What, How and Why of CI/CD

Knowing the CI/CD pipelines is essential to managing your company’s output efficiently. In this article, we are going to look at what you really need to know and how CI/CD can automate your entire work process.

Let’s get into it!

What is the concept of CI/CD?

CI/CD stands for Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery. The central idea behind this is automation. CI/CD together forms the basis of a workflow that developers can follow to build a standardized and consistent practice. By following a set practice, a team can be consistent and scalable.

A CI/CD pipeline can be easily understood as the process pathway to deliver a single production-ready software unit. Your team will choose which services they’ll use to build this; there’s no single canonical implementation of a CI/CD pipeline.

We hear CI/CD most of the time. So what do these terms stand for? 

CI — Continuous Integration

CD — Continuous Delivery

cid meaning

Related Read: How to Implement Continuous Integration for Quality Automation in Product Engineering?

What is CI (Continuous Integration)?

Continuous Integration is the process of merging or committing code. During the development process, we know that we store all our code in a code repository such as GitLab or Github. During a sprint, code is committed several times a day and even multiple developers are working on different modules and we need to merge their code. 

Continuous Integration is a habit, not a tool where it’s shared agreement in a team that:

  1. When we get the latest code from the repository, it will always build and pass all tests.
  2. We will check our code every day.
  3. Integration happens when we merge code to a branch or git push.
  4. Then dedicated servers automate the build process and notify the development team of the build status.

What is CD (Continuous Delivery/Deployment) 

Primarily, Continuous Delivery (CD)  is the automatic deployment of the code.

It is the extension of CI and is mainly adopted to ensure that the new changes introduced to the code are made available to the users as quickly as possible and that too in a viable method. CI and CD go hand in hand because, along with an automated testing process (CI), you should also have an automated release process to support the release of the updated application at any time, just by the click of a button. With continuous delivery, you can schedule the release of your application according to your plans. It may be daily, weekly, monthly, or whatever as per plan. 

Without any human interference, CD ensures an automated release of the application. If the application fails any test, the application does not get released, notifying the team. 

Learn more about Jenkins CI/CD To Deploy Angular Application On Azure Storage

How CI/CD Works?

After understanding the CI/CD pipelines, let’s know more about how exactly these CI/CD pipelines work; 

Build

In the “Build” stage, the source code is transformed into an artifact, commonly known as a build or binary. The process entails the compilation of code, resolution of dependencies, and the exclusive packaging of the application or service. The artifacts may transform into a compiled build, a container image, or any other relevant format for the intended surroundings. 

Version control systems such as Git, are commonly implemented to store and monitor source code, ensuring traceability and documentation of each change made in the code. 

Test

The test phase plays a major role in ensuring the accuracy and reliability of the code. The stage includes various suites of automated tests, such as unit tests, integration tests, and end-to-end tests. To execute these tests evaluate the code performance and establish quality standards it is important to adhere to automated testing tools.

The testing process is iterative in nature with constant feedback provided to the developers after each code commit. The feedback helps in identifying and resolving the issues quickly. 

Deploy

The deployment phase involves the process of deploying the validated artifact into different environments. These environments usually consist of; 

  1. Development/Staging Environment: This is where the code is deployed for testing by the DevOps teams. It acts as a stage for final validations and testing before production deployment. 
  2. Production Environment:  This is the actual/ live environment where all the end-users will interact with the application or the platform. It is important to carefully manage this product environment to reduce the downtime and user impact. 

All the deployment activities can be automated, ensuring complete consistency and minimizing errors. There are various tools like container orchestrators (e.g. Kubernetes) and deployment scripts are often used for this purpose. 

Monitor

The monitoring stage is the ongoing process of observation and management of the application within the deployment environment. This crucial phase includes; 

  1. Error Monitoring: Tools and processes to identify and document errors in the overall application. 
  2. Performance Monitoring: Tracking essential metrics such as response times, resource usage, and user activity to ensure maximum performance. 
  3. Log Analysis: Analyze the logs to identify issues, troubleshoot problems, and make informed decisions for improvements. 
  4. Scaling and Auto-scaling: Adjusting resource allocation and scaling application elements up or down based on the requirements. 

Continuous monitoring helps you to identify and address bottlenecks quickly, ensuring the application performs well and remains stable after deployments. 

Why CI/CD is Beneficial for You?

The implementation of a Continuous Integration/ Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) pipeline within a software development process offers multiple benefits that can help enhance the efficiency, quality, and agility of the software development process;

Faster-Time-to-Market

CI/CD is an automated process that streamlines the entire code development process, including building, testing, and deploying. It helps in reducing the need for human interventions significantly eliminating the delivery of new features and updates to the end-users. 

Improved Code Quality

Automated testing in the CI/CD pipelines enables early detection and resolution of code issues in the development process. This proactive approach leads to the creation of better, secure code, ultimately minimizing the opportunity for bugs and complications in the production cycle. 

Better Collaboration

CI/CD establishes fosters a culture of collaboration among the development, testing, and operations teams, enabling them to work together. Breaking down this task into smaller, more frequent increments, developers are empowered to work in more effective collaboration with different stakeholders involved. 

Risk Reduction

CI/CD plays an important role in mitigating potential issues that may arise during the development stage. Proactively identifying and resolving issues at the earliest stage, helps in reducing the critical problems during production. This proactive approach prevents downtime and ensures customer satisfaction. 

Scalability

The pipelines are highly scalable. As your application and development team grows, the CI/CD process can effortlessly handle increased demands, while minimizing the manual effort. 

Enhanced Security

Security checks can be implemented into the CI/CD pipeline, scanning code for vulnerabilities and ensuring security practices across the entire software system. 

Cost-Efficiency

CI/CD streamlines operations by automating multiple repetitive tasks, effectively reducing the need for human labor and resulting in time and cost savings. It facilitates efficient resource allocation for fast provisioning environments when necessary and discarding them when not in use. 

Feedback Loop

CI/CD starts a feedback loop, enabling to provide developers with valuable insights regarding the efficient code. Such an approach establishes continuous improvement and valuable learning opportunities from any issues that occurred in the past. 

Version Control

CI/CD operates on one major aspect and that is version control systems such as Git, facilitating continuous documentation and effortless monitoring of code modifications. It is extremely important to track and assess the activities carried out. 

Adaptability

CI/CD empowers DevOps teams to quickly adapt to changing requirements and emerging technologies with efficiency. This transformative approach enables the integration of different tools and methodologies into the development pipeline, thereby establishing an active environment for growth and innovation. 

How DevOps solutions can simplify the delivery and deployment collaboration process in your business?

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Conclusion

The CI/CD pipeline is an integral part of modern software development, offering a structured and efficient approach to delivering quality results. The different phases involved in CI/CD work in collaboration to automate and streamline the development process, ensuring code quality, reducing errors, and expediting the release of software updates.

CI/CD pipeline empowers every user with its benefits. From faster time-to-market and improved code quality to enhanced collaboration, risk mitigation, cost efficiency, and increased security, CI/CD facilitates an efficient solution for all your requirements. Our team, at Mindbowser, offers efficient CI/CD services that enable you to adapt to evolving needs, stay ahead of the competition, and deliver solutions that meet the end-user needs.

Mindbowser is committed to delivering excellence and continuous improvement while encompassing CI/CD practices into the process and executing an efficient workflow. Embrace CI/CD and pave your path to software development success.

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