An empirical study of architecting for continuous delivery and deployment

Mojtaba Shahin, Mansooreh Zahedi, Muhammad Ali Babar, Liming Zhu

Research output: Journal Article or Conference Article in JournalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Recently, many software organizations have been adopting Continuous Delivery and Continuous Deployment (CD) practices to develop and deliver quality software more frequently and reliably. Whilst an increasing amount of the literature covers different aspects of CD, little is known about the role of software architecture in CD and how an application should be (re-) architected to enable and support CD. We have conducted a mixed-methods empirical study that collected data through in-depth, semi-structured interviews with 21 industrial practitioners from 19 organizations, and a survey of 91 professional software practitioners. Based on a systematic and rigorous analysis of the gathered qualitative and quantitative data, we present a conceptual framework to support the process of (re-) architecting for CD. We provide evidence-based insights about practicing CD within monolithic systems and characterize the principle of “small and independent deployment units” as an alternative to the monoliths. Our framework supplements the architecting process in a CD context through introducing the quality attributes (e.g., resilience) that require more attention and demonstrating the strategies (e.g., prioritizing operations concerns) to design operations-friendly architectures. We discuss the key insights (e.g., monoliths and CD are not intrinsically oxymoronic) gained from our study and draw implications for research and practice.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEmpirical Software Engineering
Pages (from-to)1-48
Number of pages48
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Software Architecture
  • continuous delivery
  • Continuous Deployment
  • DevOps
  • empirical study


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