Friday, September 25, 2009

Best approach to prepare install patch for an enterprise application

I will start with something I have worked on, then people can share their approaches. I worked in InstallShield PackageForWeb (A light weight version of InstallShield) to install patch of an enterprise application over a cluster of windows machines. I believe using an InstallShield product for installing is much easier and controllable then any other language like C#. Regarding the complex install script, I don't think we need to play with the script. Latest InstallShield provides pretty much user-friendly configurable mechanism which automatically generates the install script.

If your enterprise is too complex to be handled by general InstallShield settings and you feel the need to modify the install script but worried to mess it up. You can try this- Launch a separate script written in any Windows Automation Languages (AutoIT or Auto Hotkey) during installation and let that script handle the rest. This approach is pretty useful because these windows automation scripting languages can do anything with windows we can think of, I mean anything. I have successfully tried this approach for over 2 years. Suggestions are welcome .

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Why working for Cisco is so great?

Sometime I wander why am I so satisfied with my job of build and release engineer, it is quite an offbeat career. I think it has very much to do with the fact that I am working on a Cisco project. Everything around me is Cisco, Cisco's network, Cisco's processes, Cisco's people and Cisco's world class working environment. Here I am listing down some of the points in this reference.

VPN is wonderful- It feels so satisfying reading your mails on your office laptop using VPN even if you are on vacations siting 2500 KM from office. It gives me the feeling that I am not missing any update.
Responsible reporting- Weekly Update meetings with Cisco managers give feeling of responsibility. Apart from cultivating professional attitude, it feels good while interacting with so important and influential people around the globe.
Cisco's resources- Knowledge-rich resources enables you to work with more confidence. Ranging from online technical resources to industry updates mailer, everything is so perfect that it feels working in a truly world class organizations.
Wonderful people- Fortunately I have some of the best skilled engineers and most professional managers to work with. Learning from an old-timer expert and reporting to such great managers equips me with professional aptitude.
World class infrastructure of Infosys- It adds moon to the night when I hit the beautiful pool side gym in the evening after hard day's work. I feel proud walking in the rain sometimes on wide beautiful roads laid in the green campus of Infosys.

All these things coupled with other numerous untold facts add enthusiasm to life and my work here in Infosys for Cisco.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Release Management: Central Function or Dispersed?

Mr. Andrew, Build and Release Manager at Marks and Spencer asked a question about the release management on my LinkedIn professional group. I think this is the question on the mind of many release managers. Following is his question and my subsequent answer. There were some other beautifully crafted answers to the question but here I am presenting only my answer.

Andrew's Question: Hi, I'm trying to understand what is the best practice for Release Management in a very large organization. Currently I have a central team of about 25 Release Managers that manage releases throughout the entire lifecycle (into System Test, System Integration Test, User Acceptance Test, Operational Acceptance Test and Production).

However, I'm not sure if this is the best model for the business. My development colleagues have suggested that releases into System Test (not int. test) may be better controlled via the Development Teams, thus increasing release turn-a-round (less red tape!), although this brings concerns of control, environment access, etc, etc, into my mind.

I'd like to canvass ideas and thoughts around this please. Many thanks in advance of your support, Andrew

My Answer: There is no single model that fits for all but I don't think releases into system test can be controlled via development team in an efficient way. In fact such a move can divert the development team from their core function along.

Assuming release manager as a single point of contact in your organization, transferring such work to development team could bring a situation of uncertainty amongst people requiring a release. Depending on the size of organization, there will be a number of people looking for the right point of contact for their release requirement/advice along with the nightmare of tracing the culprit if anything goes wrong.