The Blue/Green Deployment Approach: Unlock Innovation while Reducing Risk

An image split into blue and green zones.

All too often, digital innovations sit at the gates of complex digital infrastructures that are incapable of moving at the speed of culture. This is understandable. Platforms, including e-commerce, are inherently complex and require extensive engineering to support new features. Unlocking innovation doesn't have to require an expensive platform rebuild or unreasonable deployment risk. Introducing a Blue/Green deployment approach opens up the gates to rapidly deploy prototypes and new functionality within the constraints of the current infrastructure.

What is a “Blue/Green" Deployment Approach?

It is a software release strategy designed to minimize downtime, reduce risk, and enhance software deployment speed by maintaining two separate environments, referred to as "blue" and "green."

How does it work?

Blue Environment (Production): The "blue" environment represents the current production system that is serving end-users or customers. This environment is considered stable and reliable, and it hosts the current version of the application.

Green Environment (New Version): The "green" environment is a duplicate of the production environment but hosts the new version of the application that you want to deploy. This new version may contain bug fixes, new features, or other reductions to UX and tech debt.

The deployment process in a blue/green approach typically follows these steps:

  1. Testing in the Green Environment: Before deploying the new version to production, testing is performed in the green environment. The goal is to ensure that the new version is stable and performs as expected.
  2. Verification: After traffic has been switched, the team monitors the green environment to verify that it's operating correctly. If any problems are detected, it's easy to roll back to the blue environment, which is still intact.
  3. Rollback (if necessary): If issues are discovered in the green environment, the deployment team can quickly and safely switch traffic back to the blue environment, effectively rolling back the deployment to the previous, known-good version.

Move Fast. Make Things.

Staying ahead of tomorrow's consumers means that platforms and digital experiences keep up with the pace of change. Using the “blue/green" approach, updates that typically take weeks or months, can now be pushed in a matter of days. This creates opportunities for new and innovative brand moments and recurring innovation.

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