Automated Deployment Environment For Multi-parts Project

    Poker-room is a multi player system for playing in different kinds of poker throughout the Internet. Poker-room is third-party software for us and additionally has very complex undocumented architecture with approximately 100 classes and 100 000 strings of source code. So it is a type of "black box" for us. Every new customizing order for poker room software needed 50-60 hours to change, recompile and integrate the multi-parts poker room project with the great risk of failure and unexpected errors. The customizing procedure was also worsened by long and undocumented deployment activity for each project component. All of the aforementioned problems led to great risk of failed customizing and lost money and time.

    The obvious decision for poker-room was architecture description, but our preliminary estimation stated it would take us up to 500 hours. So we decided to organize for all participants' integration environment. Our main goals were to reduce the cost of the integration work for deployment of the multi-parts project on a target customer server. We used Apache Continuum on a Windows server, R2build system and shell programs were developed for automation of the building and deployment stages. All components were adjusted and integrated for one time. We spent 400 hours, but it was a one time cost. After this when we obtain a system, it is not dependent on programmers and system administrators.

    All that is needed from programmers is to commit source code on a subversion server. The system administrator only has to put down the server parameters and then the system will go through all the building and deploying steps by itself while logging all errors and unplanned conditions. Now it takes about 2 hours for integration with the Windows exe servers, 1 hours to deploy the database structure with all stored procedures (on running MS SQL server) and PHP admin panel on Windows platform. Considered deployment automation allowed us to successfully execute many customizing projects for poker room software.

    This approach dramatically reduces many risks and simplifies integration management work under "black box" software as well as allows us to organize daily building for such third-party source code projects.

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