CI/CD, DevOps and Containers: A Winning Trio
DevOps powers the production of better-quality software — and does so faster and more easily than before. It’s a dynamic process with many advantages. Understandably, organizations have been taking advantage of increasingly flexible resources and moving away from conveyor belt-style project delivery with hardware and software resource planning, ordering and integration. DevOps helps address the question, “If we can provision resources quickly and easily, how can we complete entire projects with similar responsiveness?”
As the barrier between Dev and Ops recedes, structured communication still takes place. But now, it’s in an iterative, incremental fashion, much like polishing a jewel. Practical solutions can be created, deployed and adjusted now rather than being relegated to lofty goals set in the somewhat distant future.
The process gets applications in the hands of end users far sooner, smooths any rough edges using actual user feedback and helps organizations not only become more responsive to changing needs but make much more efficient use of valuable software development and operations resources.
Dev and Ops as Partners
This amount of change may be difficult for an enterprise’s culture to embrace. However, both development and operations teams have some “pain points” that help motivate them to work together more dynamically.
- The operations side struggles with hardware resource planning. In addition, they tend to have maintenance and cost-reduction projects that are delayed. Ops also has insights into new features, efficiencies and integrations but with no way to implement them.
- The development team tries to use its resources more efficiently, deliver more timely solutions and ensure greater acceptance of new applications.
DevOps came about as a way to address these struggles. Communication and implementation have suffered in the past from using traditional, waterfall-style processes. Creating a new flow between the two teams helps to reduce these pain points.
DevOps is not a technology; it’s a methodology. Its goal is to make software development efficient. Containerization narrows the gap between development and IT Ops to a minimum. Containers are a great tool for enabling DevOps workflows and simplifying the pipeline. Containers hold the code and dependencies required to run an application and reside in isolation. That way, teams can develop, test and deploy apps inside these closed environments. And this doesn’t affect different parts of the delivery, which makes the lives of testers and developers a lot easier.
Making CI/CD Possible
The DevOps methodology outlines a framework for automating processes to more quickly and reliably build, test and code. Continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) isn’t a novel concept, but tools like CircleCI have done much to define what a CI/CD pipeline should look like. While DevOps represents a cultural change in the organization, CI/CD is the core engine that drives the success of DevOps.
When working with the Continuous Integration model, teams need to implement smaller changes more often, but they check the code with the version control repositories. This results in much more consistency in the building, packing and testing of apps, which leads to better collaboration and software quality. CD begins at the tail of CI. Since teams work on several environments (prod, dev, test, etc.), the role of CD is to automate code deployment to these environments and execute service calls to databases and servers.
Though CI/CD isn’t exactly a novel idea at this point, it’s only recently that teams have had the right tools to fully reap the benefits of CI/CD. Containers make it extremely easy to implement a CI/CD pipeline and enable a much more collaborative culture. They’re very lightweight and can scale endlessly, run on any environment and are very flexible. It doesn’t get easier than this.
Today, instead of moving code among various VMs in different environments, you can move code across containers — or container clusters, as is the case with Kubernetes. VMs are static and a monolithic application architecture, whereas containers are on a distributed microservices model. This opens doors to new benefits when it comes to elasticity, high availability and resource usage.
In alignment with the DevOps team orientation, individuals share the state of the art with their peers, feeding their knowledge and experience into the evolving process. Development teams can put the new resources to use, taking advantage of technologies such as containers and Kubernetes to architect solutions. Working together, this cooperation lets Ops run with the solution, scale it, distribute and upgrade efficiently without delay.
Building a DevOps Future
DevOps has proven to be a highly significant model that transforms an organization’s development lifecycle. The change in culture is big but doable as all parties participate for success. CI/CD is the key driver of that success, and new tools like containers make it possible for enterprises to maximize their use of CI/CD. Just make sure to have a strong data storage strategy in place to support your DevOps environment, which needs flexibility so it can provide failover, disaster recovery and other essential availability and reliability features. Consider software-defined storage to meet all these needs as you move forward into a brighter DevOps future.