How DeployBot saved Cory’s weekend

A few weeks ago I was going through my Monday morning routine when I saw a couple of tweets @DeployBotHQ from Cory LaViska:

After seeing his reaction to Atomic Deployments, I connected with Cory to learn more about the project he was working on and find out more about how DeployBot helped save him time.

Shane: Hi Cory! Can you tell me about the Surreal CMS?

Cory: We started Surreal CMS as a service about seven years ago. It’s a hosted content service, meaning that people don't install anything. They just connect to their web servers directly using FTP or SFTP. People rely on us to make sure the service is available, so we really need a simple way to rollback changes if there's a hiccup in the service after we push out an update.

S: Wow, congrats on the success of Surreal CMS! You’ve been working on it for seven years, it would be great to hear about your deployment workflow both before and after you switched to DeployBot.

C: Before we started using, back in 2014 before you relaunched as DeployBot, our deployment process was really manual. Even with version control, it was easy to get in the habit of moving files to production manually. Like a lot of other developers, I used SFTP to copy folders over. When we started using last year, we were using the regular SFTP deployments. We loved it because it gave us a deployment process that was much easier to use and monitor.

S: Got it, so DeployBot helped automate and streamline your manual FTP deployment process. You mentioned in one of your tweets that you were moving your application over to DigitalOcean. Do you mind sharing a bit about why you’re making this move, and how DeployBot fit into the migration process?

C: Recently we had a problem with our host blocking IPs, so we decided to switch over to DigitalOcean. When I was setting up the new servers in DeployBot I saw you had an Atomic Deployment integration with DigitalOcean. After reading a bit about how Atomic Deployments work on DeployBot, I was able to get everything setup and ready to deploy in about 5 minutes. The entire process was automated instead of taking the two days I had planned to migrate our service. It was ridiculously simple.

You can run whatever commands you want. You can upload static files keeping sensitive information out of your repos. It takes the entire process of zero-downtime deployments and distills it down into a 5-10 minute setup, and then you are up and running. You don't have to ask yourself, “Did I copy this folder?” or “Did I overwrite that file?”

You literally saved my weekend.

S: In our email conversation, you briefly touched on how DeployBot’s integration with DigitalOcean saved you configuration time with your servers. Can you tell give me a bit more insight into your thoughts there?

C: I’ve experimented with a bunch of other hosting services, like AWS and similar VPS providers. To be honest, servers aren’t my niche. I know what I'm doing, but I don’t want to spend a bunch of time configuring things like SFTP. The great thing about DeployBot is that everything just works out of the box, so I wasn't sitting there asking myself “Do I need to configure SFTP?” It was great, because everything was tightened down and I didn't have to install a bunch of additional services. Those services leave me worried about all the security and other headaches they can cause on a server. DeployBot makes it easy to see all the commands in the logs and see what files have been uploaded or swapped around. It’s really brilliant the way it does everything automatically for you. No extra software needed.

S: Cory, I want to thank you for taking the time to share your experience with me and the rest of the DeployBot community. Before we go, do you want to add anything?

C: Happy to share anytime! I just want to say my love for DeployBot tripled the weekend I moved Surreal to DigitalOcean. It's like I found a brand new toy.

There you have it. I’d like to thank Cory once more for taking a bit of time to sit down and chat with me last week. If you have any questions for Cory or the DeployBot team, drop them in the comments or hit us up on Twitter with the hashtag #DBQandA.