Application release automation

Software development process
Core activities
Paradigms and models
Methodologies and frameworks
Supporting disciplines
Standards and BOKs

Application release automation (ARA) refers to the process of packaging and deploying an application or update of an application from development, across various environments, and ultimately to production.[1] ARA solutions must combine the capabilities of deployment automation, environment management and modeling, and release coordination.[2]

Relationship with DevOps

ARA tools help cultivate DevOps best practices by providing a combination of automation, environment modeling and workflow management capabilities. These practices help teams deliver software rapidly, reliably and responsibly. ARA tools achieve a key DevOps goal of implementing continuous delivery with a large quantity of releases quickly. [3]

Relationship with Deployment

ARA is more than just Software deployment automation – it's deploying applications using structured release automation techniques that allow for an increase in visibility for the whole team.[4] It’s the combination of workload automation and release management tools as they relate to release packages and movement through different environment within your DevOps pipeline.[5] ARA tools help you regulate your deployments, how you create and deploy environments and when and how to deploy releases.[6]

ARA Solutions

Gartner published a list of notable ARA tools in the ARA Magic Quadrant report.[7] All ARA solutions must include capabilities in automation, environment modeling, and release coordination. Additionally, the solution must provide this functionality without reliance on other tools. [8]

Solution Released by
Automic Release Automation Automic
BuildMaster Inedo
CA Release Automation CA Technologies
Clarive Clarive
ElectricFlow Electric Cloud
Puppet Enterprise Puppet
RapidDeploy MidVision
Release Engineer OpenMake Software
Release Lifecycle Management BMC Software
Serena Deployment Automation Serena Software
UrbanCode Deploy & UrbanCode Release IBM
XL Deploy & XL Release XebiaLabs
Visual Studio Release Management Microsoft


  1. "Gartner IT Glossary – Application Release Automation (ARA)". Gartner. Retrieved 25 September 2014.
  2. Application Release Automation Market Forecast (Report). Forrester. 2015.
  3. Garner Market Trends: DevOps – Not a Market, but Tool-Centric Philosophy That supports a Continuous Delivery Value Chain (Report). Gartner. 18 February 2015.
  4. Humble, Jez; Farley, David (2011). Continuous Delivery: reliable software releases through build, test, and deployment automation. Pearson Education Inc. p. 255-257. ISBN 978-0-321-60191-9.
  5. Market Overview: Application Release Automation Tools (Report). Forrester. 2015.
  6. Market Guide for Application Release Automation Solutions (Report). Gartner. 20 July 2015.
  7. Fletcher, Colin (1 August 2016). Magic Quadrant for Application Release Automation (Report). Gartner.
  8. Fletcher, Colin (1 August 2016). Critical Capabilities for Application Release Automation Solutions (Report). Gartner.
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