Software deployment is a central task for IT teams in organizations of all sizes. The entire process of releasing software applications to end users can present a few challenges, as it encompasses a wide range of activities, that go from building and testing software, to packaging and deploying it.
Effective software deployment is critical for ensuring that software applications are delivered securely, reliably, and efficiently. Thus, it falls within the scope of IT Asset Management practices, and therefore asks for careful planning, coordination, and execution. In other words, it requires a strategy to be put in place. Every step must be correctly executed to avoid any future problems, as this task is a key element of a proactive ITAM.
In this article, we will explore what software deployment is, its full scope, and best practices for a successful process. We will also discuss the benefits of automated software deployment, and how InvGate Insight’s automation features can help IT teams streamline and optimize their deployment processes.
What is software deployment?
Software deployment is the process of delivering software applications from development to production environments, making them available to end-users. It must ensure that software is configured, tested, released, and installed in a consistent and controlled manner.
As we mentioned, this process is closely related to ITAM, that tracks and manages IT assets throughout their whole lifecycle. This includes Software Asset Management (SAM), which focuses specifically on optimizing software licenses and reducing their associated costs. So, effective software deployment practices are essential to manage software assets, ensure compliance with software licensing agreements, and reduce related costs.
Software release vs. deployment
Software release and software deployment are often used interchangeably, but they refer to different stages in the software development lifecycle. While the first refers to the process in charge of making a new version of the software available to users, the second implies actually installing and configuring it in a production environment.
Software release can occur without deployment, for example when a software update is delivered, but not yet installed on user devices. Conversely, software deployment cannot occur without a software release, as the software must be let out before it can be deployed.
Why is software deployment important?
Software deployment is essential for ensuring that software applications are delivered and installed correctly and efficiently. Here are some of the key benefits that it can bring you, when done correctly:
- Faster time-to-market - Deploying software quickly helps organizations meet customer demands and stay ahead of competitors.
- Improving quality - Effective deployment ensures that the application is delivered in the desired configuration, with all the required dependencies and system settings. This can help reduce bugs, improve performance, and increase user satisfaction.
- Greater security - It ensures that the software application is protected from security vulnerabilities that could be exploited by attackers.
- Better cost control - By automating the deployment process, organizations can reduce manual errors, save time, and cut costs.
Despite its numerous benefits, it can also pose several challenges, including:
- Compatibility issues - You must ensure the compatibility between different software components and systems.
- Lack of standardization - The deployment can be done in many ways. Create a standardized process for your organization.
- Configuration Management and version control - It is key to have a follow-up on the software version and the configuration on all the devices. Monitoring tools are a great ally for doing it.
- Complex software dependencies - To properly manage them, build a CDMB with all the dependencies structure.
Software deployment examples
Software deployment can be used in a wide variety of applications: either web-based desktop, or mobile. Here are some common examples of where software deployment comes in handy:
- Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Systems - Complex software applications that are used to manage business operations, such as finance, inventory, and customer relationship management.
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Systems - They help organizations manage customer interactions and improve customer satisfaction.
- Mobile Applications -With the rise of smartphones, mobile applications have become an essential tool for businesses to reach their customers.
- Web-Based Applications - Software applications that run on a web browser. Effective deployment is critical to ensure that these applications are accessible and functioning correctly on different browsers and platforms.
Software deployment methods
There are various methods to correctly execute software deployment, each with its own advantages and disadvantages to consider. Here are some of the most common ones:
- Manual deployment - Software applications are deployed manually, usually by a team of IT professionals. This method can be time-consuming and prone to human error.
- Scripted deployment - Scripts are used to automate the deployment process. This can save time and reduce errors, but remember you will need an agent with technical expertise to set up and maintain. This is the chosen method to do software deployment on InvGate Insight.
- Continuous deployment - This is an automated deployment method where software is continuously delivered to production, often with the help of DevOps tools. This can lead to faster deployment times and higher software quality, but requires a significant investment in automation and infrastructure.
- Container-based deployment - Containerization is a popular method where applications are packaged in containers that can be easily deployed across different environments. It can help improve portability and scalability, but remember that it demands some level of container orchestration expertise.
- Blue-Green deployment -This method involves deploying two identical production environments, one "blue" and one "green". One environment serves as the production environment, while the other is for testing new changes. Once testing is complete, the new changes can be quickly swapped to the production environment. This method can help reduce downtime and risk, and it needs some level of automation and orchestration expertise.
- Rollback deployment - It involves rolling back to a previous version of the software in case of issues or errors. This can help reduce downtime and minimize the impact of errors. Make sure to have a robust version control system to apply it.
The software deployment process
The software deployment process involves a series of steps that are necessary to deliver and install software applications correctly and efficiently.
Define the scope of the deployment process, identify the stakeholders involved, and establish a timeline. It is essential to ensure that all the necessary resources, such as hardware and software, are available. You can build a workflow on InvGate Service Desk to ensure all the steps are being followed, and it can automate actions on InvGate Insight to save time and standardize processes.
Here, the software application must be packaged in a format that is suitable for deployment. This may involve creating an installer or packaging the application into a container image.
Before deploying the software, it is important to conduct thorough testing to ensure that the application is functioning correctly and meets the requirements of the end-users. It may involve unit, integration, and user acceptance testing.
The next step is about configuring the software application according to the specific needs of your end-users. This may include setting up the database and configuring user roles, permissions, and system settings. You can easily access the asset data on InvGate Insight, and assign the ownership of the license to the user.
In this step, the software application is deployed to the production environment. This may involve copying files to the server, running scripts, or using a deployment tool. InvGate Insight’s remote desktop integrations provide simple access to the devices where it is going to be deployed.
6. Post-deployment testing
Once the software application is deployed, it is important to conduct post-deployment testing to ensure that the application is functioning correctly in the production environment.
7. Monitoring and maintenance
Finally, it is also essential to monitor the performance of the software application and perform regular maintenance tasks such as updates, patches, and backups. InvGate Insight’s monitoring tools are designed to do this, as they include:
- Software metering - It allows you to measure and manage the use of the software in your IT infrastructure. This is ideal for Software Licence Managing.
- Health rules - They are a set of rules that you can customize to know if the health status of your asset is safe, warning or critical.
- Smart tags - You can create tags with customer rules that will automatically be assigned to the assets that meet them.
- Automated notifications - This allows you to configure notifications whenever something new happens or changes. You can customize its rules and triggers.
5 software deployment best practices
Following software deployment best practices is essential for ensuring that the process is efficient, secure, and successful. Here are some best practices for software deployment:
- Automate the deployment process - Automation can save time, reduce errors, and improve the overall efficiency of the process.
- Use version control - This is critical for managing changes to the software application and ensuring that the correct version is deployed. Use InvGate Insigt’s smart tags to get access to an easy view on every asset's key information, including which specific software version is installed on it. You can also run reports on it for further analysis.
- Conduct thorough testing - This practice is essential for ensuring that the software application is functioning correctly and meets the requirements of the end-users.
- Deploy in phases - Deploying the software application in phases can help reduce risk and ensure successful deployment. Start by deploying to a small group of users and gradually increase the number of users as you gain confidence.
- Monitor the deployment - Once the software application is deployed, monitor its performance to ensure that it is functioning correctly. Install Insight’s Agent on all your devices, so it can report to you in real time.
Automated software deployment
Automated software deployment is the process of using automation tools and technologies to deploy software applications without manual intervention. It involves automating the various steps involved in the process, such as building, testing, packaging, and deploying the software.
This process helps to reduce the time and effort required, minimize errors and inconsistencies, and improve the efficiency and repeatability. It also enables organizations to deploy software applications more frequently, respond to changes and issues more quickly, and improve the overall quality of the software. So, it helps organizations reduce the risk of downtime and ensure that it is secure and compliant with regulatory requirements.
The bottom line
Effective software deployment is the process that ensures that software applications are delivered securely, reliably, and efficiently. This practice seeks to help your team deliver high-quality software that meets the needs of end-users and supports your organization's goals.
It is essential to have a well-defined and documented process that includes all the necessary steps and best practices. Besides, it’s key to lean on the right software to support you through the complete deployment process.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you deploy software?
To deploy software, you must follow a predefined process that includes planning, testing, and deployment. You can use manual or automated methods to deploy software.
How to deploy software remotely?
To deploy software remotely, you can use InvGate Insight’s integrations with remote desktop tools or software deployment tools.
How to deploy software to multiple computers?
To deploy software to multiple computers, you can use software deployment tools that support mass deployment or use remote deployment methods.
What are software deployment tools?
Software deployment tools are software applications that help automate the deployment process. They can help you manage the software deployment lifecycle, automate software updates, and ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.