Understanding a release-first approach to software supply chain management

Join us at swampUP 2023 in San Jose to learn more!

devops infinity loop

For anyone involved in software development, the “infinity loop” is synonymous with DevOps — and rightfully so. We know that software is rarely in a static state for very long. Continuous updates are required to meet the demands of users and to deliver more value, faster than the competition.

You might be wondering: Out of all the steps in that infinity loop — plan, code, build, test, release, deploy, operate, and monitor — why focus on the release and how does the software supply chain (SSC) come into play? Furthermore, what does it mean to take a release-first approach to managing your software supply chain and software development?

DevOps infinity loop

Explaining the DevOps infinity loop

Every step within the first half of the DevOps infinity loop (Plan > Code > Build > Test) is building up to the release of new software. All of the steps that make up the second half of the infinity loop ( Deploy > Operate > Monitor) are actions you take against the software release. The software release stage sits at the fulcrum of Development and Operations.

The software release contains the value of all your development efforts and is ultimately what your consumers interact with. How you deploy your release is important for ensuring your users can access its value, while the quality of the release is what drives ease for IT operations to deploy, run, and monitor it.

A release-first approach to SSC management

With so much hinging on the software release, it’s imperative to manage the release journey in its entirety. This starts with the code and dependencies and extends to the runtime.

A release-first approach to SSC management means being able to — at any point in time — identify and connect the dots from the leftmost point of software development (e.g. coding and package curation) to the rightmost (e.g. running in production). With a release-first approach, organizations can protect the quality and security of their software and maintain aligned priorities across Development, Operations, and Security teams.

It’s only when you can draw a connecting line from runtime to the origin of the release, can you identify any element that could possibly impact the release running in production. One only has to recall Log4j (the aftermath of which developers and security pros are still dealing with, by the way) to understand why this is so important. But if evoking Log4j still isn’t enough to make you buy in to a release-first approach, here are some other key advantages:

  • Accelerated and Uniform Deliveries: Quicker and reliable release of products or updates.
  • Robust Auditing and Change Tracking: Ensuring thorough oversight and monitoring of modifications.
  • Streamlined Release Automation: Enhancing quality, uniformity, and assurance through automated release procedures.
  • Reinforced Confidence via Reliable Deliveries: Establishing trust and certainty through consistently successful releases.
  • Stress-Free Release Processes: Transforming releases into smooth, anxiety-free operations.
  • Clear visibility into the release process: Identify bottlenecks and where every potential release sits.

Learn more at swampUP 2023

Earlier this year we launched the first set of Release Lifecycle Management features. With swampUP 2023 around the corner, we’re excited to share what else we have in store for organizations to ensure release integrity.

If you’re interested in learning more about adopting a release-first approach to SSC management, I highly encourage you to join us in San Jose on Sept 13th, 2023 where you’ll connect with hundreds of DevOps, Development, and Security Professionals. Register today – space is filling up fast!