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Automating middleware deployments

When you wrap up increasingly sophisticated components to run in specific environments, the complicated hand-crafted scripting can become a burden. With this in mind, Netherlands-based XebiaLabs has created what it calls ‘deployment automation’ tools aimed at handling Java and related middleware.

Deployit integrates with build frameworks like Maven, continuous integration tools like Hudson and Bamboo, as well as with familiar CMDBs. Many tools like this are associated with Agile development, but successful rapid Agile development methods can break down if middleware deployment becomes a bottleneck, said Andrew Phillips, Vice President of Product Development at XebiaLabs. 

Cost is an issue too. Often these days, high salaried developers end up tasked to do day-to-day deployment for application servers, ESBs, message queues and the like.

“The situation with Continuous Integration tools is that 97% of code gets tested every day,” Phillips said. “But then the stuff sits in a repository somewhere. You need Continuous Deployment too.”

Phillips said XebiaLabs’ Deployit software uses a Unified Deployment model to ensure that deployments across different types of middleware are done consistently.

The software works through a graphical interface. “You take your deployment package and you drag it onto an environment,” he said.

With an ESB or portal that people have developed in a staging environment, the tools can extract and transform the deployment package so it can run in a different environment, according to Phillips. The software is described as ‘agentless’ and includes interfaces for tweaking deployments.

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