There have been recent discussions about Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery within DevOps. A contemporary software development process must incorporate Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery. It is one of the best DevOps practices you can use to deliver code changes to the customer promptly and safely.
As the technology landscape rapidly evolves, CI/CD pipelines are becoming increasingly important for modern DevOps teams. Continual Integration and Delivery won't solve all bugs, but it can make a substantial difference in identifying and fixing them. In today's business environment, enterprises are embracing Continuous Integration and announcing their departure from traditional methods.
Combining CI/CD pipelines with agile concepts enhances the delivery of high-quality, fast-to-market software.
This article summarizes the best practices for implementing continuous integration and continuous delivery:
What is Continuous Integration?
A Continuous Integration practice (CI) is used in DevOps software development to allow developers to integrate their changes into a central repository. By doing so, automated tests and builds can be conducted. Builds and automated tests validate the developers' amendments.
As part of Continuous Integration, considerable emphasis is placed on automated testing for the application. If new commits are incorporated into the main branch, evaluating whether the code has been broken will be possible.
What is Continuous Delivery?
Continual Delivery (CD) is a DevOps practice that involves developing, executing, testing, and delivering software improvements. It's an addition to Continuous Integration so that new releases reach customers fast.
Since you have automated testing, you also have an automatic release process, and deployments can be carried out at any time with just one click.
Continuous Delivery allows you to schedule releases daily, weekly, or as necessary, depending on the business requirements.
Continuous Integration: What can you do with it?
With the rapid development of software, Continuous Integration has become increasingly important. It is possible to detect errors early in the project's development, thereby avoiding having to wait until the end of the project to detect them.
Several basic prerequisites need to be met to implement continuous integration:
- Build automation
- Test automation
- Keeping all source code in one place
- Providing visibility into the entire process
- Team members have real-time access to code
Those teams who need to practice continuous integration should take small steps toward implementing CI/CD (Continuous Integration/Continuous Development) pipelines at the beginning instead of implementing an entire pipeline at once. Code and process should be continuously iterated to help the company grow.
Stage of CI/CD pipeline
The delivery team is continuously monitored for errors and discrepancies throughout the process.
Every development, whether a bug fix or an enhancement, falls into the CI/CD pipeline before being deployed to production.
CI/CD pipelines begin with this stage. In this stage, the CI/CD pipeline will be triggered as soon as there is a change to the code or a flag specified on the code repository. During this stage, the focus is on source control, including version control and change tracking.
What is the purpose of this stage? When a change is detected in the central repository (commit, new version), a workflow that includes tasks such as compiling and testing the code is automatically initiated.
This second step of the pipeline results in an executable/runnable instance of development containing all the source code and all its dependencies. The following are included in this stage:
- Builds of software
- Objects that can be built, such as Docker containers
Among all the stages, this one is the most crucial. A build failure here indicates there is a fundamental bug in the code.
Moreover, this stage also involves handling build artifacts. To consolidate the process of building artifacts, a centralized repository can generate, store, and manage all the artifacts and may be implemented through yarn, JFrog, or even a cloud-based solution such as Azure Artifacts.
In the testing stage, all of the automated tests are incorporated into the software to validate the functionality and behavior of the package. This stage prevents end users from becoming aware of software bugs. Various tests can be performed in this stage, including integration and functional testing. As this stage goes on, any errors with the product will be exposed.
Common test tools include:
The pipeline ends here. Now that all previous stages have been completed, it is time to deploy the package. This stage involves the deployment of the package to proper environments, which includes the first deployment to a staging environment for quality assurance (QA), and then the release to the production environment to conduct final testing.
There's no limit to what kind of deployment strategy you can use this stage for:
- Blue-green deployments
- Canary deployments
- In-place deployments
As part of the deployment process, infrastructure can be provisioned, configured, and containerized using technologies such as Terraform, Puppet, Docker, and Kubernetes.
Best practices for successful implementation of CI/CD
If you would like to improve your CI/CD practice, you can follow a few best practices.
Only build once
Build the same source code only once instead of multiple times. This step must only be performed as part of your pipeline when building, packaging, or bundling your software.
To ensure the software is packaged in a clean environment, successful CI/CD implementations begin with the build process. This way, human error is eliminated, and a greater likelihood of overlooked or incorrect artifacts is reduced.
Make automation a priority.
When organizations move towards automating their processes, they often need help determining which processes to automate first. Automation is useful for things like code compilation. Each time developers commit new code, automated smoke tests should be run. For developers, it is usually first necessary to automate unit tests to reduce their workload.
Regularly release new versions.
Release-ready software must be tested in a production-like environment before it can be released in a commercial environment. Consequently, new versions should be deployed to an appropriate pre-production environment before deployment to production.
Make CI/CD the only method of deploying to production.
If you devote time and resources to making your CI/CD pipeline reliable, fast, and secure, you will be confident in the quality of your builds. However, avoiding it may negatively impact your efforts in various ways. If any requests are made to circumvent the release process, it is usually because the changes are optional or urgent, and it is best to avoid giving in to such requests.
Maintain a clean environment with every release.
To get the most out of your testing, clean up your pre-production environment before you deploy.
Long-running environments can make it hard to keep track of all configuration updates, and changes-this is called configuration drift. As a result, tests might come back differently. Maintaining a static environment incurs costs, delays the release process, and slows testing.
As it pertains to the modern-day software development process, all of that relates to continuous integration and delivery. Several automated processes are employed, and constant code sharing is encouraged to prevent defects from occurring. While bringing these solutions into reality requires a substantial investment in techniques, procedures, and tools, a properly designed and implemented system can provide significant benefits.