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How DevOps CI/CD Can Benefit Teams of All Sizes

Learn how teams of all sizes can benefit from Continuous Integration, Delivery & Deployment (CI/CD).

5 min read
How DevOps CI/CD Can Benefit Teams of All Sizes

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Agility and visibility are essential in modern software development practices. Continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) is a core process that many companies adopt as part of agile development methodologies.

Not that long ago—companies separated their development and operations teams, creating fragmented development and management cycles for products they supported.

DevOps is a modern approach that seeks to unify these two segments of the software development process. But what are the real benefits of this approach, and does it truly benefit internal and external teams that much?

Deploying software with a DevOps flow can improve efficiency, reduce operating budgets, and improve business performance. Here's why your company should consider the DevOps CI/CD pipeline framework—regardless of your team's size.

What Is CI/CD?

CI/CD refers to "continuous integration/continuous delivery," a DevOps practice that allows businesses ranging from one individual to teams or organizations to deliver code more efficiently and effectively.

Continuous integration

This requires development teams to make small changes and verify code integrity to version control systems like Git (GitHub, GitLab, BitBucket and others). The ultimate goal of this approach is to create a consistent development cycle that leverages automation to simplify building, packaging, testing, and rapidly fixing defects in your software before it reaches the user.

Continuous delivery

This is the other end of the equation. This stage ensures the application artifact is made available for deployment to the appropriate environment. CD aims to automate push coding changes to a test environment on the CI server so that they can be tested and eventually rolled out to the production environment.

CI/CD requires a commitment to continuous testing. Businesses that frequently test their code can fix bugs and improve features in their codebase quicker when tests fail than companies that do manual deployments and testing. CI/CD saves businesses time, money, and effort that is better placed elsewhere in the organization.

Understanding DevOps is integral to understanding CI/CD since these two practices are related in many ways.

But what are the principles of DevOps? The core principles of the DevOps include:

  • Iterative
  • Continuous
  • Incremental
  • Automated
  • Collaborative
  • Holistic
  • Self-service

It's clear why DevOps and CI/CD fit so well together. Both approaches focus on continuous innovation. They both use incremental processes, encourage collaboration, and heavily leverage automation to make it all possible. The end product is a harmonious cycle of continuous integration and delivery and one step further for black belts: continuous deployment.

However, companies can only transition to DevOps if they take the time to build a company culture that supports it. Your team will have to commit to automation, which is a core aspect of DevOps and CI/CD at its core.

What Is DevOps in Practice?

DevOps merges processes, tools, and culture to provide end-to-end management of the software design lifecycle, controlling sub-processes, and projects for seamless integration and delivery to customers.

DevOps is an iterative cycle composed of several stages that make up each weekly or bi-weekly sprint-based schedule. These stages include:

  • Plan
  • Code
  • Build
  • Test
  • Release
  • Deploy
  • Operate
  • Monitor

Different forms of DevOps exist, with distinct emphases on processes and tooling. However, the fundamental principle behind DevOps remains the same: providing continuous progress and deliverables to clients.

How to Transition to DevOps?

Transitioning to DevOps is a simple process in theory, but adopting it does require a culture shift. Your developers may need to break bad habits, embrace automation, and treat servers less as pets and more as cattle.

The first step is to create a business use case, justifying DevOps integration, and utility.

If justifications exist, the second step is to choose a DevOps provider. For guaranteed service and performance, a business needs to use an established service provider like Amazon AWS.

The third step, following the business use case in step one, is to transition existing services and integrate DevOps processes. Finally, businesses need to optimize and automate workflows and business processes.

Implementing CI/CD Without a Broader Commitment To DevOps

DevOps focuses on continuous delivery, including deployment. Businesses that forgo the broader cultural shift to DevOps may be at a disadvantage. CI/CD and DevOps can work in perfect harmony with each other, as long as a company can integrate them properly.

However, assuming a business does not use DevOps, they can still integrate and deliver code, just not as efficiently. Companies that use DevOps can oversee the CI/CD process and increase the productivity of their software lifecycle and management. But remember, your teams must maintain the discipline to avoid falling victim to the flawed "pets" habit.

The Value of Setting Up Your CI/CD PipeLines With the AWS CodePipeline

The AWS CodePipeline automates continuous delivery and deployment. It works by automating all delivery phases (build, unit tests, integration tests, functional tests, security tests, performance tests, etc., delivery and deploy), allowing you to release code quicker and greater ease than before. AWS also features third-party integrations like version control (through GitHub) and automated testing (through BlazeMeter), for example.

Consider AWS's value by the benefits offered. Some of the benefits of AWS CodePipeline are as follows:

  • Removal of complexity. Removing complexity from the deployment process makes software easier to integrate and deliver continuously. While the developers, testers, and software managers interact with software more abstractly under DevOps, business processes run smoother.
  • Cheaper resources. Streamlined and efficient processes are more economical. Being able to save operating costs and trim budgets of unnecessary spending is a significant benefit of automation and utilizing DevOps.
  • Application efficiency and speed. Due to continuous integration and delivery, the software runs more efficiently and faster, boosting business metrics and performance.
  • AWS is stable. AWS is one of the major players in the automation/DevOps market. Due to its size and market share, Amazon's AWS CodePipeline is an excellent choice for any small or medium business that needs to meet specific performance metrics without fail.
  • It's an AWS managed service. This platform is entirely configurable but offloads server management. This service costs $1 per pipeline per month, per-minute billing when pipelines are in use, and free code deploys—making the prices hard to beat.

Helping Teams Adopt DevOps Structures, Processes, Culture, and Tooling

DevOps structures are organizational frameworks businesses can use to utilize processes and tooling more efficiently. A structure can refer to setting account permissions or team roles, for instance, following the cybersecurity principle of least privilege. Team managers may have admin access, while a single team member should only have as much access as needed (the principle of least privilege) to perform specific predetermined tasks set by the manager.

A structure can also refer to processes and tools, depending on which ones teams incorporate into the DevOps lifecycle and the extent to which these processes and tools are used.

If projects are temporary organizations created to provide value to customers and suppliers, then processes are non-temporary projects. Processes under DevOps follow “process flow,” which refers to a closed-loop DevOps lifecycle. Each phase and stage flow into the next for seamless and continuous integration and delivery. Smooth and continual flow is necessary for individuals and teams to work more efficiently and use DevOps to fulfil business mandates.

Tooling refers to the specific tools within the DevOps lifecycle to fulfil processes. Popular tooling categories include:

  • Version Control
  • Software Containers
  • Lifecycle Management
  • Configuration Management
  • Software Testing
  • Continuous Integration (CI)
  • Continuous Delivery (CD)
  • Deployment Utilities

Monitoring and feedback of DevOps processes and tooling can help businesses adjust the DevOps software lifecycle to their business needs. If a company decides on a two-phase DevOps flow, building and testing software in the first phase and delivering software in the second phase, monitoring and feedback can provide welcome assistance.

Reduce Operating Costs with Cloud Services by Pilotcore

One of the main benefits of cloud services is a reduction and optimization in IT costs. While businesses expect more considerable initial expenses when transitioning to cloud services, the ongoing costs are much lower as they only pay for resources consumed.

These costs, like the demand for cloud server resources, fluctuate. Unlike physical servers, cloud-enabled businesses do not need to pay for expensive resources early on due to forecasted edge cases. Cloud services only charge for services rendered.

Pilotcore assists small and medium businesses and government agencies that seek to transition operations to the cloud.

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