How much VSTS release management for your next Dynamics 365 Operations project?

In a classical ERP project, there is a list of known bottlenecks that organizations have used to, to the extent that it feels unusual when challenged.

Release management and automated deployment is one of these areas, as usually there is an IT team whose responsible to manually govern and deploy releases.

It’s all manual. Release notes generation is Manual. Release governance and authorization is Manual. Release deployment is… You guessed it, Manual.

Even if you have few automated deployment steps, it’s still a manual process that orchestrates the bigger picture.

In Dynamics AX 2012 for example, there are common deployment steps mostly done manually due to complexity of automating. Things like: Stop AOSes, Deploy Modelstore, Start AOS, Generate full CIL, Synchronize, Start the Environment etc…

Good news now with D365 Operations, the actual deployments are either fully scripted (Runbooks) or fully automated (LCS Deployment), as it depends on which environment tier we’re talking about.

However, everything else still needs a tool.

Team services release management

Here is what an ideal release management looks like from VSTS perspective

Automate deployments

Design and automate release pipelines across your environments to any target platform

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Ship with confidence

Configure tasks for all of your release check points – performance, A/B, functional, security, beta testing and more.

view-test-results-01grey-1

Get control of your deployments

Enable sign-off for deployments using pre or post deployment approvals.

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End-to-end traceability

Track the status of releases and deployments including commits and work items in each environment.

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Reference

As much as I’m excited to try this out, I have to admit it’s still new and makes you think of how much is possible in Dynamics 365 Operations without over-engineering it. As everything comes with cost, even utilizing automation and cool tools.

My main scenario is:

As a build manager, I want to authorize and deploy D365O releases by a single click, and receive progress notifications.

After trying out few scenarios I will write follow-up post(s), as I have the following questions in mind:

  • How to automate Tier1-Environment release deployment (VSTS Release + Runbooks).
  • How to automate Tier2-Environment release deployment (Initial thoughts through LCS Integration)
  • How to automate / integrate with Production release (Either through LCS Release request, or update VSTS manually once a release has gone into Production)

Of course, most obvious points will be showcased, once the actual release deployment step is accomplished.

My target is to answer simple questions easier than it currently is. Things like:

  • Which release include Feature X?
  • How many testing iterations it took to pass Release Y?
  • What bugs have we found in Release Z?

Maybe you started some work already in this area, or have other scenarios in mind. Why don’t you add to this and share your feedback in your comments.

Have a good Sunday!

 

One thought on “How much VSTS release management for your next Dynamics 365 Operations project?

  1. Hi Mo, cool blog, I hope there will be more posts in future! What is your current approach for answering those “simple questions” (like “wich release include feature X”)? We use D365 and VSTS but are still at the beginning.

    Like

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