Esper’s DevOps for devices platform revolves around app deployment. That’s why Pipelines on the Esper platform exist — so you can push app updates to any number of devices in stages, allowing you to observe and debug if problems arise before making that update available to all devices. 

For example, you can push an app update to a small group of targeted devices to test for potential failure. Once that test is successful, the next stage can be automatically executed on a larger group. Rinse and repeat until the entire fleet has the update.

The advantages of using CI/CD pipelines for app deployment

There are several reasons to utilize CI/CD pipelines for staged rollouts — stability and security notwithstanding. If you’re curious about what pipelines can do for you, here’s a quick look at some of the biggest benefits of staged app deployment: 

  • Version control: Let’s say you have a fleet of 1,000 devices. You want to roll out a new version of your app to half of the devices in your fleet, while keeping the other half on the previous version. With pipelines and grouping, you can easily control which apps are installed on which device, but the version of that app. This makes room for long-term testing or ensuring older devices are always running the version of the app that works best on them. 
  • Automated deployment: Pushing app or system updates to a thousand devices at once is never a good idea. But it’s incredibly time consuming to test the update on a handful, then a hundred, then three hundred, etc. Using pipelines, you can test an update in groups and automatically continue to roll it out to more devices only if the proper success conditions are met. With up to five available stages through the console (and as many as you want using APIs via our Esper CLI), you’ve never had more control over your fleet.
  • Comprehensive deployment status monitoring: When using pipelines, you’re never left in the dark on what’s happening with your update. You can get a clear picture and detailed report of where any deployment is at any given time — you’ll be able to advance successful deployments and promote them, identify failures quickly, and even terminate the deployment if you need to. 

That’s far from an inclusive list of the benefits of using pipelines on Esper, but it includes some of the biggest benefits. 

How to use pipelines on Esper

If you’re new to Pipelines, there’s never been a better time to try. We have the whole process outlined below, but if you prefer video, we have that too: 

New to Esper? You can follow along with us right now by signing up for Esper for free.

How to create a new pipeline

To set up a new pipeline, click the +Create Pipeline button in the top right of your Esper endpoint console. 

To change the name of your pipeline, click the Edit Properties button, then add the name and description. Click the Update button to save your changes. 

Below the pipeline layout, you’ll see the options for adding an operation and target. Select your application and build on the Operations tab, then click over to the Targets tab to define the devices or groups you want to apply the updated app to. You can switch between devices and groups using the dropdown menu. 

Once everything is set up, you have a couple of choices: either run the pipeline right then, or add a second stage. If you’re adding a second stage, click the plus symbol, name the stage, and define the operations and target. Do the same if you need a third stage (creating more than three stages is possible with our Esper Cloud API). 

Once you’re ready to roll, click the Run Pipeline button. 

As the pipeline runs, you’ll see a large processing chart with the progress and a list of previous runs below that.  

Once a stage is successfully completed, and you’re comfortable with the results, click the Promote button to move to the next stage. 

Taking Esper Agent updates to the next level with Pipelines

You can also test new versions of the Esper Agent before rolling them out to your entire fleet using pipelines. 

To give it a try, click Esper Software Updates on the sidebar. You’ll see a list of the latest versions of the Agent and a Test in Pipeline button.  

Clicking that button will fire up the pipeline wizard. Give your pipeline a name, then click next to define which devices to push the update to. Finally, click Continue > Run to push the update to the selected devices. 

If you’re interested in learning more, have questions (check out our Help Center), or just want to chat about how Esper can help your device fleet, drop us a line