In a previous blog, I compared deployment automation to build automation. I wrote about the differences between the build and the deployment process and I explained why different features are required from the respective automation tools. In this blog I will explain the difference between release management and deployment and why release management tools that claim they do deployment automation are actually doing something different. And why that is a good thing.
Let's start by defining release management. While Wikipedia might define release management as a relatively new discipline in the application lifecycle management space, it has actually been a part of ITIL v2 since its release in 2000. It concerns itself with the management of software releases. Courtesy of the ITIL Open Guide, the key activities of release management are: