Introducing On-Prem Support for Feature Flags to Deploy More Securely

This new deployment model is particularly important for organizations that have complex self-hosted software delivery models, including government and public sector organizations with highly specific regulatory and implementation requirements, as well as enterprise security companies.

Published on
8/29/22

We’re excited to announce that the Harness Feature Flags (FF) module is now available for on-premises deployment. This new deployment model is particularly important for organizations that have complex self-hosted software delivery models, including government and public sector organizations with highly specific regulatory and implementation requirements, as well as enterprise security companies.

This release reinforces our focus at Harness to build solutions that reduce risk and make software delivery best practices easier and safer to adopt—all without sacrificing the velocity that feature flags bring to engineering organizations.

Feature flags are a way that developers can conditionally turn certain sections of their code on or off. They serve as a means to put changes into production with the ability to turn new features on in a controlled way later, or to hide and remove them in the same way. The Harness Feature Flags module provides these capabilities with sophisticated rules, governance, user management, an intuitive UI, and more. 

The ability to ensure compliance in an automated and scalable way is a key pillar to drive adoption of feature flags as a crucial software delivery process. Now with on-prem deployment for Harness Feature Flags, engineering organizations can integrate feature management into their software delivery process and scale their solutions with minimal manual effort.

The availability of on-prem support for Harness Feature Flags separates Harness from the majority of SaaS feature flag vendors that do not support on-prem deployment. In the on-prem feature management market, no other solution can stack up to what Harness Feature Flags offers. Let’s take a closer look at how organizations have been limited by the existing market of on-prem feature management solutions, and how Harness Feature Flags fills that gap.  

Balancing Velocity and Risk in Software Delivery

In order for organizations that require on-premise delivery models to effectively address their core challenges with feature management, they must have enterprise-grade features like automated workflows, templatized release pipelines, CI/CD integration, GitOps, and deep governance. These are required capabilities to effectively scale an organization’s use of feature management, especially as they seek to integrate it as a key part of their software delivery model. It’s difficult to achieve the level of scale organizations seek without automation and repeatability. 

Existing on-prem feature management solutions offer none of these, most crucially any sort of automation. Trying to solve the various challenges around increasing velocity and reducing risk has been entirely manual for organizations that require on-prem hosting. 

While some organizations create DIY solutions for feature management on premises, achieving scale remains highly challenging because there are so many manual processes. The enterprise-grade capabilities that are required for organizations that need to operationalize and scale out on-prem solutions cannot be implemented without hiring lots of developers and maintaining solutions in-house. DIY solutions typically include only basic functionality such as the ability to target users (in fact, this is often the first use case implemented!), and this is often built to be bespoke for one team or only a few teams to use. In order to drive adoption of the tool amongst other teams, or to add more functionality, organizations must devote development resources to building this new developer tool. It’s not core to their mission, and yet requires development and maintenance overhead to make it useful for the organization as a whole.

Existing managed options are limited to basic feature management capabilities, such as boolean and multivariate flags, user targeting, analytics, audit logs, and basic security (RBAC, SSO). These functionalities don’t allow organizations to maximize the value of a feature management tool the way a SaaS solution does. It all comes back to scalability, which requires automation and repeatability. Even with only this basic functionality, the lack of automation means that the process will forever remain manual; and each time software goes through the process, it has to be built again, rather than being able to recognize common patterns and reusing templates that implement those patterns.

Existing on-prem solutions lack automation, security, and enterprise-grade capabilities, such as automated workflows, templatized release pipelines, CI/CD integration, GitOps, and deep governance.

Implementing On-Prem Feature Management at Scale

With this newly added deployment model support, Harness Feature Flags is bringing the same capabilities available in the commercial SaaS offering to those that desire them in an  on-prem deployment model.

Instead of having to make a choice between subpar options that don’t provide the required capabilities, organizations in the government, federal, and other high security industries now have a solution available that supports them through all of the stages of their feature management journey.

Here are some of the key features that Harness Feature Flags uniquely offers organizations that have complex self-hosted software delivery models. You can read more about these in the docs.

  • Global governance enforcement via Policy as Code and OPA
  • Automated feature release pipelines

    — Schedule and approve releases
    — Build release templates
    — Integrate with external tools and create triggers
    — Automate governance
  • Developer-first experience including GitOps & YAML
  • Platform-wide native integrations into CI/CD and more

That’s in addition to these more standard features:

  • Boolean & multivariate flags
  • User targeting
  • Flag management dashboard
  • Usage metrics & customer analytics
  • Public APIs & open source SDKs
  • <500ms streaming updates to clients
  • Relay proxy to mitigate downtime risk
  • Audit trails
  • RBAC & SSO

All of these features enable organizations to:

  • Integrate and scale feature flags as part of the software delivery process, ensuring regulatory compliance while modernizing software delivery.
  • Empower developers to move faster without breaking things, even while in production.
  • Enforce governance and compliance, without sacrificing velocity.

Our focus with Harness Feature Flags is to provide a solution that helps increase velocity, reduce risk, and improve developer experience, all without compromise or tradeoffs between these business values. As part of the Harness platform, enterprise organizations are able to natively integrate Feature Flags into CI/CD and extend the key software delivery process, even when hosted on-prem.

Get Started on The Journey to Achieving Control with Feature Flags 

We are on a journey with Harness Feature Flags to democratize the use of feature flags across software development teams. Whether SaaS or on-prem, we want to ensure that promise is extended to all developers. That’s not just about giving developers new tools and responsibilities; it’s about creating something that’s easy to start using and that scales with the company’s needs and developers alike from day one.

If you want to explore how Harness Feature Flags can be deployed in your on-premises installation, request a demo to get started. 

If you’re an existing Harness customer that would benefit from on-prem feature management, reach out to your Customer Success Manager. 

If you have the flexibility to play around with our SaaS offering, you can start by signing up for free.

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