Progressive delivery (blue-green, rolling updates, canaries, etc.) is a set of deployment practices that aim at rolling out new features gradually.
Deployment strategies affect everyone, no matter whether we are focused only on a single aspect of the application lifecycle or we are in full control. The way we deploy affects the architecture, testing, monitoring, and many other aspects. And not only that, but we can say that architecture, testing, and monitoring affect the way we deploy. All those things are closely related and affect each other.
We’ll discuss different deployment strategies and answer a couple of questions. Is your application stateful or stateless? Does its architecture permit scaling? How do you roll back? How do you scale up and down? Do you need your application to run always? Should you use Kubernetes Deployments instead of, let’s say, StatefulSets? Answers to those questions will not serve much unless we are familiar with some of the most commonly used deployment strategies. Not only that knowledge will help us choose which one to pick, but they might even influence the architecture of our applications.
This time I will not write a lenghtly post. Instead, I’ll try to explain different deployment strategies through diagrams. This is for all those who dislike black and white terminal and prefer colors, boxes, and lines with arrows.
The deployment strategies are not presented in any particular order.
I am continuously getting questions about blue-green releases inside a Docker Swarm cluster. Viktor, in your The DevOps 2.0 Toolkit book you told us to use blue-green deployment. How do we do it with services running inside a Swarm cluster? My answer is usually something along the following lines. With the old Swarm, blue-green releases were easier than rolling updates (neither were supported out of the box). Now we got rolling updates. Use them! The reaction to that is often that we still want blue-green releases.
This post is my brainstorming on this subject. I did not write it as a result of some deep thinking. There is no great wisdom in it. I just wrote what was passing through my mind while I was trying to answer another one of the emails containing blue-green deployment questions. What follows might not make much sense. Don’t be harsh on me.