What is most valuable?
- Repeatability of complex deployments of applications to different web application containers.
- Insight in status of all stages of our deployment pipelines
- Increased delivery speed and reliability of our products to our customers
- Extensibility with a broad range of plugins covering most of today's modern infrastructure
- Customization through a well documented plugin mechanism to cater for infrastructure an functional needs not covered by the commercial plugins available
How has it helped my organization?
It has been a key enabler for us to implement Continuous Delivery and DevOps across the organisation. We have been able to increase release frequency with a factor of (approximately) 10 and reduced re-deployments with a factor of 50!
What needs improvement?
- GUI: uses Adobe Flash which is a bit of a pain (Soon to be replaced by a new GUI with HTML5 and AngularJS).
- Visualisation of the whole deployment ecosystem and especially of more than average complex pipelines and environments is not possible (yet).
For how long have I used the solution?
We started implementation of XL Deploy in 2012, so we have used it for 2 years now.
What was my experience with deployment of the solution?
No issues with deployment.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
The product is very stable and we have had no downtime at all from the beginning until now.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
We haven't seen situations yet that we reached the limits of the application. So scalability has not been a worrysome factor for us yet, but as far as I know there are no scaleabilty features build into the product.
How are customer service and technical support?
Customer service is excellent. Always prompt and to the point. Technical Support
Technical support is great. Quick replies on questions asked on support forum, live chat available and very knowledgeable people.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
We used an in-house developed scripting solution for the main parts of our deployments and complemented that with error-prone manual steps accompanied by huge hard to maintain deployment manuals. We wanted to implement a Continuous Delivery methodology combined with a DevOps culture and therefor needed to speed up deployments as well as delivering better quality products to our customers. We switched because our scripting solution would not be able to deliver on those key features. Plus, we also are in the process of switching from IBM Websphere application servers on Windows to a new target platform (JBoss EAP on Linux (RHEL)). So in the long run the scripting solution which was targeted on IBM Websphere needed a lot of work, if at all it would survive.
How was the initial setup?
Initial setup is straightforward. You download 2 zips (Commandline Interface and Server implementation), unzip, and start the application. First time it will ask for some setup parameters and off you go. Typically it will take 5 to 10 minutes to complete.
What about the implementation team?
Small vendor team combined with our own people. Their expertise was very good and took only a few weeks to implement and get the team up to speed.
What was our ROI?
We haven't done any calculations yet, but given the facts:
- we increased velocity 10 fold
- reduced rework on deployments 50 fold
- using 6 full employees less than before
I expect we have definitely (in 2 years) returned on investment.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
I estimate the costs for setup to be around €120.000 - €170.000 (licences are perpetual so one time costs), with day-to-day cost at €500,- (2 hours, 2 persons per day) to run and maintain the product.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
We evaluated (desktop research) Udeploy (nowadays IBM), Nolio, Go (Thoughtworks),
What other advice do I have?
If you are looking for a product to automate deployments as well as having the desire to implement Continuous Delivery/DevOps methodology you can not ignore this product. It definitely makes those goals possible and easier to reach. It does so without being invasive (no agents necessary) but still delivers great customizability through a broad range of state of the art commercial plugins and the ability to create your own plugin solutions as well.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Nov 19 2014