Continuous Deployment

Continuous Deployment (CDep) is a software development discipline where you build software in such a way that every successful change goes through the development pipeline and automatically gets put into production, resulting in many possible production deployments every day. An extension of continuous integration, Continuous Deployment aims to minimize the time between coding and releasing the produced code to a live production environment where the end-user can benefit from it.

Continuous Deployment (CDep) should not be confused with Continuous Delivery (CDel). In a Continuous Deployment environment, every change goes through the development pipeline and automatically gets put into production, resulting in many production deployments every day. CDel is the precursor to Continuous Deployment in that, while you are able to deploy whenever you choose to do so , this process can be manual (e.g., gated automated deployment where human intervention is required for the software to be deployed to a live environment). Therefore, in certain situations where deploying to the live environment would be suboptimal, in a CDel environment you may choose not to deploy.

Similarly, CDep should not be confused with Continuous Integration (CI). CI refers to integrating, building, and testing code within a development environment, although it is not concerned with deployment.

The principal benefits of Continuous Deployment is reduced deployment risk, more products deployed to end users and, hence, shorter feedback loops.

See also:
Continuous Integration
Continuous Delivery

Related links:
Continuous Deployment (Agile Alliance)
Continuous Delivery (Martin Fowler)
Continuous Delivery (Wikipedia)