How Dassault Aviation Jet-propelled Deployments and Boosted Developer Satisfaction

It’s extremely rewarding when you meet hard-won goals, but even better when success comes with some surprising extra benefits. That’s what happened with Dassault Aviation, a leading aerospace company with a presence in over 90 countries across five continents. Dassault Aviation not only dramatically increased the efficiency of their software delivery process, but also experienced a remarkable boost in developer satisfaction. 

The Imperative: Get Releases and Resources Under Control

In 2015, Dassault’s IT team in charge of application release management was tasked with finding ways to reduce the cost of deploying business and IT applications used by their engineering teams to conceive, manufacture, and support the company’s high-end military planes and commercial jets.

At the time, Dassault was endeavoring to build an “Automated Software Factory” for producing code. The Factory became the company standard for all Dev teams, and supported a Continuous Integration process. However, it did not extend to deployments. After handoff from the Dev teams, IT Operations needed to manually deploy applications, which meant that deployments needed to be planned three weeks in advance. 

The challenge was to set up a fully automated process for developing and deploying code. The solution would need to reduce the cost of deployment and improve the deployment process. Bringing together the Automated Software Factory and a deployment solution was key to enabling Dassault’s digital transformation and reducing IT costs, despite the growth in the company’s IT resources. 

XL Deploy Sheds a Light on Deployment “Black Box”

The Dassault team began researching popular tools for continuous configuration and automation (CCA). These tools were excellent for the automation of deployment tasks, but they did not fit Dassault Aviation’s needs. With the help of the XebiaLabs Periodic Table of DevOps Tools, the team discovered Application Release Automation (ARA) tools, including XL Deploy, which was chosen after a comparative study.

XL Deploy provides a one-of-a-kind deployment model that not only automates the configuration and deployment of application components, but makes it easy to see deployment status across applications and environments and track which version of a component is running where. According to Pascal Foucher, DevOps Leader in Charge of IT Teams: “XL Deploy offers a clean view of each step in a set of deployment instructions, and this was clearly an asset that convinced us to choose this tool.” 

Dassault Aviation began using XL Deploy in 2017, with excellent results:

  • Approximately 50% of application deployments automated using XL Deploy
  • Time to deploy to Production decreased from weeks to hours
  • Deployments happen more frequently 
  • Standardized deployment processes between Development and Operations
  • Autonomous developers, high level of satisfaction

“From the beginning, XebiaLabs experts impressed us with their high level of competency about the whole deployment process, and it was a real added value knowing that we could depend on their support.” 

Pascal Foucher, DevOps Leader in Charge of IT Teams


XL Deploy Sets the Standards for Development and Operations

The enthusiastic adoption of XL Deploy by technical teams—both Development and Operations—is yet another reason Pascal would recommend it to others. XL Deploy provides a structure for defining the standards between Development and Operations for the delivery of application components. It also enables a common language and definitions between teams, and everyone can see what the necessary pieces are and know what to agree on. According to Pascal, everyone from Development and Operations alike sees the benefits of XL Deploy and chooses to use it. 

“I’ve done this job for 20 years. About a year ago, I had a meeting with a group of developers, and it was the first time I heard a developer say that they were happy with our deployment process and with tools supporting this process. They love it, and say that all our developers should be using it.” 

Pascal Foucher

Check out the full case study.

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