Projects and Project Groups Structure

Projects store the deployment configuration for an application. For each project, you can define a deployment process and runbooks to manage your infrastructure, variables, the environments where the software is deployed, and your software releases. Project groups allow you to group like projects together.

Project structure

We recommend thinking of projects and project groups this way:

  • Project Group = Software Suite
  • Project = Application

An application represents all the tightly coupled components required for the software to run. Some examples of applications are:

  • A microservice running in a container monitoring a queue for work.
  • An N-Tier Web Application with a WebUI, WebAPI, back-end Service, and Database.
  • A back-end service that processes files from a file share based on a schedule.
  • A monolithic application with dozens of components.

All the components in a single “solution” or built in the same configuration should be deployed together. The deployment process should always deploy all the components. Trying to skip a component because it “didn’t change” can reduce deployment time but increases the risk of bugs or failures because something was missed.

If you want to have a project per component, you need to ensure each component is decoupled from one another and can be deployed on a separate schedule.

Previous versions of this guide recommended having a project per component. Octopus Deploy now includes new features, including ITSM integration, Config as Code, and more options for variable run conditions. There is also a logistical overhead with a project per component. That recommendation was made in 2021. At that time, a project per component made sense. It is no longer applicable with the 2023 version of Octopus Deploy.

Anti-patterns to avoid

A project should deploy all the coupled components of an application (WebUI, WebAPI, Service, Database). Some common anti-patterns we’ve seen you should avoid are:

  • A project per component in an application. If the components are referenced in the same “solution” or built in the same build configuration, they need to be deployed together.
  • A project per application, per environment, such as OctoPetShop_Dev, OctoPetShop_Test, and so on. That is impossible to maintain and track versions.
  • A project per customer or physical location, such as OctoPetShop_AustinEast, OctoPetShop_AustinWest, and so on. This is impossible to maintain, you’d need a syncing process for all projects. Use multi-tenancy instead.

Cumulative changes

Octopus Deploy expects any application component it deploys to contain everything that the component needs. If you are deploying a web application, the deployment should include all the JavaScript, CSS, binaries, HTML files, etc., needed to run that web application. It shouldn’t just be a delta change of a few HTML files or binaries. Octopus Deploy expects that for a variety of reasons.

  • All releases will need to be deployed to all environments.
  • Deploying only delta changes requires you to always deploy all versions in a specific order.
  • If a new deployment target (web server) is created, you will have to deploy all versions to that new target rather than the latest.
  • You’ll need a mechanism to create roll-up releases; otherwise, the list of versions to deploy when a new target is added will grow and become unwieldy.
  • It’ll be near impossible to roll back to a previous version of the code.

Further reading

For further reading on projects and project groups in Octopus Deploy, please see:

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Page updated on Wednesday, October 4, 2023