How to Implement an Effective CI/CD Pipeline
DevOps bridges the gap between development, operations and IT services teams efficiently. To foster a DevOps culture, implementing the right DevOps tools with the right DevOps process is essential. Continuous integration/continuous delivery/continuous deployment (CI/CD/CD) help developers and testers ship the software faster and safer in a structured environment.

Unlike the traditional software life cycle, the CI/CD implementation process gives a weekly or daily update instead of monthly or quarterly. The fun part is customers won’t even realize the update is in their applications, as they happen on the fly.

A Brief Insight About CI/CD/CD Terminology

  • Continuous Integration: CI is a process in which developers integrate new codes into a shared repository several times a day. This is a better approach than the traditional one, where the developer will build new codes in isolation and then integrate into the main repository at the end of the project lifecycle. The primary goal is to detect any integration bugs at the initial stage so it can be rectified quickly. It triggers a new build whenever a new code merges with the existing main repository. Test runs are performed against these new builds to check for any breakage.
  • Continuous Delivery: At the end of the CI, CD comes in. CD ensures to automate the software delivery process and commits to deliver the integrated code into the production stage without any bugs or delay. CD in the DevOps implementation process, helps developers merge the new code with the main branch consistently so they can build an instant software-ready product. It is responsible for checking the quality of the code and performs tests to check whether it can release the functional build to the production environment.
  • Continuous Deployment: The most critical part of the automation occurs at this stage of the delivery pipeline. Whenever there is an important change in the code, the corresponding build and deployment occur simultaneously. It is achieved through continuous deployment process where it allows to perform live deployment changes for every code modification that passes through the CI stage. During this stage, there is no manual intervention right from the initial code until the code is in the production stage.

Benefits for Implementing CI/CD

The ultimate aim for any software application is to reach its potential customers faster than ever before. This is exactly what the CI/CD pipeline offers to any business model that leverages a software process which reduces the risks in each build and helps the end product to reach the customer quicker.

  • Achieve Faster Feedback Through CI Tools: For every committed code, the corresponding tests are run simultaneously to avoid any link breakage at later stages. Faster feedback helps to check the quality and impact of the code.
  • Greater Visibility: With CI/CD pipeline setup, the whole process of new builds, test results and any issues with new builds can be analyzed. This transparency allows the developers to know which changes in the build led to the brokerage and to avoid them in the future.
  • Early Bug detects: Conducting various types of automated testing allows to identify any bug issues at an early stage without any last minute surprises. These automated tests along with few manual test runs, help to fix any issues that may arise.

The Different Stages of CI/CD Pipeline Implementation

To get the full benefits of the modern DevOps environment, embarking on a scalable CI/CD DevOps implementation is important. It lays a strong foundation for building an agile DevOps for your business.

Tools for the CI/CD Process

Tools are the magic wand that help automate a successful CI/CD pipeline and ensure a faster software delivery.

  • Open-Source Tools or Proprietary: Depending upon the budget and the client’s requirement, business can opt for open-source tools such as Jenkins for automating the CI/CD process.
  • Cloud or Self-Hosting Services: To self-host your CI/CD application, tools such as Jenkins and Cruise Control help to setup, configure and monitor the application effectively. Otherwise, you can get SaaS providers to host on cloud services.
  • Build Status: Choose a tool which embraces the transparency and visibility of the entire process through appropriate notifications, through email or other type of communication.

Possible Challenges of CI

  • You might need a discipline strategy to address an issue by the CI/CD pipeline, otherwise the whole fast feedback is in vain. 
  • Slower builds eventually take place as newer builds keep adding to the product.
  • Failure to train the resources to adapt to new tools and patterns.

Wrapping Up

In this era of faster software shipping and building quick releases on the fly, adopting a more robust project cycle that accelerates the delivery pipeline is crucial. Implementing DevOps services is the optimal way to get the effective collaboration between cross-functional teams through the CI/CD process.

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