Release Evidence is about addressing the demand of the business to understand what is changing in your software. Our focus is on supporting the variety of controls and automation (security, compliance, or otherwise) to ensure your releases are managed in an auditable and trackable way.
The backbone of this category is creating a single artifact for our users to furnish during an audit or compliance process. The strong integration across GitLab enables the creation of an auditable chain of custody for assets, commits, issues, including satisfactorily meeting quality and security gates. Table stakes for enterprise-grade governance includes traceability of automated actions alongside the gathering of appropriate approvals throughout the release process. Our intention is to streamline the experience of preparing for an audit or compliance review as an organic byproduct of using GitLab.
Now that we have delivered the snapshots for comparison within of Release Evidence via (gitlab#26019) and gitlab#38103 we will be focusing on including more artifacts within evidence. Up next, we are expanding our compliance requirements to include test results within Release Evidence via gitlab#32773.
We are also supporting advanced controls for deployment windows with our Deploy Freeze MVC via gitlab#24295, enabling users to refine when an environment can be deployed to. Deploy freezes are considered a Release Governance feature since these types of controls restrict deployment windows which may be required by compliance systems, regulations, or change management protocols.
This category is currently at the "Minimal" maturity level, and our next maturity target is "Viable" (see our definitions of maturity levels).
Key deliverables toward the next maturity target of "Viable":
A great differentiator for GitLab, is the expansion of the evidence to include test results via gitlab#32773, security scans, and other artifacts in gitlab#2207 to be collected as part of a release generation. This will uniquely enable us to be the single source of truth application for the DevOps lifecycle throughout the audit process.
In today's landscape, "chain of custody" features are ill-defined and not well articulated by our largest competitors. Release Evidence is a strategic feature set that XebiaLabs, Spinnaker, and other CDRA solutions do not readily offer to their users.
The analysts in this space tend to focus a lot right now on existing, more legacy style deployment workflows, which include better support for validation of approval. The Compliance Management category will help meet these needs around the granular approval processes within the GitLab workflow.
Sales and prospects have communicated an interest in expanding more granular permissions within protected environments as solved by protecting manual jobs, which will be addressed by Compliance Management category. We are also beginning to get interest in the incorporation of test results within Release Evidence via gitlab#32773.
Enabling the upload of assets to releases gitlab#17838, within Release Evidence satifies many customers' needs to show the rationale of production changes and further strengthens the Release page as a single source of truth.
We have learned there is demand to support the logging auto-stop actions (gitlab#36407) as a part of the Release Governance story.
Another issue referenced by a handful of customers interested in enterprise-grade governance, includes enforcing the signtaure validation of containers during deployment as captured in our Binary Authorization MVC.
Implementing better practices and expanding the use case documentation of protecting manual jobs will help address many of the internal requests for gating deployments. Our Guided Explorations Project on Separation of Duties illustrates how users can support these needs my leveraging custom CI configuration paths and protected environments.
Important for this category (though also expansive and includes a few others) is our epic for locking down the path to production, which will help us successfully deliver compliance controls within the software delivery pipeline.
Deploy freezes (gitlab#24295) will help compliance teams enforce periods where production needs to remain stable/not change. We have conducted our research of deploy freezes in gitlab#39108 and found many users have windows of time they manually enforce. Being able to support these workflows in GitLab will reduce risk and save time for these users.
The future of Release Evidence includes making the feature easier to work with as an auditor. Features like supporting on-demand evidence creation which will be implemented via gitlab#199065 alongside highlighting the differences between two release evidences in gitlab#207852, we are making the compliance process surrounding changes to producition an easy and natural navigation experience in GitLab.