CA Release Automation Review

Shared components are repeatable processes that you can assign throughout multiple applications.

Video Review:

What is most valuable?

Some of the most valuable features of CA Release Automation are definitely the shared components, as well as the tokens. Shared components within this application are repeatable processes that you can assign throughout multiple applications, such as your business types, funding, credit, whatever else, that are repeatable processes. For example, if you wanted to set up an IS site or something along those lines, you would create a repeatable flow process with the application, and then you can leverage token values to fill in something like the service account, the passwords, that kind of stuff, that would actually be populated as part of your IS site deployment. It's pretty cool and a pretty awesome feature that we leverage all the time.

How has it helped my organization?

In our pipeline, right now, it's used as the release. We use Jenkins to build our applications and then it sends over to Release Automation. It's basically changed the way that we're doing our deployments. We now have, instead of three-hour deployments, they're three minutes. As well as, it creates more consistencies in the environments and helps it determine if the issue is with the server, the code, whatever else, when you're actually deploying out. It's been extremely helpful.

Some of the things that we're using for compliance and governance is basically the auditing that we can use with the application, like, who deployed it, when it was deployed, what versions were deployed from dev, QA, train, stage, production. It's been pretty helpful on that one.

What needs improvement?

Some features that it's currently missing are the components that CA has put into their Continuous Delivery Edition product. That product should probably be combined with this product, instead of being a separate product. I would say that that's one of the issues that I currently see with it. I know that they put it in there as separate products but long term, it should really be combined.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using CA Release Automation for about a little over a year now.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution itself is pretty stable, as long as you're integrating it with enterprise solutions, as well, using an enterprise database, because it's a pretty database-intense product. Don't try to use some sort of MySQL. Use something that's real, as well as the repository for your artifacts, using an enterprise Nexus or enterprise Artifactory, instead of just the built-in products.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's pretty scalable, because you could just have multiple execution servers run. If you wanted to have more servers and agents deployed out than you currently have execution servers, you can add those on at any given time.

How is customer service and technical support?

So far, the technical support that we've had is pretty good. I usually get about an hour response time, especially if it's something that's escalated. The other week, after I submitted a request I got a response in about 10 minutes. They opened a WebEx within an hour, and we were discussing the issue. It was surprisingly well, compared to other technical groups that I've worked with before.

Which solutions did we use previously?

We decided to invest in CA Release Automation because we were trying to find ways to be more efficient in our code delivery. We had a lot of outages surrounding releases going wrong, and part of that is also code not being built automated; versions not being the same from QA to production; just a lot of those little things that built up over time.

We also expanded as a company, so we finally have started looking at everything that we can fix and this is one of the places that we started with.

When we work with vendors, I would say just being able to actually be listened to is something we look for; whenever we have issues, actually getting responses from the companies. I find that CA actually will respond. They might not have everything out of the box that we want, but they'll listen, and they'll actually update their code and add more plug-ins. One thing that they have actually updated; we requested TIBCO version 6 for BW deployments to be added as a plugin, and they're in the process of actually adding that to their new release, on the roadmap.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup can be open to more of the interpretation of the user. If you want to have it set up baseline, you just want to deploy out one or two types of products, that's pretty quick. It wouldn't take too much time. If you're trying to create it as a central enterprise solution for your company, then that's going to take a while. It took us about six months or so, maybe closer to eight, to actually get our real foundation set before we can quickly onboard and really automate adding artifacts to CA Release Automation.

What other advice do I have?

To be fair, I think that there are a lot of things that it is capable of: deploying out; integrating with other products. The UI and the design can sometimes be a little flaky, and that is a little frustrating at different points, but overall, it's definitely a solution, if you're looking for an enterprise product to do your releases for multiple types of deployments.

Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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