Essential Guide

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Rev up IT with continuous delivery and DevOps

This guide helps IT teams decide on continuous delivery or continuous deployment, the tools to accomplish both, best practices and the culture of DevOps that inform and support continuous software development.

Introduction

Humans love to go fast. That thrill can extend to software code with the pairing of continuous integration/continuous delivery and DevOps.

Continuous integration (CI), continuous delivery (CD) and continuous deployment all focus on getting newly created code onto production systems as quickly as possible -- without breaking anything. The terms can be segmented by steps:

  • CI facilitates and automates code creation, verification and management before it is an executable product.
  • CD brings executable code through automated and manual tests and release steps to prepare it for production.
  • Continuous deployment takes code through testing and onto production systems.

DevOps doesn't perform any of these steps, exactly. Instead, the methodology guides developers, testers and IT operations teams to create code that's easy to test, builds that are easy to deploy and production IT systems that are easy to manage. The CI/CD process gives DevOps the tools to accomplish these goals.

1Speak the language-

Get a continuing education on continuous topics

New to continuous delivery and DevOps? Start with the terminology that full-stack developers, IT automation specialists, continuous testers and their teammates use. Once you understand these terms, you'll have a solid foundation to build continuous processes upon.

2Rush delivery-

The tools and principles of CD

CD isn't easy. New adopters should understand the principles of continuous delivery and DevOps culture and the benefits of a CD pipeline. If you already have a strategic mindset and are ready for the next step, review CI/CD tool options. Compare your CD maturity to the five levels described at the end of this section to decide where to go next.

Tip

What it really means to deliver on CD

Organizations generally understand the value of collaboration and accountability (DevOps) and efficiency (automation). But to justify the investment in tools and training for CD, delve into the specific benefits it provides. Continue Reading

Tip

Get started on the right path

Once you decide to adopt continuous delivery and DevOps, follow these main principles to ease the transition and get the best ROI. One pro tip: Stay away from the specialist team mentality. Continue Reading

Tip

We have version control -- what's next?

There are nearly as many CI/CD pipeline tool combinations as there are DevOps teams. While the perfect pipeline looks different depending on who you are and what you're building, these tips help create a pipeline plan and source viable tech for it. Continue Reading

Tip

Advance on the CD journey

DevOps teams take continuous improvement to heart and look for ways to improve their practices and processes. Follow this CD maturity model, based on the familiar five steps of the Capability Maturity Model. It might bring you to continuous deployment. Continue Reading

3Ongoing improvement-

Move the needle with continuous deployment

Continuous delivery and DevOps are enough to give most software product teams the speed and production readiness they need. But for those advanced teams that crave automation and top-speed releases, the next step is continuous deployment and related measures, such as continuous security and testing.

Tip

Does the organization need continuous deployment?

Continuous deployment puts the production-ready DevOps mindset to the test, and it isn't the right speed for many teams. Evaluate what teams or products in the organization would benefit from automatic deployment and where to draw the change control line. Continue Reading

Tip

Tools to make continuous deployment a reality

Continuous deployment tools are familiar to organizations versed in CD. To kick into the straight-to-production gear, focus on exhaustive tests, rapid monitoring and response to production changes. Continue Reading

Tip

Create a deployment pipeline for infrastructure as code

Another way to bolster continuous delivery and DevOps is via programmable infrastructure. Sys admins become infrastructure developers, managing configurations as code, with the same production-ready mindset and tight version control applied to software products. Continue Reading

Opinion

The testing secret to a DevOps culture

The secret to deployable code is smart testing -- not one exhaustive test before production, but rather continuous testing, applied at various stages of development and release. The DevOps mindset applies to testers as well, in terms of fast feedback, group responsibility for quality and more. Continue Reading

Feature

Inject security into DevOps

Security isn't one step in the software delivery and deployment lifecycle -- although one step is better than none. For truly production-ready code, make security checks and input from security specialists just as continuous and automated as CI/CD. Continue Reading

4Containers deploy anywhere-

Supporting technology spotlight: Containers

For DevOps to work, developers, testers and operations managers all have to see the same thing with the code. DevOps aims to destroy the works-on-my-machine syndrome that throws up walls between these steps in software delivery.

Tip

How containers work

Application and system containers isolate the application from the deployment environment in ways different from VMs. While containers offer benefits, especially for distributed applications, they don't solve every problem, and they can raise some new ones. Continue Reading

Opinion

Containers mean uniformity

Container-based deployment maintains an application's dependencies and environment across development, test, staging and production. It frees the app developer from worries about the infrastructure in production. Continue Reading

News

Containers named essential in DevOps toolkit

Some tools are expected on a DevOps team's must-have list -- a CI/CD build automation server, for example, or version control repository. But container deployment and management both made the top 10 list for DevOps tools. Continue Reading

Tip

Lower complexity with containers

The deployment methodology enabled by containers and orchestration tools, such as Kubernetes, threatens to unseat established DevOps-aimed deployment tools, such as configuration management systems. Continue Reading

Tip

How to integrate containers in a continuous pipeline

Continuous delivery and deployment pipelines can easily adjust to accommodate containers, and the technology might even simplify the CI/CD toolchain. Continue Reading

Essential Guide

Where the rubber meets the road: Try out DevOps tech

Ready to get started? Head to the home lab. Do some practice laps with infrastructure as code, containers, automated configurations, version control and more. Continue Reading

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