How XebiaLabs brings order and efficiency to DevOps projects

DevOps is a hot topic in security these days, and for good reason: Software security flaws are often only discovered after an attacker has exploited them, which can cause huge losses of both data and revenue. Here's a look at how XebiaLabs helps navigate DevOps deployments and operations.

Organizations that develop and deploy a lot of custom software have learned to deal with issues related to having many programmers touch those products along the way. Programmers have differing skillsets and competencies, people tend to make mistakes, and there is a constant struggle between the developers trying to make the programs work and the security teams who will need to ensure that they are safe once deployed.

The result of all this chaos is that software development is often strung out over months or years, with developers sometimes having to start all over again if a supposedly completed program doesn’t do what it needs to, if it can’t deploy properly into the environment, or if some security flaw is discovered long after the program has been put into production. Further, those security holes are often only discovered after an attacker has exploited them, which can cause huge losses of both data and revenue.

It’s that last area, about security, that probably led Gartner to list DevOps (a combination of the words development and operations) as a hot cybersecurity topic. DevOps has come to mean a lot of different things, describing everything from a movement, technical software or even a cultural shift in how programs are created. In general, it can refer to any effort or practice that emphasizes the role of collaboration and communication between software developers and other IT professionals, such as the system administrators who will be overseeing the operations and security of the programs that developers create.

As such, DevOps is now being embraced by many groups. But saying that you want to start a DevOps program is a little bit like saying that you want to travel around the world. It sounds like a great idea, but the challenge is going to be implementing that vision, planning how to do it efficiently, deciding what modes of transportation to use, working out a schedule and then executing it in the most efficient way possible.

In DevOps, this process is further complicated by the sheer number of tools that developers must use to create programs, each with their own specialty. Any management program would need to perfectly integrate those tools, be it Bamboo, Otto, Chef, Puppet, OpenShift, Fortify, RapidDeploy, CruiseControl, Jenkins, Broccoli, Gulp, Github, New Relic or the hundreds of others that programmers employ for various software creation tasks. And it would have to be able to link into any of the environments and operating systems, both physical and cloud, where the programs will eventually reside.

The XebiaLabs DevOps Platform somehow manages to do all that, within almost any environment, and for just about every platform. The program is divided into two components, XL Release, which provides a management interface for the software creation process, and XL Deploy, which helps to install completed software into the environment. Both parts of the program are available bundled or separately, and are sold based on a yearly subscription model depending on either the number of users for XL Release, or the number of deployments for XL Deploy. Both were examined as part of this review.

Both parts of the XebiaLabs DevOps Platform are generally installed on premises by users. It can work in the cloud, but connectivity issues when checking and testing programs generally leads most users to install XL locally. But it works fine in a cloud deployment, as was tested here.

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