Your Application Deployment Checklist Template
Modern software is sophisticated, requiring complex infrastructure to run. At the same time, software deployment needs proper staging environments to push new updates, and small DevOps mistakes – such as forgetting to run particular scripts – can unleash new bugs instead of patching them up. But the good news is that this is all preventable with a comprehensive application deployment checklist template.
Software release checklists and application deployment checklists can in fact save your business enormous amounts of time and avoid headaches.
Here’s what you need to keep in mind to make your software deployment process pain-free:
Inform Operations in Advance
- Notify your operations team about the planned application deployment.
- Avoid bringing them onboard at the last minute. You want to give them ample time to address potential issues; for example, if the deployment will require any changes to the current infrastructure.
- Operations can also work with your developers to prepare, including anticipating how to troubleshoot potential issues.
Determine Deployment KPIs
- Be clear on what you’re trying to achieve with your software deployment project. For example, are you patching up an existing program to add new functions? Or are you deploying a new application with new features that need to work a particular way?
- In any case, setting Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) will ensure your deployment is on track. Potential KPIs could include query response time, database access, web load times, CPU/memory use, and how long code takes to execute as planned.
- Again, involve operations and developers. The combined DevOps team may be able to catch potential errors before they impact your KPIs.
Create a Deployment and Rollback Plan
Whether you want to push a patch, updates, or another type of fix, you’ll want to have a backup plan, just in case.
- Before applying a patch, capture a complete copy of your existing application together with its dependencies. The goal is to be able to restore to the working application in case the patch doesn’t execute as well as anticipated. That way, you can avoid stressing your IT resources or disrupting service delivery to sensitive processes, departments, and customers.
- If you have a new application to deploy, consider running it parallel to the existing one. In case the deployment monitors detect a critical problem, you can roll back to the already working application to avoid disruptions.
Prepare Your Server for Deployment
How you prepare your web servers for deployment will vary depending on your application and resources.
For example, you could decide to serve the application via a Docker-based container or virtualization (using a virtual machine or VM). Keep in mind, however, that VMs require scaling. Containerization with an orchestration system like Kubernetes, comes with autoscaling built-in.
There are a couple of things to consider here:
- Clear the server cache to rid of any errors the cache may cause.
- Consider matching CI/CD tools to use with it.
- Configure the server’s capabilities. Remember to test some tasks such as garbage collection 3-10 times your app’s load or peak load.
- See if you’ll need to install a physical server.
Set Up your Staging Environment Correctly
- Create your production server’s backup.
- Copy it, then make any necessary alterations to it.
- Next, update the test server with the altered backup.
- Important: Remember to restart the server after making changes.
Deploy to a Test Environment
Running the deployment in a staging server helps prevent drastic disruptions to an existing application if something doesn’t work quite right. Better yet, run an automated test program.
- Check to see that applying the new code does not break existing functionalities you’d like to keep – especially if you’re applying a patch.
- Use the automated deployment model to gather, monitor, and capture KPIs, post-deployment.
Ultimately, you want the staging process to give you a good idea of the IT resources you’ll need to provision for the specific software release. Then, you can use the tool to install your app into its appropriate resources for initial tests.
Monitor the Deployment Environment
If the deployment works, go ahead and test it severally – or with a section of actual users, too. If it continues to achieve your KPIs without concerning issues, go ahead and open it up to more users.
- Try to locate the source of issues. For example, check to see if customer service sees an uptick in help ticket submissions concerning a particular aspect of the new or patched software.
- Then roll back the changes to the previous version you already backed up.
- Next, rework the problem areas before testing the application again.
Embrace Continuous Development
There will always be minor errors in software releases. But they don’t have to pause your major update or hold up a new application rollout. With a continuous improvement mantra, you can patch up slight issues over time. You’ll want to maintain routine testing to ensure that you continue to identify and resolve bugs.
A thoughtful way to determine what’s working right and what may need improvement is to integrate application monitoring:
- Use a good log management software to monitor your app’s health and performance within its intended environment.
- Configure the program to log critical reports and notify your DevOps in case of rising issues.
Keep in mind that this quick deployment checklist can help you organize your software release process in a way that will help you transition from one version to another hassle-free.
Build your Application Deployment Checklist Template
With Expert Help From Simpat Tech
However, different applications warrant unique application deployments. Tweak this software release checklist as needed to achieve your specific app deployment goals, or reach out to Simpat Tech for more personalized guidance.