Understanding The Terminology – CI and CD in DevOps
The path to building cutting-edge software solutions is often paved with several obstacles. Disjointed functioning of various development teams often results in long release cycles. This not only results in a poor quality product but also adds to the overall cost of development. For organizations looking to set themselves apart from the competition, it has become essential to embrace the world of DevOps and enable frequent delivery of good-quality software.
The Growth of DevOps
Conventional software development and delivery methods are rapidly becoming obsolete. Since the software development process is a long and complex one, the process requires teams to collaborate and innovate with each passing day. Models evolved -first it was Waterfall, then Agile, and now it’s DevOps – in order to meet the dynamic demands of the industry, and growing expectations of the tech-savvy user, the software development landscape is undergoing constant change. Today, DevOps is being seen as the most efficient method for software development. According to the recently released 2017 State of DevOps Report, high performing organizations that effectively utilize DevOps principles achieve 46x more frequent software deployments than their competitors, 96x faster recovery from failures, and 440x faster lead time for changes. There seems little room for doubt any longer about the impact of DevOps.
DevOps aims at integrating the development and operations teams to enable rapid software delivery. By fuelling better communications and collaboration, it helps to shorten development cycles, increase deployment frequency, and meet business needs in the best possible manner. Using DevOps, software organizations can reduce development complexity, detect and resolve issues faster, and continuously deliver high-quality, innovative software. The two pillars of successful DevOps practice are continuous integration and continuous delivery. So, what are these terms? What do they mean? And how do they help in meeting the growing demands of the software product industry? Let’s find out!
Definition: Continuous Integration (CI) aims at integrating the work products of individual developers into a central repository early and frequently. When done several times a day, CI ensures early detection of integration bugs. This, in turn, results in better collaboration between teams, and eventually a better-quality product.
Goal: The goal of CI is to make the process of integration a simple, easily-repeatable, and everyday development task to reduce overall build costs and reveal defects early in the cycle. It gets developers to carry out integration sooner and more frequently, rather than at one shot in the end. Since in practice, a developer will often discover integration challenges between new and existing code only at the time of integration, if done early and often, conflicts will be easier to identify and less costly to solve.
Process: With CI, developers frequently integrate their code into a common repository. Rather than building features in isolation and submitting each of them at the end of the cycle, they continuously build software work products several times on any given day. Every time the code is inputted, the system starts the compilation process, runs unit tests and other quality-related checks as needed.
Dependencies: CI relies heavily on test suites and an automated test execution. When done correctly, it enables developers to perform frequent and iterative builds, and deal with bugs early in the lifecycle.
Definition: Continuous Delivery (CD) aims to automate the software delivery process to enable easy and assured deployments into production —at any time. By using an automatic or manual trigger, CD ensures the frequent release of bug-free software into the production environment and hence into the hands of the customers.
Goal: The main goal of CD is to produce software in short cycles so that new features and changes can be quickly, safely, and reliably released at any time. Since CD involves automating each of the steps for build delivery, it minimizes the friction points that are inherent in the deployment or release processes and ensures safe code release can be done at any moment.
Process: CD executes a progressive set of test suites against every build and alerts the development team in case of a failure, which then rectifies it. In situations where there are no issues, CD conducts tests in a sequential manner. The end result is a build that is deployable and verifiable in an actual production environment.
Dependencies: Since CD aims at building, testing, and releasing software quickly and frequently, it depends on an automated system that helps the development team to automate the testing and deployment processes. This is to ensure the code is always in a deployable state.
CI/CD for Continued Success
Software development involves a high degree of complexity that requires teams to embrace new and modern development methodologies in order to meet the needs of business and end-users alike. DevOps focuses on the continuous delivery of software through the adoption of agile, lean practices. The pillars of DevOps, CI, and CD, improve collaboration between operations and development teams and enable the delivery of high-quality software for continued success. RightScale estimates that over 84% of organizations have adopted some aspect of DevOps principles -it’s time you do too. As DevOps pundit Jez Humble rightly says, “DevOps is not a goal, but a never-ending process of continual improvement”.