What Do Continuous Delivery Servers Like Shippable Mean for MSPs?
DevOps vendor Shippable has announced general availability of its enterprise continuous delivery platform, Shippable Server.
What sets it apart from other continuous delivery products?
True end-to-end automation, according to the company.
Continuous delivery is the process of writing, testing, building and deploying software on a fast, rolling basis.
Continuous delivery is the chief aim of most organizations that have embraced the DevOps movement, which promotes small, continuous updates to applications rather than waiting until a large number of updates have been completed before implementing them.
Shippable Server, which became generally available this month, is the enterprise version of Shippable's continuous delivery platform.
Shippable describes its platform as a way to build "assembly lines for DevOps."
Differentiating Continuous Delivery Vendors
Shippable's market is quite crowded.
As DevOps and continuous delivery have become commonplace in the enterprise within recent years, a number of groups have created continuous delivery or release automation solutions similar to Shippable's.
These include both community-developed platforms like Jenkins (which is usually billed as a continuous integration server rather than a full continuous delivery platform) and commercial offerings like Codeship and Wercker.
Asked what makes his company's platform stand out from the competitors, Shippable CEO Avi Cavale said:
CI tools like Jenkins, Codeship and Wercker are developer focused and enable automation for a piece of the end-to-end DevOps workflow. They need to be connected to other tools that handle infrastructure provisioning, security patching and application release management workflows, and be able to exchange information with these tools in order to achieve Continuous Delivery. Today, most organizations either build point-to-point integrations between these various tools or use cultural cooperation like meetings and spreadsheets. Shippable provides a simple way to connect all these tools and create 'Assembly Lines' to ship applications. We’re focused on connecting all workflows across Dev, Test, Ops, SecOps and Release Management to enable Continuous Delivery.
In other words, Cavale believes that Shippable's continuous delivery platform is different because it is designed with the entire organization in mind, rather than just programmers, and because it automates the auxiliary tasks — like infrastructure provisioning and security — that are required to deploy software in production.
Continuous Delivery and MSPs
I suspect other vendors would disagree with Shippable's position, but I don't want to get into a debate about the merits of the various continuous delivery platforms available today.
For MSPs, however, there is an interesting takeaway here.
It's that even though continuous delivery products automate many of the core tasks require to produce software, there remains extra work to do in areas like provisioning or providing security.
Products like Shippable may handle those tasks for users, but if they don't, this is where opportunity lies for MSPs.
MSPs can provide the extra services required for organizations to achieve true continuous delivery.
This is how MSPs remain relevant in the software delivery world as continuous delivery takes over.