What is the most appropriate word in German to describe "to deploy" when it comes to technology? I have read about "bereitstellen" and "einsetzen". What would be the difference between those two?

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    Could you please give an example sentence? Depending on the context, both bereitstellen and einsetzenmight be a better fit. – Arsak Jan 29 at 17:00
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    Your profile suggests that your question concerns the use of "deploy" in an IT-context. You should clarify if that is correct or if you are interested in a broader context. – Paul Frost Jan 30 at 0:05
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    @Paul Frost exactly. This was mentioned in the question by the word technology. To be more specific: „I have deployed the Cloud Infrastructure yesterday“ – German NLP Jan 30 at 11:44
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    I work at a software company in Austria, and we always use the term ausliefern when deploying software to customers. When deploying software internally, we use installieren oder aktualisieren, whichever is more appropriate. – Heinzi Jan 30 at 16:43
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    You need to differentiate by who you're talking to. If you talk to other programmers, use "deployen". Every programmer I've talked to here uses it. If you talk to non-programmers, then you may need a different verb depending on the situation. – Sebastian Redl Jan 31 at 14:29

The specific meaning of to deploy

Before giving the appropriate translation into German, and because there is a lot of misleading discussion in the comments, let's first clarify the meaning of to deploy. Wikipedia states:

Software deployment is all of the activities that make a software system available for use.

That makes deploying different from rolling out (which just denotes the shipping of the software to the clients, so they install it on their computers) and also different from releasing (which denotes a different state of the software's lifecycle). Deploying includes both distribution (shipping) and installation on the machine the software should run on.

The term deployment has gained more frequency in the last years due to the increased use of techniques of Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment correlated to the rising use of web-applications. The process of deployment is usually highly automated today. While earlier applications were shipped to customers on physical data carriers like floppy disks or CD-ROMs, installing the software was left to the customer, nowadays web-applications are installed on a web-server, which makes deployment part of the job of the software creating party:

Indeed, the advent of cloud computing and software as a service meant that software could be deployed to a large number of customers in minutes, over the internet. This also meant that typically, deployment schedules were now determined by the software supplier, not by the customers. Such flexibility led to the rise of continuous delivery as a viable option, especially for less risky web applications.

In German, use a Loanword

The most appropriate word to express this meaning of to deploy in German, is the anglicism deployen.

This is what I hear as a software developer. It is also a good idea to use this, because this is a situation made for a loan-word: Only the loanword marks the specific meaning of the term to deploy in this context, which would be lost in any translation to a non-loanword. So, using a non-loanword would actually be somewhat misleading.

Non-Loanword Alternative

If you insist on a non-loanword, and if you are willing to sacrifice accuracy for ease of conversation (for instance if you talk to non-tech-persons, and the specific nuances of the meaning of to deploy is not important), I'd say that ausbringen comes closest. It is used in the context of seeding: Die Saat ausbringen means "to sow the seeds on the acre". But see this excellent answer by Tsundoku, which proposes the much better term ausrollen (to roll out).

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    Ich muss dem Argument für ein Fremdwort hier und stellvertretend für viele ähnliche Situationen widersprechen. Viele deutschsprachige haben Englischkenntnisse auf Schulniveau und hören das Wort in Phrasen wie "Software deployen" zum ersten Mal, und erschließen den Sinn aus dem Kontext, schlagen ihn aber nie nach, und wissen nichts von seiner Mehrdeutigkeit. Erst diese Ignoranz macht, dass es ihnen der passendste Begriff scheint. Für die Muttersprachler hat der Begriff aber keine enge Assoziation an Software. Seine spezifische Bedeutung ist eine Illusion. – user unknown Jan 29 at 18:44
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    @userunknown: "Seine spezifische Bedeutung ist eine Illusion." - es ist nicht das originale englische Wort, welches eine spezifische Bedeutung hat, sondern das Lehnwort. Im Deutschen haben wir somit dank des Lehnworts einen spezifischen, prägnanten Begriff, auch wenn es diesen so in der Quellsprache des Lehnwortes gar nicht gibt. Dieses Phänomen lässt sich auch an anderen Lehnwörtern beobachten (spontan fällt mir z.B. "Show" im Fernsehkontext ein). – O. R. Mapper Jan 29 at 18:59
  • Deployen ist falsch. Das ist nur übelster Programmiererjargon, aber schon der Produktmanager weigert sich, das dem Kunden an den Kopf zu werfen, wenn die keine Techniker sind. Altes Sprichwort: Lass nie einen Programmierer eine GUI entwerfen! – äüö Jan 30 at 12:05
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    @äüö: Du magst mit deiner Aufzählung richtig liegen, dennoch fällt auf, dass sämtliche von dir genannten Begriffe für einen "Außenstehenden" bereits inhaltlich keine Rolle spielen, während das Deployment einer Software durchaus auch für Personen ohne technischen Hintergrund inhaltlich relevant sein kann. – O. R. Mapper Jan 31 at 20:52
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    @äüö Natürlich ist es Fachsprache. Warum sollte ein "Normalbürger" etwas deployen, wenn er nicht vom Fach ist? "Ausrollen" und erst recht "ausliefern" haben eine andere Bedeutung und bezeichnen den kompletten Geschäftsprozesse statt nur die Installation (und was dazu gehört). Ich verstehe nicht worauf du hinaus willst. – Chris Feb 1 at 8:08

The two currently available answers have both suggested deployen; other sugestions so far are ausbringen, bereitstellen and freigeben.

However, there is another alternative that has not been suggested yet: ausrollen. Below are a few examples found "in the wild" that illustrate both the verb's conjugation and the context in which it can be used (emphasis mine):

The examples show that the verb "ausrollen" can be used both for pushing software onto machines from an administrator's or a vendor's point of view (i.e. end users don't need to take action) and making software available in a way that still requires users to take action to install it.

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    I agree, ausrollen is a better alternative than ausbringen. +1 – jonathan.scholbach Jan 29 at 23:46
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    I also think this is the most idiomatic translation, but with one pragmatic constraint: it is only used in "corporate speech". I.e., if I write some code and push it to a private server, or even within an open source project, "ausrollen" sounds strange to me. – phipsgabler Jan 30 at 8:36
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    I would argue that "ausrollen" corresponds to "to roll out", not to "to deploy", though. – Jörg W Mittag Jan 30 at 15:03
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    Agreed, Ausrollen is also a term everyone can understand intuitively. I don't directly work in IT, but I have very regular contact to IT topics, and I've never heard the anglicism "deployen" (suggested in the accepted answer) used anywhere - my spell checker even marks it as wrong. – trainman261 Jan 30 at 21:20
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    While correct, "ausrollen" most of the times means the whole business process for delivering software, including scheduling and communications. Whereas "deployen" means putting the software on the system. Therefore if you working outside of IT you may use either, but in IT you must differentiate to avoid confusion. – Chris Feb 1 at 8:00

I generally use installieren, einspielen or aufspielen for deploying a new version.

ausrollen as suggested by Tsundoku would also work. As a developer, using deployen itself is not unheard of either, but in communication with less "techy" customers, the other words are often preferable.

Die neue Version wurde auf dem Server eingespielt/ aufgespielt/ installiert/ ausgerollt/ deployt.

ausbringen, veröffentlichen and bereitstellen would be more akin to deployments as in deploying to an app store, making it available for download. Multiple meanings..

  • It should be noted that "aufspielen"/"einspielen" sounds extremely old-fashioned. For me, it evokes the image of someone who thinks they are still handling tapes as the most modern storage medium. – O. R. Mapper Jan 31 at 10:07
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    @O.R.Mapper And "to deploy" has its origin in 18th centuray military language, so it should evoke the image of an army attacking ... except that at least Germans using the word have no idea about its origin (and probably the ame holds for most English speakres) – Hagen von Eitzen Jan 31 at 13:23
  • @HagenvonEitzen: In nowadays' English, "to deploy" is indeed commonly used also when talking about bringing military equipment or personnel to some place (at least in movies ...). But that notwithstanding, I think that is beside the point - in present-day German, "Deployment" is commonly used in IT contexts and means a combination of delivery and installation of software, whereas in present-day German, "einspielen/aufspielen" is, in my experience, almost exclusively used by developers of advanced age or people whose focus of expertise is very far from IT topics. – O. R. Mapper Jan 31 at 20:45
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    @O.R.Mapper I don't think that those sound old-fashioned. Indeed, I'm used to encounter those words in an IT context. – Lykanion Feb 1 at 13:53

Pons dictionary has an example, where deploy is translated as

die Applikation wurde auf den Server deployed

This sounds awkward not only since it is partly English (Applikation has normal German pronounciation, Server a pronounciation tending to English), but because clearly an inflected form is required, for which deployt (German participle pattern for English verb), deployed (English participle) and gedeployt are unattractive choices for different reasons.

Since the English verb signals an active context (the company does something with the software, some years ago probably distributed CD-ROMs or somehow pushed the new version out of the door), I consider bereitstellen as a good choice. On the other hand currently the most part of the action is on the receiver side (many users touching the update apps button, accepting the licence conditions and granting app privileges), so not much remains on the supplier side besides signing and a simple copy operation, also freigeben (English: release) may fit depending on the context.

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    The problem with bereitstellen is that is may mean that some software was made available for download whereas deploy often has the very special meaning of copying the software to a server for execution. It is hard to find an appropriate word for this in German. – RHa Jan 30 at 10:48
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    I second @RHa; when a software has been deployed, it is ready to run, not just available. In that sense, "freigeben" is even a worse choice IMO, as it can merely mean that those in charge of quality and releases have cleared a given software to be released. That means they have confirmed everything is okay and the software may be delivered to customers, but this step happens even before the software is made available for download/installation, let alone deployed to the target system. – O. R. Mapper Jan 30 at 11:26

This is just a supplement to Tsundoku's neat answer. As you clarified in a comment, your question is directed towards an adequate translation of "deploy" in an IT-context, i.e. in the special context of deploying software on computers (servers / clients).

The standard expression in this context is in fact "ausrollen". This is an Anglicism based on the English "roll out". Frequently one uses the Denglish word Rollout for the process of deploying software. Also see here.

The process of software deployment is usually denoted in German as Softwareverteilung. However, one normally does not say "Wir verteilen Software auf Rechnern", but "Wir rollen die Software [bzw. einen Softare-Update o.ä.] auf Rechnern aus"

Note that the word "ausrollen" is specialist jargon. A layperson would certainly associate the word with "Teig ausrollen". I would therefore only use it when talking to IT-related target groups.

The words "bereitstellen" and "einsetzen" are definitely inadequate in this context.

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    I find the last sentence too apodictic. I'm in IT and depending what you really mean with "deploy" they could be quite adequate. For example if you talk about your own servers you may ask "is it already deployed?" which one could very well translate with "ist sie [die Software, die neue Version] schon im Einsatz?". If it is something that customers can optionally install, e.g. from a software repository, you could say "die neue Version ist für die Kunden noch nicht bereitgestellt." "Ausrollen" is adequate e.g. for force-installing something on all machines in a company etc. – Peter - Reinstate Monica Jan 31 at 15:28
  • More abstractly: "Ausrollen" is an "active action" (sorry for the pleonasm) concerning a multitude of targets; "bereitstellen" has an optional component; "im Einsatz" is very general and focuses less on the process how it got there than on the result (deployment focuses on the process, but "is deployed" describes the result). – Peter - Reinstate Monica Jan 31 at 15:32
  • @Peter-ReinstateMonica: I'd argue "im Einsatz" and "deployed" only seem equivalent because they are in practice, even though the actual meaning is subtly different: A system/software is deployed once it is ready for the first users to log in, while it is only "im Einsatz" once the first user actually has logged in (and started to use it). In practice, their may usually be little difference between the two, yet if I, as a developer, had just deployed a software to some machine but knew for a fact that no user has used it yet, I think it wouldn't be accurate to claim the software is ... – O. R. Mapper Jan 31 at 20:48
  • ... already "im Einsatz". – O. R. Mapper Jan 31 at 20:49

Speziell in IT-Kreisen werden Wörter mit dem Wortstamm deploy oft als Fremdwörter benutzt.

Damit werden jedoch verwandte, aber heterogene Tätigkeiten bezeichnet oder zusammengefasst, die sich spezifisch übersetzen lassen als:

  • verteilen (to distribute)
  • veröffentlichen (to publish)
  • installieren (to install)

Wenn eine Software auf einem Server aktualisiert wird, dann kann es sein, dass diese clientseitig ausgeführt wird, es kann aber auch sein, dass die Änderung nur den Webserver oder das Datenbankbackend betreffen. Für den Server passt verteilen weniger, aktualisiert man aber ein App im Appstore passt verteilen sehr gut.

Verteilen passt auch nicht, wenn man ein Softwareupdate nur auf den github-Server schiebt, wo ihn sich Interessierte selbst runterladen können. Installieren passt dann auch nicht, weil die Software da nur abgelegt wird. Veröffentlichen würde aber gut passen.

Oft kommt es auf Spezifika des Softwaredeployments nicht an oder man will über die verschiedenen Aspekte zusammenfassende Aussagen treffen. Dann ist Deployment sicher eine gute Wahl, wie auch die schon vorgeschlagenen Rollout und Ausbringung. Außerhalb It-affiner Kreise wird man mit Deployment aber vielleicht auf Unverständnis stoßen. Ob dann Rollout eine so viel bessere Alternative ist, ist fraglich.

Google NGram zeigt ein erstes Zwischenhoch für den Begriff Anfang der 80er im dt. Korpus, damals v.a. im Rüstungssektor verwendet.

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