Database Schema
  • Deploy to handle multiple versions at the same time (a deploy on 1000 machines could take a while, be ready to have multiple versions at the same time)
  • Ship an image (AMIs, dokus, docker containers …) isolate problems and makes your environment predictable and testable

Other links

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October 14, 2013
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