In this post, we will learn about what is CI-CD. How does it fit into the current world of software development? Is it really necessary for your organization or not? If yes, what are the best choices for you to get started with? There are lots of things to learn so let us get started.
What is CICD DevOps?
Here you will learn what is CI and CD process? And what is CICD DevOps? With the help of various examples and with a list of some of the best CI-CD tools along with their capabilities.
In this section, we will see how to setup CI CD pipeline. We will also see how to set up, choosing tools, installation and execute. But mostly we are going to focus on the important tools that are required for CI-CD.
The following things are essential for setting up a CI-CD infrastructure:
- A source code repository to keep the source code of the application.
- The continuous integration software of choice.
- Tools to check the quality of the code.
- A repository manager to store the binary artifacts that are generated by the build of the projects.
- I told to have proper communication between different teams in the organization.
What is CI and CD tools?
We can find many tools that serve the above purpose and also they are open source and free. Let us first talk about the first essential point, the source code repository.
The source code repository is obviously the first place to start because source code is needed in order to even build, test, deploy and so on. We can choose between GitHub, GitLab or Bitbucket. It is also possible to have a self-hosted server with GitLab (Best tool according to Forrester wave) in it and have our source code managed in that server with the help of GitLab.
GitLab has integrated issue tracker, a CI-CD tool, code coverage, photo deploy, Jira integration, container registry, and more features.
Continuous Integration software:
The best continuous integration software according to popular opinion is Jenkins CI. Jenkins has a huge amount of plugins unlike most other CI-CD services and also it has great integration with a lot of popular IDEs. The IDEs (Integrated Development Environment) with which Jenkins work the best or are IntelliJ and Eclipse. Now that we have seen what are options for CI-CD let us understand in detail what is a CI-CD software. CI-CD is basically a modern implementation for the development process that can speed up the development pipeline in and put the organization ahead in a very competitive market.
If you are a developer you know how last-minute errors such as forgetting to change a specific value in a web-config file can lead to failure in Production. These minute details can be taken care of using CI-CD and therefore production level problems due to human errors can be decreased. In fact, if you think about the purpose of a web config file you can remember that it was introduced to avoid human errors in the first place. Using CI-CD we can automate the process of deploying applications to a variety of environment on a larger scale much easier and simultaneously decrease the chances of errors.
It is because of this that large organizations are actively adapting CI-CD.
Also, code quality is important for your organization and so you will want to integrate code quality tools with your CI CD pipeline. Code quality tools for an automated way of determining the quality of the code. It is done using various parameters such as code coverage, test failures, static code analysis and more.
The following is a list of some of the most popular code quality tools.
- PMD it is an extensible cross-language static code analyzer.
- Checkstyle is for helping Java programmers to adhere to the coding standards.
- Find bug is another Java code correction tool that is free and open source.
- Checkmarx is rated as the best by Gartner Magic Quadrant for AST.
- Sonarqube is a great code quality tool because it has great integration with popular IDE such as Eclipse and IntelliJ. As developers, we are able to see all kinds of code violations in real-time.
Binary Repository Manager:
If you are new has a developer this might come as a surprise but storing the compiled versions of the software in the form of artifacts is common practice. This is called storing the application in binary form and it is stored using a binary repository manager.
The idea is that the CI-CD pipeline fetches the source code from the source code repository such as GitHub. The CI-CD pipeline will then build the application from the source code and produce the binary output that can be installed in the production, development, test and dry test depending on the need. The build output is called a binary artifact and the CI-CD pipeline will put a version number for every build and save it. When the application needs to be deployed to a specific environment the CI-CD pipeline will get the binary from the binary artifact manager and deploy it to the environment.
It should be also noted that a binary environment manager is needed to deploy the application to many different systems of the same kind of environment. It is always easy to deploy the binaries generated after build and then to deploy the application after building every time.
The scripts can be used for deployments. This gives us the ability to store docker images in the binary repository and deploy them to Kubernetes for doctor or docker farm.
The following are examples for binary repository manager.
- Sonatype’s Nexus Repository Manager.
- Archive Extensible Repository Manager.
While implementing a CI-CD pipeline to the development life cycle the team should also add a good communication tool to the team. Communication tool will enable immediate reaction from both the development team and the operations team.
A CI-CD pipeline communication tool will send out a message when there is a problem with the build or when a deployment is successful for testing and various other important purposes.
When an application is successfully deployed to the testing environment a communication tool can immediately send out a message to the testing team so that I can start testing as soon as possible. This will help reduce the time delay that happens due to lack of communication.
In large organizations, a good communication tool is generally implemented.
The following are good examples of or communication tools.
- Rocket chat is open source team chat software.
- Slack is proprietary team collaboration software.
What is the best CI and CD tool?
The following is some of the top 10 continuous integration continuous delivery continuous testing tools.
There is more information on CI-CD tools below:
The following is the guide on top open-source continuous integration, continuous delivery, and continuous deployment tools.
There are many companies that are still following the old fashion way of dividing different roles into silos. As an employee, if you could implement the CI-CD way of doing things you could get very high visibility in the organization as well you will invite other parts of the organization to implement CI-CD.
Some organizations have been implementing CI-CD practices using tools such as Ansible, Chef, Puppet for many years. In addition to those tools, we have test kitchen such as test kitchen allows an application-level test to be performed on the infrastructure and also eventually host it to the desired environment.
Terraform can also use along with test kitchen for simple infrastructure configuration rather than other configuration management tools. In addition to this, we can add Linux containers with Dockers and ensure that everything is completely deleted and deployed from scratch every time and tested thoroughly.
It is possible to put database definition language source file into the CI-CD pipeline along with network configuration so that the database is also thoroughly set up along with the environment and work together. This is one area where most errors happen. Using CI-CD we can eliminate errors in this area efficiently and effectively.
We are recommending CI-CD in the development process but you do not necessarily have to use it for only development. With CI-CD we can automate all kinds of processes such as generating PDF and HTML from newsletters and more. This automatically generated files will be deployed to the server after an automated approval or after approval by an authorized individual.
The key idea here is to automate just about any process that is repetitive and simple. To automate the simple process and everyone does not have to be a programmer or a developer all the need to have some small idea of how programming is done and some experience in using these CI-CD tools. there are plenty of people who are available on the internet and ready to help you with touch automation process and setups.
Let us have a quick overview of some tools and what it has to offer
- Spinnaker only focuses on the deployment process.
- Jenkins has plenty of capabilities and the deployment has generally been instructed through XML.
- As the support for Jenkins improved domain-specific language was used to implement instructions rather than just XML.
Initially, Jenkins was not a good tool but today Jenkins is most used and most popular CI-CD tool. We need to note that Jenkins was the first that introduced CI-CD to the masses, to everyone to the market. Recently Jenkins had undergone changes to incorporate features that help deployment through Kubernetes. Using Jenkins cloud, it works with the users can work with cloud-native Jenkins.
Along with introducing some of the important tools for CI-CD, we can state the benefits of using CI-CD in an organization.
- You as a pioneer of CI-CD in your organization you will soon gain recognition.
- It will also increase your individual productivity.
- It will improve software reliability.
We can clearly see that CI-CD is very good for an organization. It is good for the organization as well as the person that is willing to implement it and increase the overall productivity for everyone. With that in mind, let us know more about some of the popular CI-CD solutions so that we can decide what is best for you.
In 2017 Q3 it was given the top spot for continuous integration and continuous deployment tools by Forrester wave. It is a very new tool and yet it has managed to achieve such an impressive feature.
The following are important features of GitLab CI:
- It uses a YAML file to describe the entire pipeline.
- Auto DevOps feature provides a simple test and DevOps pipeline for simple projects.
- It uses Hero coaching to determine the programming language of the project and the build mechanism also.
- It has native integration with Kubernetes.
- It can deploy to a Kubernetes cluster with percentage rollout or blue-green rollout.
- Office monitoring features using Prometheus.
- Web editor to edit the code in the web using web IDE.
- Deploy edited code quickly using the pipeline for quick and instantaneous feedback about the changes.
The above features are very fulfilling for a CI-CD tool. It is no surprise that it won the best CI-CD tool by Forrester Wave.
Go CD is a product of ThoughtWorks. The following are important features of Go CD.
- The most important feature of Go CD is the Value Stream Map.
- One pipeline can provide the material for the other pipeline and the chain can continue.
- We can describe the VSM in JSON or YAML.
- This tool helps in identifying wait times in an organization.
The VSM can prove to be very useful in older organizations where different teams operate independently. with the help of this feature, they can identify which team is causing bottlenecks in the development pipeline and tackle them.
- Pipeline information is stored in a YAML document along with the source code of the project.
- Travis CI has a very high uptime.
- Travis CI is available in software as a service as well as a version that can be hosted in a private server.
- Software as a service version of Travis CI is available for free only for deploying Open source software.
- Travis CI is a very good platform for building Open-source Software.
It is the most famous continuous integration tool. It is an open-source tool with great community support. It has over 2000+ plugins. It is built with Java and hence it is portable with all major platforms. It is a product of CloudBees. Jenkins can be intimidating for anyone that is new to development for CI-CD but Cloudbees are working on fixing that.
The following are important features of Jenkins:
- Jenkins configuration code has helped us solve complex configuration problems.
- Jenkins evergreen provides predefined configuration for various use cases out of the box.
- Jenkins 2 introduced the native pipeline functionality which is very good for handling the complex task.
- Jenkins x will be before the implementation of cloud-native Jenkins.
Companies using it are:
- Open Stack
- Angular JS
- Linked In.
- It is made of many microservices and each service run within its own container.
- It offers the ability to run the job from a local machine using the local changes.
- This provides freedom of developing locally and running build as if they were being built in the actual pipeline.
- With this CI-CD method, we can provide a different docker image for each new feature.
- It helps us maintain single immutable artifact for each and every new functionality and therefore a build breaking change will not enter into the main build.
- It has the ability to prevent deployment during critical Times in order to ensure that the business does not impact the deployment process.
- It can integrate with other tools such as Jenkins and Travis CI.
- Integration with Prometheus and data dog.
- It is based on microservices.
- It relies on tools like Nomad, Kubernetes, and Docker for execution.
- It uses YAML for its pipeline description and it has much more useful predefined default.
- Here the configuration contains a definition for how server jobs should run.
- The server jobs can run one after another or two in parallel or several in parallel for or one job can run based on be the logical output of another job.
- It is possible to specify that some jobs should run during Pull Request.
- It is possible to ensure your which jog runs and so only decide artifacts are deployed to production.
It is important to note that the given tools are open source. Anyone can quickly adapt and implement run and automate continuous deployment, delivery, and integration.
DevOps are the concept of the development team and the operations team working together to eliminate some of the problems that arise during deployment. It is easy to develop for one’s needs and it is also easy to deploy for other’s needs but making things work together is difficult. In this post, we addressed how DevOps tries to address some of the problems with bringing the development and the operations team together.
We also saw some of the important CI-CD tools that are very popular and free. Using this post, we hope you are able to get started with CI-CD for your organization.
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