The backbone of modern DevOps is the continuous delivery pipeline (or CI/CD pipeline). It is a method of automating some important phases in the software development process. The ultimate objective is to eliminate accidents while speeding up the process.

Other agile software development success factors, such as build automation, version control, and automated deployments, serve as inspiration.

A continuous delivery pipeline is much more than a collection of tests. Automatic pipelines shorten delivery times while also lowering the risk of dumb negligence.

The CD pipeline is an agile and sustainable technique to produce software, similar to how a minimum viable product lowers risks and helps teams create something that better suits the demands of consumers.

They also assist the developers in resolving issues more quickly, resulting in less delivery downtime. Customers will receive the product immediately, and developers will be actively committed to developing software.

CI/CD Description

Continuous integration is a coding philosophy and procedure that encourage development teams to make modest changes and often check codes into version control repositories.

The team requires a way to integrate and validate its modifications since most current applications include writing code across several platforms and tools.

Where continuous integration stops, continuous delivery begins. CD automates application delivery to specific infrastructure settings.

Most teams operate in contexts other than production, such as development and testing, and CD guarantees that code changes are automatically sent to those environments.

Because the goal of continuous integration and continuous delivery is to offer high-quality apps and code to customers, continuous testing is required.

Continuous testing is frequently implemented as a collection of automated regression, performance, and other tests run through the CI/CD pipeline.

Benefits of Implementing CI/CD Pipeline

Companies attempt to deploy features as quickly as possible to stay competitive in the present market. A seamless CI/CD pipeline is the perfect platform for these short-release cycles.

Involve Substantial Logs

A CI/CD pipeline generates a lot of logging data at every level of the development process. Several technologies can be used to efficiently examine these logs and provide fast feedback on the system.

Faster Delivery

With practically minimal manual involvement, teams can create, test, and deliver features automatically. Multiple daily releases may be made a reality with a smooth CI/CD workflow.

Organizations are increasingly delivering features several times each day. Only a few firms, such as Netflix, Amazon, and Facebook, have accomplished this aim.

Make Rollbacks Smoother

The world is moving toward shorter release cycles, and CI/CD pipelines have sped up the process. A pipeline like this may help you uncover issues quicker, execute solutions faster, and improve overall customer happiness with proper design and implementation.

Slash Time and Effort on Manual Labor

We need automation from the beginning to align with the shift-left paradigm. This is also an important part of a good CI/CD setup.

Tests should be automatically triggered when you create features and check-in codes to ensure that the new code does not damage existing features and that the new features operate properly.

Reduce the Risk Odds

Finding and resolving defects late in the development process is costly and time-consuming. This is particularly true when problems arise with features already being launched in production.

You may test and deploy code more often using a CI/CD pipeline, providing testers the power to notice and correct errors as soon as they arise. You’re effectively mitigating risk in real time.

Continuous Feedback for Improvement

The CI/CD pipeline is a continuous cycle of build, test, and deployment that provides continuous input for improvement. For example, developers may respond rapidly to criticism and improve the code when the code is tested.

Elements of CI/CD Pipeline

A CI/CD pipeline is made up of separate subsets of jobs that are organized into pipeline stages. The following are typical pipeline stages:

Build

This is the step at which the application is put together.

Failure to pass the build stage indicates a fundamental fault with a project’s configuration, which should be addressed as soon as possible.

Test

This is the step where the code is put to the test. Again, automation can save both time and effort in this situation.

It is the developers’ responsibility to write tests. In test or behavior-driven development, the ideal method to construct automated tests is to do so as we write new code.

Release

The stage at which the application is submitted to the repository is known as release.

Deploy

At this point, the code is deployed to the production environment.

There are typically numerous deployment settings, such as a ‘beta’ or ‘staging’ environment for the product team and a ‘production’ environment for end-users.

Validation and compliance

Your organization’s needs dictate the procedures involved in validating a build.

Clair and other image security scanning software can verify picture quality by comparing them to known flaws (CVEs).

Phases in A Continuous Delivery Pipeline

The product’s architecture flowing through the pipeline is critical in determining the anatomy of the continuous delivery pipeline.

CD Component Phase

This component is certified by code reviews, unit tests, and static code analyzers.

CD Subsystem Phase

Subsystems are the smallest deployable and runnable units of loosely linked components.

CD System Phase

The pipeline in this system is taught to assemble a system from loosely linked subsystems when the final structure must be released.

CD Production Phase

Whether subsystems may be deployed independently or must be combined into a system, versioned artifacts are delivered to production as part of this final process.

Building Blocks of Continuous Delivery

The building blocks of continuous delivery are as follows:

1. Continuous Development & Integration

Throughout the SDLC, virtual service interfaces may be built automatically by emulating unavailable systems, allowing developers, testers, integration, and performance monitoring teams to work in parallel, resulting in faster delivery, improved quality, and dependability.

The integrated code may be automatically produced and checked against validation criteria and then made available for continuous testing if it passes. Continuous integration is a term used to describe the phase that occurs after code development but before QA.

2. Continuous Testing

The build promotion criterion and settings must be confirmed before the functional and performance tests can be performed. Finally, testers must establish QA environments, virtual services, and test data to deploy the build.

Another continuous testing requirement is to use test data management to produce a subset of production data and disguise sensitive information.

3. Continuous Release

The purpose of continuous release (also known as continuous deployment) is to deploy the build into production regularly; comparable operations can also be done in a staging environment.

Application monitoring should be started after the build has been launched into production to track performance and customer experience. Developers can use feedback from the production environment to influence upgrades or sprint backlogs.

Why is a Continuous Delivery Pipeline Needed in Agile?

Continuous integration is a crucial technological practice (ART) for each Agile Release Train. It raises quality, lowers risk, and develops a rapid, dependable, and long-term growth pace.

A continuous delivery pipeline transforms your ideas into products through long-term tests.

If you discover that your idea isn’t as fantastic as you thought, you can immediately change your mind and develop a better one.

Furthermore, pipelines lower the MTTR (Mean Time To Resolve) of production issues, resulting in less downtime for your clients. Continuous delivery results in productive teams and happy customers, and who doesn’t want that?

Continuous integration ensures that the ‘system always operates,’ which means that it may be deployed even while under development.

Small, tested vertical threads may produce value independently, where CI is most effectively applied to software solutions. However, the task is more difficult with bigger, multi-platform software systems.

Each platform has technological constructions, which must be continually merged to demonstrate new capabilities.

CI is much more difficult in complex systems comprising software, hardware, components, and services offered by providers.

However, the truth remains that the only realistic approach to completely validate a system is to routinely integrate and test components.

DevOps and the CDP are the third dimensions of Agile product delivery. Embracing the DevOps attitude and culture and developing an automated CDP is required to release reliably and with high quality whenever the market or client needs it.

How much is the demand for DevOps?

CI improves the development process by continually integrating the ongoing work of numerous Agile teams.

New functionality is developed and incorporated into a complete system or solution, and all work is managed.

It’s subsequently tested in an appropriate staging environment, which might include everything from cloud-based software to physical devices and simulators.

The SAFe® is a framework that specifies four actions related to continuous integration.

  • The term ‘develop’ refers to the procedures for implementing stories and committing code and components to the trunk.
  • The build is the operation required to generate deployable binaries and merge development branches into the trunk.
  • The term ‘end-to-end’ refers to the procedures used to validate a solution.
  • Stage denotes the procedures for hosting and testing the system in a staging environment before becoming live.

Conclusion

Our objective is to make deployments predictable, regular, and on-demand, whether for a large-scale distributed system, a complicated production environment, an embedded device, or an app.

It is the capacity to securely and swiftly deploy updates of any kind, such as new features, configuration changes, bug fixes, and experimentation, into production or the hands of users.

This is accomplished by guaranteeing that our code is constantly deployable, even when hundreds of engineers are making changes regularly.

As a result, we eliminate the integration, testing, and hardening stages and code freezes that historically followed ‘dev complete.’

Author's Bio
Agilemania

Businesses transform when they realize that the current ways of working can no longer address the fast-changing market dynamics and rising user expectations. Agilemania, a small group of passionate Lean-Agile-DevOps consultants and trainers, is the most trusted brand for digital transformations in South and South-East Asia.