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The top 3 signs you need on-demand environments

3 signs that on-demand environments will streamline your work and create engineering efficiency

David Thor Mar 2

If you build software, then you know that one of the most critical parts of the process is also one of the most challenging: testing.

In order to preview your application, you have to build an environment that reflects the conditions in which your code will run. So, by extension, you’re expected to be an expert on the secondary and tertiary systems that support the app. That includes everything from CI/CD pipelines and infrastructure-as-code to knowing which cloud providers and services to use and understanding how to integrate with the pipelines of other developers.

That’s not your job—nor should it be. You do your best work when you can focus on the actual product. Instead of managing the complicated underlying frameworks necessary for your launch tests and previews, it makes a lot more sense to have a solution that understands them for you.

That’s what Architect provides. You don’t need to keep track of cloud providers, CI/CD automation, infrastructure-as-code, or your peers’ pipelines because you plug all this information into the Architect tool and it knows how to produce the environments you need, exactly as you need them. So when is it time for your team to adopt this type of solution? Here are three signs that it will be worth your while.

Sign 1: Your stakeholders shouldn’t have to run code

For a collaboration to work, everyone should bring something different to the table—and that’s especially true for startups, early-stage companies, and small businesses. But that also means that you may be one of the only people who know how to comprehensively run your code.

No matter how large or small your team is, it’s very possible that the other engineers won’t be familiar with the particular infrastructure, operations, and workflows you’ve chosen to use, while project managers may lack your technical understanding.

In this case, your entire team benefits from a solution that simplifies preview environments and review apps. Allowing your colleagues to see and touch changes to your code without having to run the code themselves can drastically accelerate the review process and quickly facilitate buy-in from stakeholders across your company.

Sign 2: You’re no longer building apps independently

For an indie developer building an app for the first time, with just a monolith and a database, review apps and preview environments traditionally don’t pose a big problem. They can be provisioned manually on a small scale with the developer as the single source of truth for the domain knowledge.

That all changes once the scale expands and there’s growing demand for the product or service you’re providing. At that point, there’s a good chance there are multiple team members working on product design and engineering, and the software is more than a monolith. This is often the experience of companies that have entered series A or series B funding.

As companies continue to grow, the complexity of their software grows too, and this challenge will persist indefinitely. That’s why it’s great to have a solution that consolidates information and automates the creation of environments. You know how to run your cog in the machine; the system knows how to run all the others.

Sign 3: You need to add new APIs and microservices

If you’re looking to add microservices and APIs to your software, you would also benefit from investing in automated test and preview environments. This is related to the expansion of scale, since companies often reach a point where their architecture changes constantly, with many teams and many domains contributing multiple APIs and microservices.

But once you start down this path, complexity can quickly become your biggest pain point. You may find yourself looking for answers before you can move forward with your work:

  • Who owns or hosts the infrastructure you need to use?
  • Will you be making Kubernetes resources, and do you know how to deploy an app to Kubernetes?
  • Do you need API gateways—and if so, do you know how to configure them? 
  • How can you connect your API back to a web application?

These are the kinds of questions that prevent you from focusing on your objective. They strand you in a labyrinth of ops, infrastructure, and pipeline processes. In turn, this can lead to mistakes or to sacrifices in design and functionality—which will only complicate your work and compromise the security of your application in the long run.

It makes more sense to have a solution that integrates your code with infrastructure, APIs, and microservices so that you don’t have to.

Streamline your work with on-demand environments

With a solution like Architect, all you have to do is tell the system about your application. Then, it can synthesize the rest to produce the preview and test environments you need. It knows what infrastructure you’re deploying to and how to codify it, and it knows how to automate the event triggers you need so that you have a ready-made environment every time you make a pull request, cut a release, or merge your branch into the main trunk. We call these on-demand environments.

Ultimately, Architect uses the information you already know about your application to automate all the elements you don’t know—and shouldn’t have to know. Engineers and developers have everything they need to contribute, deploy, preview, and test code, so that greater developer velocity goes hand-in-hand with a better developer experience.

Ready to get started? Download our whitepaper to learn more about why organizations choose to purchase a continuous deployment solution, sign up for Architect and take us for a spin, or reach out to sales for a demo!