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A DevOps Transformation for CLM Maintenance – Part 1

With the release of CLM 5.0, CLM has started a brand new approach to deliver maintenance to customers via regular, light weight, and cumulative iFix.

CLM 5.0 iFix addresses a couple major pain points with maintenance for CLM customers:

  • high cost of adoption of full maintenance releases,
  • manual and error prone installation of test fixes,
  • hard to track and manage fixes running on the system,
  • hard to rollback, and
  • prone to regressions when upgrade to a newer CLM continuous delivery release.

In addition, the CLM Level 3 (L3) development team has under gone a series of DevOps transformations to bring this new high quality, frequent, easy to adopt iFix to the customers. As a result, the development cost for implementing, testing, and delivering APAR fixes has been dramatically reduced:

  • from minimal 2 or 4 months for full maintenance release cycles, down to maximum 4 weeks. And this is only a start.
  • Acceptance test has been reduced from about 2 weeks to daily by the test automation pipelines.
  • PSIRT security fixes were reduced from 2 or 4 months via full maintenance releases, down to within 4 weeks.
  • RelEng team is supporting iFix streams with about 1/3 of the cost of supporting streams to produce full releases.

This blog focuses on highlighting the transformations for both the support and development.  A future blog will discuss benefits that customers will see from this new maintenance of CLM continuous delivery.

Continuous Collaboration and Feedback with Support

The support organization plays a vital role in the maintenance of any software solution. Transparency of the iFix review process as well as up to date plans and status are very important to the support organization. CLM L3 has implemented several changes to provide such transparency:

  1. New maintenance item to track all expected APAR deliveries. Governance, tracking and collaboration is now available at finger tips.
  2. Plan Items are used for current and future iFix plans.
  3. Internal dashboard for up-to-date status and estimations.
  4. FixPortal is the one stop shop for the most current iFixes.  Anyone from support can search, download, and communicate to customers with all the high quality cumulative iFixes available.
  5. Each iFix comes with readme.txt that:
    • clearly lists all APAR fixes included in the iFix; with APAR IDs, description of the defect, and link to the Maintenance Item that implemented the fix.
    • target GA release the iFix is valid for
    • accurate future GA release for upgrade from the iFix to guarantee no regressions.

Transformations Inside Development

  1. Continuous deployment – new easy patch deployment solution made continuous adoption of maintenance possible. Jazz Server has included a new capability in 5.0 called patch service. Patch service is able to detect one single, small patch file and re-provision the entire server with the patch at server startup time. For L3 development, the availability of patch service dramatically reduced the cost of adopting new patch files, thus made constant verification and testing possible.
  2. Continuous patch file generation
    Continuous testing and delivery of iFix will not be possible without the right content – a constantly available  CLM patch file.  In order to provide this, CLM L3 development implemented a new automation task as part of the build process. As a result, a patch file that contains all fixes delivered to the maintenance stream since GA is continuously produced from each nightly build.
  3. User documentation automation
    No more manual authoring of readme.txt for each iFix. Automation was introduced to generate readme.txt file out of each nightly build. Accurate, continuous, and a huge saver of man hours.
  4. Continuous testing
    The low cost of deployment and continuous patch file availability make it possible to leverage all of the automated tests from the automation pipeline with very few modifications. Adoption of automation pipeline for CLM maintenance dramatically reduced the high cost of manual testing from 2-4 weeks down to one week, increased ROI from continuous testing, and provides the ability to inherit further test automation improvements.
  5. Continuous shared test server update
    Even for manual testing, new automation was created to continuously update the shared test server after each nightly build. New test automation on patch file content validation was also added as part of this pipeline.
  6. PSIRT security fix – cheaper, quicker, better
    PSIRT security fix delivery changed to a much lower cost model via self-serve JRE update plus iFix if needed, instead of delivering through full maintenance releases. Test automation was leveraged again for PSIRT security fix against maintenance as well.

Also, CLM 5.0.0 iFix001 is available through support at the time of publishing of this blog.

Next, in part 2 of this blog series, I share why the new CLM iFix maintenance approach is the right one for customers.

Your comments and participation will be greatly appreciated and considered. So please don’t hesitate to drop a line or two with your stories and experiences to make this interactive!

Bianca Jiang
CLM Maintenance Lead, DevOps initiatives