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I had the pleasure of joining Bola Rotibi, Research Director at Creative Intellect Consulting, during Serena’s DevOps Drive-In Webcast, hosted earlier today.  (I forgot to order my popcorn when registering!)  My key takeaways from the session come from Bola’s slide titled, “Ten points for gearing towards Continuous Delivery:”

  1. Assessment: knowing where you are and want to go is always a good thing.  During the webinar, I asked Bola about measures (of success) and supported my question with an observation made during numerous prospect and customer visits. Oftentimes, companies are focused on doing the right things but cannot always articulate what success looks like.  You should be able to concisely, and objectively, tell your boss how you have been successful.  A simple example would be, “We’ve been able to reduce the total time spent by our release team deploying software into the Integrated Test environment by 45%.”
  2. Commitment: “A commitment to Business Agility must be comprehensive.”  I choose to read this a couple of ways.  First, the organization must be committed to change. Your boss and his/her boss must be regularly asking you, “How’s it going? We’re under pressure to improve operational efficiency and our responsiveness to the business.”  Second, the various stakeholders (development, operations, service delivery, etc.) must have a common measure of success, preferably with some portion of their bonus dependent on achievement of a goal.
  3. Automation: As I stated during the webinar, and as I do when visiting our customers, the most immediate “place” to start is replacing manual deployment steps with automated application release automation.  Assuming you have the commitment of management (see #2), you can easily and quickly demonstrate success that is in alignment with your destination (see #1).

Watch the 2-minute video of Bola reviewing the slide above and detailing which ones to focus on.



First, a confession: I am an Olympics junkie.  While running on my treadmill early this morning, I found myself watching the Sweden-Switzerland hockey game.  During the break between periods 1 and 2, the broadcast team turned their attention to the growing story of how the US speed skaters have not won a medal, when they were expected to do so many times.  The reason, currently in circulation, is the new suits they are wearing. These suits — designed by a well-known sports apparel company, in partnership with a well-known aerospace giant – were supposed to reduce the drag encountered as the skaters traveled around the rink at speeds above 30 MPH.  It seems the opposite might be happening.

However, this is not what got me thinking and, ultimately, writing this blog.  While I had heard the “it’s the new suits” story several times, I learned for the first time this morning that these suits had not been tested in competition prior to the Olympics.  Really?  Common sense says that at least the US team would have tested these suits in a closed practice session with the stop watch firmly in the hands of the coaches before the Olympics. The fact that people were actually surprised that the suits degraded performance is … surprising.

So how does this relate to Release Management and DevOps?  This story sounds a lot like situations where development is able to release changes directly into production, without any governance or separation of duties.  In the Olympics situation, and if my ruminations are somewhat accurate, “development” is likely the business development people for team USA who signed a lucrative contract and, quite possibly, injected a change directly into production (the skaters) without much governance (stop watches, or user acceptance testing at competitive events leading up to the Olympics).

Serena Software can help you safely accelerate your need to inject software changes into production.  For more, see information about Serena Release Manager.

Some final thoughts.  Wrapping this up … I am all for beating the competition within the established rules.  Team USA is now trying to change their suits. IMO, they should be denied this request. While rollbacks are fair game for software deployments, the US speed skaters need to live with their high-stakes gamble.



Pace layered application strategyHello again from Las Vegas!  Serena Software is a sponsor of the Gartner Data Center Conference and we are showcasing our recently-announced Serena Release Manager v5.  Gartner interviewed over 200 CIOs in 2012 on the topic of DevOps and found that release management was the number one issue they face.

While at the show, I had the opportunity to have lunch with Cameron Haight, Research VP at Gartner (primary focus is on DevOps). He co-authored “Use the Pace-Layered Application Strategy to Guide Your DevOps Strategy” with George Spafford, Research Director at Gartner.  (This strategy is based on the book written by Stewart Brand, “How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They’re Built”.)  My very brief summary of Gartner’s paper: There are different application types, with appropriately different lifecycles, and IT organizations need to have a strategy to deal with these variations. The image above (source: Gartner) shows a Pace-Layered Application Strategy.

During lunch, I shared with Cameron the idea that Serena Release Manager v5 supports the concepts of Pace-Layered Application Strategy, out-of-the-box.  We allow you to identify different release train types, with different lifecycles, and applications.  We easily conceive of three overlapping Release Trains that accommodate the stable, slow to change applications of type “System of Record” (which may well exist on a mainframe), the “Systems of Differentiation” application type that change more frequently, but not as much as the rapidly changing “Systems of Innovation,” where new ideas are brought to market.

Cameron encouraged us to expand this idea and show how.  I agreed.  Stay tuned for details about a future webcast where we demonstrate how Serena Release Manager can support Gartner’s Pace-Layered Application Strategy.



Gartner Data Center ConferenceHello from Las Vegas!  Serena Software is a sponsor at the Gartner Data Center Conference, happening now through  December 12.  We are showing our recently-announced Serena Release Manager v5 at our booth (pictured to right).  Gartner interviewed over 200 CIOs in 2012 on the topic of DevOps; they said that release management was the number one issue they face.

While at the show, Jonathan Thorpe and I had the opportunity to attend a Monday session led by Ronni Colville and George Spafford, both from Gartner Research, titled “Leveraging DevOps for Scale.”  Here are some of the key messages they delivered:

  1. Release Management is the foundation for DevOps and a concept that must be mastered.  (At Serena, we completely agree!)
  2. When designing an enterprise release management process, the considerations are: be sure you understand who your key stakeholders are, establish shared metrics (Dev and Ops) to foster team work, and start on a prototype project to prove concepts (and in our view, for early success to establish momentum).
  3. A shared understanding between Dev and Ops should be the ultimate goal of releasing software into production.
  4. Application Release Automation (ARA) is a low hanging fruit.  (Serena’s view is that ARA is necessary but not sufficient – you also need to focus on lifecycle processes.)
  5. Support of release types is important, especially as you consider Gartner’s Pace Layered guidance.  (Serena agrees and supports different release types out-of-the-box with Release Manager v5.)
  6. A key challenge to implementing release management – integrations.  (We agree.  Serena does not believe in “rip-and-replace” but rather leveraging investments in existing tool chains.)

More coming soon from Las Vegas.



Gartner Data Center - LondonI’ve just returned from the Gartner Data Center event in London, where Serena Software was a sponsor (booth pictured to the right).  We showcased the newly announced Serena Release Manager v5 and talked with numerous companies in attendance.

In 2012, Gartner interviewed over 200 CIOs on the topic of DevOps and found that release management was the number one issue they face.  And on this same topic, our customers tell us that they need to improve visibility, reduce rework and errors associated with manual task execution and ineffective handoffs, and increase the reuse of assets such as runbooks.  At the recent London event, the conversations I had certainly validated not only the issues, but Serena’s lifecycle approach.

With Serena Release Manager v5, the bar will be significantly raised in support of release management.  Serena has taken a lifecycle approach towards addressing the challenges of scoping, building, deployment, and supporting software application releases.  Serena Release Manager is built on the foundation of Serena Business Manager (SBM), in use at over 1600 companies globally for work management, and fully integrated with our application release automation technology into this single product.

Out of the box, we deliver nearly 50 reports and KPIs in the form of a completely customizable dashboard.  The default processes around release trains, application releases, approvals and handoffs (turnovers) all have their own workflow and are each first class citizens in our reference model.  If you want to modify one of our workflows, no problem; the drag-n-drop composer tool is simple to learn and use.

If you plan to attend the Gartner Data Center Conference in Las Vegas from December 9-11, please stop by the Serena booth and ask to see Serena Release Manager v5.  Otherwise, join us for the What’s New in Serena Release Manager, Serena Service Manager and SBM webcast on December 17.  We’ll demonstrate all of these new solutions and answer any questions you may have.



Release Management imageI’ll be heading to London next week for the Gartner Data Center Summit from November 25-26.  Serena Software is a sponsor and we will showcase our soon-to-be-released Serena Release Manager v5.

In a 2012 Gartner DevOps survey of over 200 CIOs, release management was rated the number one issue.  No surprise that our customers tell us pretty much the same thing; they need to improve visibility, reduce rework and errors associated with manual task execution and ineffective handoffs, and increase the reuse of assets such as runbooks.

With Serena Release Manager v5, the bar will be significantly raised in support of release management.  Serena has taken a lifecycle approach towards addressing the challenges of scoping, building, deployment, and supporting software application releases.  Serena Release Manager is built on the foundation of Serena Business Manager (SBM), which is in use at over 1600 companies globally for work management and is fully integrated with our application release automation technology into Serena Release Manager v5.

Out of the box, Serena Release Manager v5 delivers nearly 50 reports and KPIs in the form of a fully customizable dashboard.  The default processes around release trains, application releases, approval and handoffs (turnovers) all have their own workflow and are each first-class citizens in our reference model.  If you want to modify one of our workflows, no problem; the drag-n-drop composer tool is simple to learn and use.

If you plan to attend the London Gartner event, please stop by the Serena booth and say hello. Plus, ask to see Serena Release Manager v5!  Or, meet us at the Gartner Data Center Conference in Las Vegas from December 9-12; we’ll be there as well.

Keep an eye on www.serena.com for more news and information about a v5 introduction webcast in the near future!



I watched a “me too” moment while in the xChange12 breakout session “How to Use the Power of Dimensions CM to Drive Continuous Integration” by Paul Caruana, a member of the Serena Support team. Paul was talking about how Serena uses Jenkins with Dimensions CM to enable continuous integration in our development lab. It was at that point that one of Serena’s customers asked about the ability to integrate Subversion (configuration management), Jenkins (continuous integration) and Dimensions CM (deployment). Before Paul could answer, three other customers added, “We want to do that too. What’s the answer?” As a software provider, we obviously want our customers to use as much of our software as possible. As a company focused on customer satisfaction, this “me too” moment reinforced what we know – we must be able to easily integrate with our customers’ other software investments. BTW … Paul’s answer was “yes”.



Las Vegas is a tough town to in which think about losing weight. Yet, I found myself dwelling on that very topic after Serena’s CEO, John Nugent, finished his keynote yesterday’s xChange12. He introduced this notion of “properly weighted” tools. So often I’ve met with companies who, for all of the right reasons, have a complex environment of software applications accumulated over the years. When faced with the need for efficiency gains, they first turn to their software tools in their portfolio with a “can do” attitude. Often times these tools are overweight for what is needed; “it can do that too” is the common mantra. Let me suggest that the “should do” approach is to first look at process improvement to achieve efficiency gains, followed by software tool selection that best supports the desired process. The end result from this approach will likely be a lighter weight, lower cost solution that better meets your needs in a timely manner.

Tags: ALM, xChange


Today was day 1 of Serena’s xChange12. DevOps was a major theme. Our customers are quite clear on this topic: it’s not Dev or Ops but rather Dev and Ops. The real value Serena provides is that we have both feet planted firmly in the Development and Operations domains. Gartner wrote of Serena, “Differentiation is strength in release management, giving Serena the most complete DevOps story.” Our SBM-based, fully integrated, process centric, approach to DevOps will surely help our customers realize the benefits the benefits they seek.



Dotting the i’s and crossing the T’s for tomorrow’s open.

Tags: xChange