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How are CI/CD and DevOps Related?

Are you confused about the difference between DevOps and CI and CD pipelines? Check out this post for everything you need to know.

4 min read
How are CI/CD and DevOps Related?

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The technologies we use in IT are increasingly complex, and the terms and jargon can be difficult to keep clear in our minds.

DevOps is one such term that's been trending upwards in recent years. Continuous integration and continuous deployment are also increasingly prevalent. So what is DevOps? What role do CI/CD pipelines play? What is the relationship between DevOps and continuous delivery and continuous integration?

DevOps and CI/CD Pipelines

To best understand the similarities and differences of DevOps and CI/CD pipelines, it's best to have an understanding of each. This understanding will also help to grasp the role that CI/CD continuous integration plays in DevOps and why we see the two mentioned together so frequently.

What Is DevOps?

DevOps, so named because it fuses development and operations to increase agility, has been central to development and operations teams for a number of years and is now a critical modern software development practice. So what are development operations? Do you need DevOps to survive in today's business world?

First off, DevOps isn't a product or service. It's a philosophy and a framework for how to think about a development project.

DevOps is the process of getting all of your teams on the same page with cross-functional skill sets. It's designed to sculpt a team profile where the members have broad knowledge and experience but specialize in specific areas. Those areas may include app or web development, system administration, infrastructure engineering, quality assurance, and others. This broad knowledge with a specialization is part of why DevOps is so important. The cross-functional abilities of team members facilitate collaboration and reduce siloes. Siloed operations cause problems at every enterprise level, but they can cause all manner of practical issues for software development teams.

What Is Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment?

Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) are nearly as trendy as DevOps. CI/CD has been trending upwards for several years. It's almost 10x as prevalent as it was five years ago.

CI/CD is a reflection of today's digital marketplace. Notice that both terms involve the term "continuous." Companies can't afford downtime in today's hyper-competitive market.

Continuous integration refers to the continuous testing side of software development. CI is the process of continuously verifying software integrity using centralized code repositories like GitHub.

Continuous integration is a critical part of the software delivery process and works by automating the testing process and running as frequently as possible, such as on every commit of code changes to the repository. Using automated testing like this, your team receives early notification of any bugs or security issues in the newly committed code. This quick feedback allows the team to quickly resolve those issues before they cause more significant problems down the line. Essentially through continuous integration, you fail fast and shift-left on testing. The automated tests are executed early in the cycle, not at the end.

Continuous deployment is the other side of the equation. CD consumes the deployed new code and packages it for mass consumption in your production environment. CI and CD's goals work together: to automate processes that used to take much effort and reduce the size of deployments so they can happen more often with less risk. To be clear, the CD in CI/CD actually can refer to both continuous delivery and continuous deployment, where the former is the packaging of the tested software, and the latter is its deployment. Each team can decide how far down the continuous integration/delivery/deployment road they are ready to go.

The software business has never been more cut-throat and competitive than it is today, customers are not willing to deal with buggy software, and companies have to do more with smaller teams due to a shortage of skilled tech workers. It's essential to catch bugs as quickly and efficiently as possible to keep wasted time, money, energy, and resources to a minimum.

Once you've got a CI/CD pipeline in place, this can mean the difference between lost hours or weeks.

It also ensures that your customers will have steady service once your product is on the market. It isn't easy to quantify the effect of downtime on your company or technology's reputation. If you're offering a data-driven product like an app, you can't afford to take that risk.

Putting a CI/CD pipeline in place also eliminates a ton of extra work for your development team, such as testing and uploading or deploying code. This way, they can focus on essential work like building new features for your customers. This freedom from the drudgery of repetitive tasks will also help them feel more engaged when working, as menial work can have a detrimental effect on morale.

How DevOps and CI/CD Differ

Now that we've covered the textbook definitions, on to the question of DevOps vs. CICD. By now you should already be getting an idea of the similarities and differences between DevOps and CI/CD. They not at all synonymous; they're simply employed in the same situations.

First off, as we mentioned, DevOps is not a tangible product or service. It's a philosophy. Think of open-source for a similar example.

While CI/CD is also a philosophical framework in terms of the commitment to automation, it's enabled by software tools and code that configures those tools' behaviour. Maintaining a DevOps philosophy can help ensure your CI/CD pipeline runs smoothly!

Hopefully, it's clear how DevOps and CI/CD are not the same and that CI/CD is a tool or process used widely within DevOps-oriented teams.

How To Implement a CI/CD Pipeline In Your DevOps Team

While they may be similar and working towards a similar goal, implementing a CI/CD pipeline is far more technically demanding than establishing a DevOps philosophy. Your team can achieve a DevOps framework with the proper hiring of passionate people with broad interests. Now that it's so common in tech, you'll likely find that most candidates have had past exposure to DevOps at work or school. You can move existing employees toward DevOps by offering company-paid training and giving them the opportunities to break out of their job siloes. CI/CD pipeline requires detailed, dependable algorithms.

If you're genuinely evolving toward a DevOps philosophy, you should adopt a CI/CD pipeline into your workflow. A pipeline will help ensure your developers catch errors and fix potential bugs as quickly as possible, which will keep downtime to the bare minimum.

Looking For CI/CD Solutions?

Automation is the way of the future. It reduces your workload so you and your team can focus on being productive and doing meaningful work.

Setting up automation CI/CD pipelines requires high-level technical know-how, however. If you're ready to find out how having a trusted partner can empower your tech company, get in touch with us today!

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