In today’s world, the software development life cycle is constantly evolving. One of the latest trends is the incorporation of DevOps pipelines.
DevOps is a term that is widely used in the technology industry, but there needs to be a clear definition of what it means. Generally, It is a combination of practices emphasizing collaboration and communication. And integration between software developers and information technology (IT) operations professionals.
Where developers, operations staff, and other stakeholders collaborate to enhance workflow between various groups. This can involve automating tasks, using tools to measure performance, and making changes to how work is done in order to improve efficiency, speed, and quality of software delivery.
The DevOps Pipeline is the basic set of practices that comprise the DevOps methodology. This article will go through what this pipeline is, its components, stages, and more.
- What is a DevOps Pipeline?
- Components of a DevOps Pipeline
- DevOps Pipeline Stages
- How to Create a DevOps Pipeline?
- What are the challenges of using a DevOps Pipeline?
1. What is a DevOps Pipeline?
A DevOps Pipeline is a process that enables software developers to create, test, and deploy applications and services rapidly. It helps to ensure that code is always in a ready-to-deploy state and that changes are made in a controlled and safe manner.
The pipeline typically includes a series of stages, or “phases,” that allow developers to move code from creation to production. The stages may include, for example, coding, testing, and deployment.
By automating the process, a DevOps Pipeline can improve efficiency and reduce the risk of errors.
Here is an overview of the two components of a software development lifecycle, including DevOps Pipelines.
1. Development (Code Development)
The development phase involves writing project code, fixing bugs, testing, conducting updates, patching code, and building new features.
The development phase is divided into four stages: plan, code, build and test. Here, developers use various tools to reduce the complexities of the development phase.
2. Operations (Deployment Operations)
The Operations phase is divided into four steps: Release, Deploy, Operate, and Monitor.
These steps can be just as complicated as the development phase since a lot goes into smoothly moving a software development project and any updates to production.
2. Components of a DevOps Pipeline
The component of DevOps uses Pipelines to manage the flow of work.
A DevOps Pipeline is a series of automated steps that software goes through in order to be delivered to users. These steps can include things like code compilation, testing, and deployment. By automating these steps, the software can be delivered more quickly and reliably.
There are many different DevOps Pipelines that organizations can use, but they all share some common features. Here are a few most important components of a DevOps Pipeline:
1) Continuous Integration:
Continuous Integration means the system frequently integrates new code changes into the central repository, usually multiple times per day.
This process makes it easier to merge different code changes and spot bugs, and makes it easier to track the progress of the project.
2) Continuous Delivery:
Continuous Delivery means incremental deliveries of software and updates to production.
Continuous Delivery helps developers automate the whole software release operation and increase how frequently they release new features.
3) Continuous Deployment:
It is similar to Continuous Delivery, but it is all about automation. Continuous Deployment automatically releases code updates from the repository to end-users in live production without requiring manual intervention.
4) Continuous Testing:
Continuous Testing allows companies to perform automated testing at every level of the development process.
This allows teams to spot bugs and any risks before the code reaches production.
5) Continuous Monitoring:
Continuous Monitoring is also sometimes called continuous control. It enables DevOps teams to observe and detect security threats and track errors and compliance issues during each development lifecycle phase.
In addition, the operations teams monitor the applications and systems, keeping an eye on the latter’s performance.
6) Continuous Operations:
The goal of Continuous Operations is to decrease or eliminate the requirement for planned downtime, ensuring that end-users won’t suffer interruptions due to any hardware or software changes.
Setting up Continuous Operations is costly, but given the benefits, it may be worth the extra expenditure.
7) Continuous Feedback:
This is where you gather feedback from end users on the project’s impact and impression. This feedback is critical for developing the project and identifying and correcting issues or mistakes.
3. DevOps Pipeline Stages
The DevOps Pipeline is a set of processes that help to improve the collaboration between development and operations teams. It helps to automate the tasks involved in software development, testing, and deployment.
DevOps Pipeline consists of the following stages; each stage uses specific tools to collaborate with other stages.
Development Pipeline Stages
Before anyone begins coding, the complete workflow must be planned. This includes developing a development roadmap to guide the team through the process, gathering feedback, breaking down the workflow into particular tasks executed in sprints, and deciding what software and tools you will use.
This stage is pretty straightforward; it is where we start writing code for the project. Effectively, we are getting ready to build a testable product.
This stage is also known as version control or source code management. When many developers write code for an application, and a defect occurs, the source code management system may determine which commit has caused that error and revert to previous versions of the code to resolve the problem.
For this process, two types of source code management tools are as follows:
- – Centralized version control system.
- – Distributed version control system.
At this stage of the DevOps Pipeline, the code is pulled from the repositories and is integrated to build a complete application. The code is made in a development environment to allow bug fixes and testing.
And with this phase, the team will run automated tests, and if a problem with the code is detected, the build fails, and the relevant developer is alerted.
Maven and Gradle are frequently used tools.
Once the build is complete, the software is transferred to the testing stage, which goes through a series of manual and automated testing processes. And manual testing is called the user acceptance test (UAT), where the operation team will use the application to check for bugs and user satisfaction.
If the tests reveal issues, they’re returned to the developer to resolve.
Junit and selenium are frequently used tools.
Operation Pipeline Stages
The release stage is where the Operation team will check and confirm that the project is ready to be released and build it into the production environment.
During the release and deployment processes, the software is manually checked. Deploy is the next stage of the DevOps Pipeline after testing and releasing the software to the production server, and several tools automate this process.
Software such as AWS, Docker, Puppet, etc., is used.
In this stage, the project will be configured and managed in the production environment by the operations team during the Operate stage. At this level, the team will rely on automation to help maintain the DevOps project.
Tools such as Chef, Ansible, etc., are used for the operation.
This is the last stage of the DevOps Pipeline, which calls for teams to ensure that the infrastructure, applications, and systems are all running smoothly.
Tools such as Nagios and Splunk, etc., are used for monitoring.
4. How to Create a DevOps Pipeline?
A DevOps Pipeline is a set of automated processes that allows you to manage the development and delivery of your software application.
Now you have a better understanding of a DevOps Pipeline and its stages.
Let’s explore the steps required when creating a CI/CD Pipeline.
Step-1: Establish CI/CD Tool
Each company has different needs and requirements, so only some tools will be right for some situations. At the same time, many CI/CD tools are available such as Jenkins, Bamboo, CircleCI, and GitLab CI. But Jenkins is one of the most commonly used tools.
Thousands of plugins in the Update Center allow it to integrate with most of the development, testing, and deployment tools.
So it can easily be customized to work well for many different applications.
Step-2: Source a Control Environment
Before you and the team build and deploy the code, decide where you want to store the source code. GitHub is the most popular code-hosting website.
GitLab and BitBucket are two other popular source control management tools.
To start using GitHub. First, open a free account, and create a shared repository. Then push the code to GitHub. Before that, first, install Git on the local machine. And once you finish writing the code, push it to the shared source code repository. If multiple developers work on the same project, other team members usually manually review the new code before merging it into the master branch.
Step-3: Set up a Build Server
Setting up a build server, called a Continuous Integration (CI) server, offers developers a reliable, stable, and centralized environment dedicated to building distributed development projects.
With a build server, it would be easier to determine if the code works and is ready for production.
Jenkins is the go-to choice, although there’s also Travis-CI or TeamCity.
Step-4: Initiate Automated Tests
Once the code is configured on the build server, the next step is to test it.
In the testing phase, developers run. Several automated tests were performed at the testing stage, including functional, unit, integration, and regression tests, to ensure your code is bug-free as you move on to the next deployment stage.
To start running tests, TestComplete is a great option. It has Jenkins plugins that allow you to run tests in a Jenkins Pipeline project with added features such as storing the test history and seeing the results directly from Jenkins.
Step-5: Deploy to Production
The Deploy stage of your pipeline is where the teams deploy your code automatically or manually.
Manually Deploying code is often recommended because you can monitor and easily flag any issues that might arise.
Deploying code Automatically should only be used if you are confident that bad code won’t end up in production.
5. What are the challenges of using a DevOps Pipeline?
There are a few challenges that can come up when using a DevOps Pipeline.
1) One challenge is ensuring that all of the steps in the pipeline are properly executed.
2) The Second challenge is ensuring the pipeline is flexible enough to handle different workloads.
3) Additionally, monitoring the pipeline closely to identify potential issues is important. This can be difficult for organizations that are not used to working in a DevOps environment.
A strong pipeline helps organizations of all sizes ensure their code gets predictably deployed worldwide and minimizes errors, controlled manner, and deployment time. In this blog post, you will understand a DevOps Pipeline and how it can help speed up your software development life cycle. And also, We’ve covered DevOps Pipeline Stages and the steps needed to create a DevOps Pipeline.