September 9, 2011

Automation with Rational

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The complexity of IT systems today with all the infrastructure components and devices, applications and configurations that make up a working system have been putting even more pressure to deliver software more efficiently and consistently.  Hence optimization on the way software is built and delivered across the many development, test and eventually production environments, has become a concern for teams that manage the software release delivery and configuration across the many environments.

Whilst Continuous Integration has addressed the concerns of rebuilding software and deploying software to development environments there is still a gap on how software packages and configurations and managed and promoted between environments.

A solution that Odecee put forward to a tier 1 customer was the integration of Odecee’s Build Pipeline solution that defines quality processes from the point that software is built all the way through to software delivery and rollout to target environments – we called this solution the Enterprise Build Pipeline. This solution required a base set of tools to support the Odecee Build Pipeline processes and controls.  This is when we partnered up with Rational to integrate into our solution the Use of Rational Team Concert, Rational Asset Manager and Rational Build Forge with a view to improve interoperability of the tools leading to a tightly integrated tooling implementation.  This solution gretaly improved the tracability of configuration and software assets.

I will explain how each of the Rational tools were implemented in the enterprise wide configuration management solution:

Development teams use Rational Team concert for version control of their source code and, through the process template configuration, are able to utilise best practices in source code baselining and leverage RTC’s CALM features.

At the heart of our Enterprise Build Pipeline solution, Odecee has developed a custom Rational Asset Manager schema that is used to control and manage software deployment assets. This facilitates the capturing of key metadata associated with software assets and defines the process of how software deployment components are related.  One key design element and component of the Enterprise Build Pipeline solution was the implementation of a dependency management capability in RAM.  Rational Asset Manager does not have the capabilities to track dependencies as they are retrieved (or queried) as related to software assets.

The integration between Rational Team Concert and Rational Asset Manager has been automated through Build Forge via and automated build process that retrieves source then compiles and creates the software package for deployment which is automatically published into Rational Asset Manager via this automated process and provides full traceability back to the source from which it was constructed.

Build Forge is also used for the automated deployment process that extracts the Software packages and dependencies from Rational Asset Manager through the RAM API that has been extended to conform with Odecee’s RAM Schema, making the integration seamless. This automated deployment process deploys and configures the software packages to the all target deployment environment using the same deployment process and same environment agnostic software package.

This solution, integrated with the Rational tools will give you control of your environments and your software delivery cycle, reducing time it takes to deploy and configure software, as well as promoting consistency across environments and hence reduce risk.

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This post was written by Tony Altamura