Everything You Need to Know About CI/CD Pipeline - Part 1
September 19, 2022

Susmitha Vakkalanka
Opsera

What is Continuous Integration in DevOps?

In DevOps, Continuous Integration (CI) involves automating the process of building and deploying code every time a developer in a team commits code to version control. Developers share code by merging all changes to a shared repository, including the smallest of changes. Every time code is committed, it initiates an automated pipeline that retrieves that latest code and proceeds to build, test and validate the main or trunk branch.

CI was imagined and implemented as a best practice to tackle a specific problem. When coder worked in isolation and had to integrate changes with the team's codebase at the end of days or weeks, they found it led to frequent merge conflicts, frustrating bugs, incompatible coding strategies and duplications.

With consistent code commits to a shared branch, these problems were significantly lessened. Code is tested to iron out bugs early on, and inconsistencies with the larger body of code are identified early on.

Benefits of Continuous Integration in DevOps

Smaller and Easier Code Changes
‍With every code change being pushed to version control immediately, the CI/CD pipeline has to deal with smaller code changes and integrations at a time. Obviously, such changes are easier to handle, test and debug than larger scripts that may contain multiple, hard-to-detect errors. The idea is to break down features and new development into byte-sized pieces that are fast to write.

Easier Debugging
A CI-based pipeline facilitates fault isolation AKA the practice of formulating systems in which errors lead to limited negative consequences. This protects a systems against major damage and makes for easier maintenance.

Fault isolation is facilitated because smaller code changes make it easier to find bugs and resolve them before they can adversely affect the entire ecosystem — something not easily achieved with CI in place.
‍‍
Faster Product Releases
‍A CI-powered pipeline is a continuously moving system in which failures are detected and debugged faster. This invariably leads to faster and more frequent releases which translates to happier customers and a positive edge over competitors.

Lighter Backlog
‍As explained above, CI enables quicker bug identification and debugging, all within the early stages of code changes and integration. With small defects quickly fixed in pre-production, developers have a lighter backlog of avoidable, non-critical bugs to fix. They can devote that time to focus on larger problems, write better code and keep updating the systems for greater efficiency.
Needless to say, lesser errors results in lower costs, easier maintenance, better quality code and increased ROI.

Increased Transparency and Accountability
‍Frequent code commits lead to immediate and frequent feedback from the automated system as well as the team. This keeps problems visible and transparent to the team, keeps everyone on the same page.

Feedback from the CI stage has direct effects on build issues, merging conflicts, larger architectural snags, etc. Thus, it doesn't just keep the developers conscious of what they and their teammates are doing, but also of the health of the system they are operating in.

Of course, CI alone cannot implement the seamless operability required to create software quickly and with minimal flaws. Neither can it, by itself, establish DevOps principles within a software engineering team or organization. For that, the pipeline needs CD — Continuous Delivery/Continuous Deployment

Continuous Delivery

In DevOps, Continuous Delivery (CD) is a practice in which all code changes are automatically tested and readied for release. Once Continuous Integration takes care of code build and integration, delivery pushes changes to the testing environment and then keeps it prepared for production. Essentially, with CD in place, a team will always have a deployment-ready product that has been tested and cleared for public release.

Continuous Delivery takes the code beyond simple unit tests that are run in the CI stage. It allows the software to be run through multiple evaluation layers so as to verify functionality from all dimensions. This can include integration tests, UI tests, load tests, end-to-end tests, API tests, regression tests, security tests, etc. It allows developers to validate the product more comprehensively and weed out issues before it reaches customer hands.

Continuous Deployment

CD can sometimes also refer to Continuous Deployment — a practice that is the next stage from Continuous Delivery. Once code has been made release-ready, Continuous Deployment is the process of automatically pushing it to the production environments.

Automation, in this case, is conditional on a series of preconceived and pre-established tests in the pipeline. Code changes pass through these tests, and if all goes well, the pipeline triggers their release directly to production. No human intervention or approval required.

Continuous Delivery vs Continuous Deployment

Continuous Deployment essentially adds an extra step to Continuous Delivery. The former pushes every code to production automatically, without explicit approval from a human supervisor. The pipeline takes the code from the repository, pulls the appropriate configurations, builds VMs, containers, etc. on the fly, and deploys the code, all in one fell swoop.

In case of Continuous Delivery, the code is built, integrated and tested to be production-ready. However, it requires a developer, product manager or Team Lead's approval to actually be released to the production environment.

The question of — which continuous model to use? — depends on an organization's goals, the skill level of their employees as well as the resources they can devote to acquiring the right CI/CD tools. Implementing CI/CD in DevOps is to have the proper tools and checks in place to manage configurations and rollback in the event of errors or failures.

What is a CI/CD pipeline in DevOps?

A CI/CD pipeline comprises a number of serial processes that are executed to deliver a new version of software (website/app). CI/CD aims to accelerate and improve software delivery by utilizing DevOps principles and leveraging automation at every step.

Consistent automation and monitoring is incorporated into the CI/CD pipeline so as to make development more efficient while consuming less resources (time, money, effort). Every step in the pipeline is automated — from the moment code is pushed to the repository it is built, integrated, tested, deployed and monitored via automated mechanisms.

Needless to say, the business benefits of CI/CD pipelines are many. They accelerate development and reduce the likelihood of errors. Essentially, it enables enterprises to release software multiple times a day with minimum human involvement.

Go to: Everything You Need to Know About CI/CD Pipeline - Part 2

Build the perfect CI/CD workflow and automate all your pipelines for any services with Opsera. Book a demo.

Susmitha Vakkalanka is VP of Marketing at Opsera
Share this

Industry News

February 02, 2023

Red Hat announced a multi-stage alliance to offer customers a greater choice of operating systems to run on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI).

February 02, 2023

Snow Software announced a new global partner program designed to enable partners to support customers as they face complex market challenges around managing cost and mitigating risk, while delivering value more efficiently and effectively with Snow.

February 02, 2023

Contrast Security announced the launch of its new partner program, the Security Innovation Alliance (SIA), which is a global ecosystem of system integrators (SIs), cloud, channel and technology alliances.

February 01, 2023

Red Hat introduced new security and compliance capabilities for the Red Hat OpenShift enterprise Kubernetes platform.

February 01, 2023

Jetpack.io formally launched with Devbox Cloud, a managed service offering for Devbox.

February 01, 2023

Jellyfish launched Life Cycle Explorer, a new solution that identifies bottlenecks in the life cycle of engineering work to help teams adapt workflow processes and more effectively deliver value to customers.

January 31, 2023

Ably announced the Ably Terraform provider.

January 31, 2023

Checkmarx announced the immediate availability of Supply Chain Threat Intelligence, which delivers detailed threat intelligence on hundreds of thousands of malicious packages, contributor reputation, malicious behavior and more.

January 31, 2023

Qualys announced its new GovCloud platform along with the achievement of FedRAMP Ready status at the High impact level, from the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP).

January 30, 2023

F5 announced the general availability of F5 NGINXaaS for Azure, an integrated solution co-developed by F5 and Microsoft that empowers enterprises to deliver secure, high-performance applications in the cloud.

January 30, 2023

Tenable announced Tenable Ventures, a corporate investment program.

January 26, 2023

Ubuntu Pro, Canonical’s comprehensive subscription for secure open source and compliance, is now generally available.

January 26, 2023

Mirantis, freeing developers to create their most valuable code, today announced that it has acquired the Santa Clara, California-based Shipa to add automated application discovery, operations, security, and observability to the Lens Kubernetes Platform.

January 25, 2023

SmartBear has integrated the powerful contract testing capabilities of PactFlow with SwaggerHub.

January 25, 2023

Venafi introduced TLS Protect for Kubernetes.