For software development teams, one of the most important factors of an efficient and successful development process is frictionless CI/CD. While simple CI/CD reduces friction, getting to a point of ‘simple’ is, well, not simple.
Development teams should only spend time on their code, not on the plumbing to get the code to production. They shouldn’t have to think about deployment, environments or infrastructure.
Standardized plumbing equals less friction
This is why well-built CI/CD pipelines that actually remove friction from the development process are so important: these pipelines allow development teams to work on their code, instead of the plumbing.
These CI/CD pipelines take care of common tasks that need to happen for every code commit. Usually, these tasks are easy to automate and highly repetitive, and consistency matters. In other words: they are toil, tasks a machine can do better than us, making a piece of code go through all kinds of tests, checks and balances to make sure it functions as designed, doesn’t break other parts of the application, is performant, secure, and deployable.
And this is especially important in more mature organizations, that create new services and deploy to production often.
Each step requires different toolsets depending on the project’s language and project architecture, but using standardized tools like GitHub Pipelines and Kubernetes helps to limit tool sprawl. This, in turn, helps to scale the infrastructure as the number of microservices grows: the same tools and practices can be shared across a larger number of software development teams and projects.
GitOps, and Kubernetes, allow developers to manage the entire application lifecycle from the code repository. Normally, developers would need to make infrastructure changes elsewhere, using infrastructure-as-code tools, but GitOps pulls those pieces into the code repository so that developers have a more integrated experience of writing application, deployment and infrastructure code.
CI/CD is all about automating workflows and simplifying complex processes, increasing consistency and speed, while reducing cognitive load. It also removes handovers and dependencies, as tasks are automatically performed in series, instead of being handed over from team to team. For instance, instead of waiting for the testing team to complete their testing, the testing team instead works on improving the automation that does the testing for them, allowing that team to scale up more easily, but also removes the dependency of other teams on the testing team, increasing the overall efficiency. It also plays a large role in the number of distractions teams and individuals have to deal with. In this paradigm, they can fully concentrate on improving the automation while letting the pipelines do the actual work.
Scaling is an organizational challenge
As you can see, scaling CI/CD pipelines is an organizational challenge, not a technical one. Unfortunately, many organizations do see it as a technical challenge, and a common reaction to scaling issues is to add or change tooling. Rarely do organizations simplify the technical landscape, which only makes the issues worse.
In many cases, organizations need external help to make the changes needed to mindset, processes and approach. External help can come in many forms. In the case of Cloutive, a Dutch consultancy firm, they offer their expertise and do a CI/CD Design Maturity Assessment in order to analyze the contributing technical and organizational factors of the scaling issues. With a clear understanding of the current state and the ideal state, Cloutive implements technical changes, cultural improvements and offers teams training to increase their maturity.
Their in-depth understanding of CI/CD pipelines and experience across many customers and industries helps customers to solve their CI/CD challenges in complex Kubernetes-based environments. On May 20th, they will share a case study of a CI/CD setup, supporting three development teams and their microservices across the software development lifecycle. This use case is a prime example of how removing toil makes teams more efficient; Cloutive automated the pipelines from code commit to deployment in the production environment. The goal was to combine multiple software projects into a single, standardized pipeline using Kubernetes and GitLab.
Register here to learn more about this project from Serkan Capkan, Solutions Architect at Cloutive Technology Solutions, and how simple CI/CD reduces friction.