Our case studies are our chance to show off BuildMaster from all sides. At University Hospitals Andrew Laytin, Team Lead of Infrastructure Applications Development and SQL DBA, was introduced to BuildMaster on his first day on the job. Sitting down with him gives us a unique look at how a new team member takes to a work environment where BuildMaster is already in place.
What were your first impressions of BuildMaster:
To be honest, there was a little bit of a learning curve, but I was not surprised by that either. It’s to be expected that if you’re trying to solve complex challenges or work with complex applications, there’s going to learning curve in doing so.
“I have used the support and it’s remarkable.”
At the same time, BuildMaster is fairly intuitive. I’ve done a lot of work on build automation using Cruise Control and Nant, so I was pretty familiar with the concepts behind it.
Absolutely. We prefer being up-front and honest. BuildMaster is designed to make difficult things possible, and possible things simple, so it sort of has to be a complex tool. How is your team using BuildMaster?
We support a lot of small to medium sized applications here at UH. For new applications we create a new deployment plan, a new build, or new application plan in BuildMaster and then we exclusively do our deployments through it.
Anything we can put in BuildMaster, we do, including our integration servers. For our Integration Build, we get the latest from Team Foundation Services, build, run a couple of command line scripts for our
“The fact that I can just click and chat with someone a knowledgeable technician is wonderful.”Silverlight applications, create the deployment artifact, stop the application pool, deploy the artifact, and finally start the application pools. Then for the subsequent deployments to our test, staging, and production servers we just stop the application pool, deploy the artifact that was already created, and start the application pool.
Are people expanding their use of it?
We recently adopted a rule that we cannot deploy to any server without using BuildMaster, so absolutely its sphere of influence has grown.
Not being part of the evaluation process done a few years back, what do you think about the tool?
Were there any specific features about BuildMaster that lead to your adopting it? How has your team used BuildMaster?
“We recently adopted a rule that we cannot deploy to any server without using BuildMaster, so absolutely its sphere of influence has grown.”
For something I had not heard of, and I’ve been working on build automation for years, I have been impressed with the maturity of the product and the live help. I have used the support and it’s remarkable. The fact that I can just click and chat with someone a knowledgeable technician is wonderful. It has really helped us work through a lot of issues. The support team is definitely focused on our success.
Do you have any advice for anyone considering BuildMaster?
If you are having challenges with the learning curve, stick with it. Once you are able to build your deployment plans with BuildMaster, the ROI is absolutely there.
From a technical stand-point, with BuildMaster you can deploy consistently throughout your environment as well as reuse deployments from your different environments. This means that if you have the traditional progression of integration, to test, to production, or even just test to production, you can easily copy deployment plans from one environment to another and deploy with real consistency.
“The “point and click” option BuildMaster offers is the way to go.”
That said, no matter how long it takes you to get up to speed on BuildMaster, you are going immediately start enjoying an ROI because there will be so few deployment issues moving forward.
Would you recommend BuildMaster to others?
Yes, I would absolutely recommend BuildMaster. Having frequently used Cruise Control, NAnt, and MS Build in the past, the “point and click” option BuildMaster offers is the way to go. This method of deploying software is so much easier.