The future of software development is continuous. We know this. But how do you implement methodologies like continuous integration and continuous delivery with legacy systems? These systems, which are integral to business operations and revenue channels, have taken years of effort and significant investment to build and customize.
At the same time, legacy systems shouldn’t stop enterprise IT from introducing continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery (CD) processes. Legacy systems such as Oracle E-Business Suite can see tremendous benefits from CI/CD processes, and IT teams can typically implement both methodologies with less disruption than they may think.
This blog will outline the steps to take to implement continuous integration and continuous delivery with legacy systems.
The Value of “Continuous”
As its name suggests, continuous integration is a process that continuously integrates code into a source control management system. Each integration is followed by an automated build, allowing teams to test their code, changes, and customizations, identifying problems early.
CI is a key component of continuous delivery, which pushes small batches of code through each stage of the development process, delivering enhancements and fixes to market faster.
Leveraging both CI and CD will enable enterprise IT to automate the build, deploy, and release processes of the software delivery lifecycle across a set of environments. This speeds up software delivery and reduces errors, ensuring that end users get higher quality enhancements in less time.
The Challenge of “Continuous” in Legacy Systems
Traditionally, legacy or monolithic applications such as EBS, and many other ERPs, followed traditional waterfall methodologies supported by siloed teams, with longer release cycles and less frequent integration of code. For EBS specifically, most customers make many customizations and modifications, only adding to the challenge of managing the system. These dynamics will stand in your way to moving to more agile and continuous development and delivery processes. (See figure below)
Despite the challenges, CI and CD are both possible on legacy systems like Oracle EBS. In fact, implementing CI and CD with EBS can be incredibly beneficial to your business, combining the advantages you already get from a specialized system with the benefits of modern methodologies.
Here are three steps that will help you begin implementing CI and CD on your system.
1. Assess Your Processes
As a first step, assess the processes you’re using now, as well as what your team is familiar with from any past processes. As you do, try to identify variations as well as long or manual cycles that may challenge continuous processes. The aim is to determine what changes you need to standardize to accelerate automation. You’ll focus on these changes as you move forward.
“Three common barriers to an effective software delivery lifecycle are the lack of automated and repeatable deployment execution, manual email approvals buried in inboxes, and a lack of visibility into what happened, when, and by whom. A break down in any of these areas leads to an elongated pipeline, frustration, and a negative perception of IT.” – Erick Jones, Principal Architect, Flexagon
2. Evaluate Your Toolchain
It’s likely you will need new tools to support your legacy system’s CI and CD methodology. A source control management system where committed code is integrated is an obvious one. Other DevOps tools that are made specifically to support CI/CD pipelines will provide automation for Oracle EBS as well as build, deploy, and release automation.
Before determining which tools are right for your Oracle EBS system, audit your current tools. This will help identify which tools you already have that can help with CI/CD. If your team is comfortable with these types of tools, make sure any new tools you purchase work well with both Oracle EBS and your larger IT ecosystem.
3. Engage Your Team in the Change
The success of CI/CD depends on your team and their willingness to embrace its principles. This shift isn’t always an easy one to make. Tools can support the change, and setting aside time for training will go a long way.
Make sure your team understands why you’re implementing CI/CD and how it will benefit not only the company, but their jobs as well. For example, automation can relieve developers of time-consuming, manual tasks, as well as reduce errors. Both can improve working conditions and job satisfaction in your team, which will go a long way toward winning support for CI/CD.
“Moving from a traditional waterfall model to a continuous model is a paradigm shift which requires effective change management. It is essential to involve key stakeholders in the solution design, to ensure they are advocates for change rather than barriers to it.” – Erick Jones, Principal Architect, Flexagon
CI Benefits Legacy Systems as Much as Modern Software
Even with legacy systems, you can begin to make the transition to CI and CD. These steps will prepare your team to make the move to “continuous” while maximizing your organization’s investment in a legacy Oracle EBS system. Once you get there, your business will not only have the benefit of a familiar, customized system, you’ll also enjoy faster, more reliable development cycles.