Traditionally, software application administrators or release managers kept track of which releases existed on the different environments. Controlling releases were difficult, with hotfixes going through extensive functional testing prior to upgrading production servers. In a DevOps cycle, the entire team works together to ensure each release performs according to the requirements over a period of time. Once software is updated, verified, and packaged, the DevOps team stages the release via a tool that tracks all approvals and automates the actual deployment.
Release management requires planning, build and configuration testing, quality assurance reviews, and security compliance to be in place. As agility remains the focus for DevOps teams, automating most of these (wherever possible) greatly improves the CI/CD process.