Jan 19, 2017 6:00:25 AM | Increasing Efficiency Through Continuous Integration in the Cloud

What will separate winners from losers in this era of business is a company's ability to efficiently upgrade its efficiency through continuous integration.

Great news for IT consultants: Agile is everywhere, and continuous integration may actually prove itself to be the media buzzword that actually increases efficiency when taken seriously! Recommend away. Moving forward into the fifth generation of computing led by AI and virtualization, Platform as a Service (PaaS) technology along with new ways of app packaging and scaling provide even the smallest companies with the ability to continuously integrate in the cloud. What will separate winners from losers in this era of business is a company's ability to efficiently upgrade its efficiency through continuous integration.

Using Cloud BaaS

A relatively new but useful cloud-based methodology, Backend as a Service (BaaS) is helping to keep dev teams on schedule with apps, especially apps that demand a high iterative rollover. Putting backend in the cloud can help to shorten a product development cycle by several months, giving a dev team more time and brainpower to spend in creative. Cloud BaaS also gives developers the opportunity to create an ultra smooth delivery funnel through continuous delivery and continuous integration concepts. Bugs are fixed more quickly, and the entire development process is exponentially more agile.

You may certainly substitute SaaS, PaaS and IaaS into your thought process here as necessary. We are just making sure that if BaaS might provide positive results as well, that it is not forgotten among all of the cute little acronyms you'll be sifting through this quarter!

Reducing Cost

In many ways, the upfront cost of properly developing a continuous integration process is good for the growth of any company. Moving company culture and process forward into a new era beyond closed end iteration based programming is essential to keeping pace with the speed of communications. In short, your dev team is now in lockstep with your marketing, which has many positive benefits on your cost structure.

First of all, you will never be caught behind the eight ball in terms of a hard deadline or delivery date. An example of the shortcomings of traditional scheduling: The gaming industry as a whole is suffering from a lack of continuous delivery. Dev teams were often pushed by distributors to deliver unfinished products to consumers, ruining that studio's reputation when the product was deemed unfinished by its market. No Man's Sky, Street Fighter V, and the Assassin's Creed and Call of Duty franchises are just a few of the gaming brands that took huge hits in 2016, some of which may be unrecoverable.

Continuous integration reduces the pressure on your creatives and potentially brings your customers into the development process as the least expensive group of beta testers ever.

Secondly, continuous integration specifically in the cloud adds another level of agility to the development process. You reduce the number of physical bottlenecks if you are working on a contract basis and someone comes up missing, sick or late on delivery of a product component. The company saves money by outsourcing personal logistics to each individual member of the dev team as his responsibility. Unless you absolutely have to house central operations, you save on overhead.

Finally, harkening back to the first heading above, a cloud BaaS structure can handle a lot of the architectural legwork, reducing your costs there as well.

Virtualization and Continuous Integration

Bringing the concept of continuous integration into the cloud allows you to take advantage of virtualization as a time and cost saver. The relative ease of creating virtual instances in the cloud means your dev team may simultaneously conduct multivariate experiments on a build with no customer facing sprawl. Because you are saving time with remote access to resources anyway, changes can be made that much more quickly and applied to the active build exponentially faster.

Continuous resource reclamation helps to control the use of your resources in a pinch; however, there are so few instances of resource crunch in fifth-generation networks that this should never be a problem in the cloud. However, it is always an eloquent practice to clean up VM sprawl to reduce the instances of configuration drifts. It is also much easier to apply an error reporting software too many instances at once so that bugs can be more quickly reported down all build lines. Devs will be able to take this information into consideration during the next round of updates and cleanup.

Spending the time and resources to invoke continuous integration in the cloud upfront will pay off in spades down the road. As customers and distributors demand product at an ever accelerating pace, the companies that succeed in the future will be the ones that take the time today to modernize their development process.

Written By: Frances Banks