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Application-release automation (ARA) refers to the process of packaging and deploying an application or update of an application from development, across various environments, and ultimately to production. ARA solutions must combine the capabilities of deployment automation, environment management and modeling, and release coordination.
ARA tools help cultivate DevOps best practices by providing a combination of automation, environment modeling and workflow-management capabilities. These practices help teams deliver software rapidly, reliably and responsibly. ARA tools achieve a key DevOps goal of implementing continuous delivery with a large quantity of releases quickly. 
ARA is more than just software-deployment automation – it deploys applications using structured release-automation techniques that allow for an increase in visibility for the whole team. It combines workload automation and release-management tools as they relate to release packages, as well as movement through different environments within the DevOps pipeline. ARA tools help regulate deployments, how environments are created and deployed, and how and when releases are deployed.
Gartner and Forrester have published lists of ARA tools in their ARA Magic Quadrant and Wave reports respectively. All ARA solutions must include capabilities in automation, environment modeling, and release coordination. Additionally, the solution must provide this functionality without reliance on other tools. 
|CA Release Automation and Automic||CA Technologies|
|Deployment Automation (formerly Serena Deployment Automation)||Micro Focus|
|Hybrid Cloud Management (Ultimate Edition)||Micro Focus|
|IBM UrbanCode Deploy||IBM|
|Release Lifecycle Management||BMC Software|
|Visual Studio Release Management||Microsoft|
|XL Deploy & XL Release||XebiaLabs|
- "Gartner IT Glossary – Application Release Automation (ARA)". Gartner. Retrieved 25 September 2014.
- Application Release Automation Market Forecast (Report). Forrester. 2015.
- Garner Market Trends: DevOps – Not a Market, but Tool-Centric Philosophy That supports a Continuous Delivery Value Chain (Report). Gartner. 18 February 2015.
- Humble, Jez; Farley, David (2011). Continuous Delivery: reliable software releases through build, test, and deployment automation. Pearson Education Inc. p. 255-257. ISBN 978-0-321-60191-9.
- Market Overview: Application Release Automation Tools (Report). Forrester. 2015.
- Market Guide for Application Release Automation Solutions (Report). Gartner. 20 July 2015.
- Fletcher, Colin (27 September 2017). Magic Quadrant for Application Release Automation (Report). Gartner.
- Stroud, Robert (30 August 2017). "The Forrester Wave™: Continuous Delivery and Release Automation, Q3 2017". www.forrester.com.
- Fletcher, Colin (1 August 2016). Critical Capabilities for Application Release Automation Solutions (Report). Gartner.
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