CA Continuous Delivery Automation Review

Reduces our time to market considerably with automated and consistent results

What is our primary use case?

We wanted to put in place release control, release management for our products, which is more centered around a COTS application, into an automated process. That's when we started looking for different tool sets and did a PoC with a couple of vendors. CA Automic stood out there. We started using it for both our service orchestration pieces as well as for release automation.

So far, it's been doing well. In terms of our expectations, it's what we were looking for. There are some angles where we are still refining it or maturing our processes around it, but we have covered a lot in the last about 18 months since we purchased and deployed it. We are about to take about 30 applications under the release automation and going live with a large program. So far, so good, I would say.

How has it helped my organization?

I would say our headwind, or our time to market, is reduced considerably. We get more consistent results out of it, because you write one time and once it's automated you expect it to behave the same way every time. And it cut down a lot of re-work for us.

What is most valuable?

Scalability and auditability. The capability to provide visibility to the stakeholders, to management, is the biggest piece that showcases what the solution is about. Our whole approach of release automation is geared around it.

What needs improvement?

One of the biggest features I've been asked by my team to put in there is opening more scripting languages to be part of the platform. There is a little bit of a learning curve in learning how to code some of the workflows in Automic at this time. If widely used languages like Perl and Python were integrated, on top of what's already there, the proprietary language, it would make it easier to on-board new resources, and it could become a little bit more widely adopted tool going forward.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's pretty stable. We have a good number of servers under its control right now. We haven't seen any issues where we've seen it's not stable or it's impacting the infrastructure negatively anywhere.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

As I said, scalability was one of the key points when we looked into. It's quite scalable for us. The enterprise size that we have is well controlled and well defined for us, so it's good.

How is customer service and technical support?

We actually have a professional service engineer onsite from Automic, and he's part of our team. He helps us implement best practices; trains our guys as we roll in new resources. It helps set the stage for us. Very helpful.

Which solutions did we use previously?

We had a lot of challenges to begin with. There was a big vacuum of tools when we started looking into it. For us it was natural that we knew what we were struggling with, and management was looking into doing something different, something better. We started looking out for some of the tools and solutions that could help us bridge that gap.

How was the initial setup?

We did a couple of trial and errors to begin with, but with the help of the Professional Services guys, it didn't take that long. We were up and running in about two weeks' time, and started putting pieces in there.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We started with IBM tool sets. We had Electric Cloud that we looked into. And then we looked into Automic, and a few others; open source tools, as well. And then we naturally aligned towards Automic.

We went with them because of the stability of the company. We were looking for a partner, a well grounded company, how long they had been in operation. And we also looked at some white paper case studies out there, that helped us. And then we did a couple of proofs of concept with some of the vendors, and for our use case, what we were trying to implement, Automic stood out.

What other advice do I have?

Our most important criteria when selecting a vendor are

  • the size of the vendor itself
  • how stable the company is
  • how long they have been in the market
  • what product suites they have that can help us achieve our goal at the end of the day. 

We look for partners, not vendors per se, that can help us implement our vision with us, and that's why we like Automic.

I give it a good nine out of 10 at this time. The one piece that I think that could help leverage more of the tool is the scripting language barrier at this time. If that's not there, and some of the pieces that could be delivered faster, it might be adopted more out there in the market.

I would suggest look at the complete offering that's out there. I would suggest: Prove it out first with the use case that you have. We were not shy in terms of running some proofs of concept with a couple of big vendors out there, and then making them make the case why their product suits our use case. And don't be shy to restart if there is something that you think is not going right, make sure you fix the problem before it gets too late.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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