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DevOps Pipeline: What Is It and How to Build One?

There might be a possibility that your development and operations team are working independently. This approach troubles only when combining the code is required. It is necessary to prepare and deploy the DevOps pipeline to ensure the productivity of the development team. DevOps is a collaborative term used for Development and Operations. 

DevOps is both a method for the development of mindsets and technology. DevOps, as a mentality, is about collaboration, teamwork, and exchange of knowledge. As a tactic, it’s about incorporating development and operations into a single, streamlined project. This article will provide you insights on a pipeline in DevOps and the underlying structure that supports its flow. Let’s begin!

What is the application delivery pipeline?

The term pipeline is commonly used by the Software Engineering team as a set of automated processes that permit developers and DevOps experts to compile, construct, and deploy their code independently, reliably, and efficiently. DevOps unifies the application delivery process in a constant flow that integrates design, development, testing, deployment, and operations with the objective of quicker and simpler delivery of applications. The application delivery pipeline is at the heart of the DevOps methodology that drives the creation and deployment processes during the application lifecycle.

The following figure gives an overview of the delivery process and its prominence on continuous integrated services.

DevOps Pipeline Lifecycle

The crux of the above figure is that pipeline in DevOps can:

  • Write code
  • Test the code
  • Deploy on server
  • Test and feedback
  • Fix issues
  • Deploy server in the live environment (production)
  • Constant monitor and measure
  • Repeat this process

You have understood the basic life cycle of the application delivery pipeline. Now let us understand-

What exactly is a pipeline in DevOps?

To understand the baseline of the DevOps pipeline, you first need to understand the following terms:

  • CI/CD refers to continuous integration/continuous delivery. With CI, several times a day, the system also incorporates the code updates into a single repository. As a result, it becomes easier to merge various changes in code and is, therefore, less time-consuming. You will also find integration problems early on, and the earlier you spot them, the easier it will be to focus on their resolution. CD, on the other hand, is about the incremental delivery of software updates to the production. CD serves as an extension of CI that allows the user to automate complete software release operation. It helps you to look across the unit tests and carry out other tests, including integration tests and UI tests. DevOps CI CD pipeline helps developers to conduct a more robust upgrade validation to ensure the bug-free launch of the system.
  • Continuous Testing is also a prominent component of the DevOps CI CD pipeline. With this, automated code integration checks performed during the CI process may be carried out. Continuous testing also identifies the risks of the release before it proceeds to the distribution pipeline, in addition to ensuring high-quality product growth. Testers write the test scripts before encoding begins. Consequently, after the code integration takes place, the tests start to automatically run one after the other.
  • Continuous Deployment progresses continuous delivery, and the changes that proceed through the automated testing successfully are immediately released into development. As a result, it requires several single-day development runs. While the aim of continuous delivery is to make the applications immediately available for sale, the practical process of moving it into the development is manual. This is where continuous implementation joins the picture. Thus, it helps the system to be deployed automatically via continuous deployment.
  • Continuous Monitoring System monitoring is a prerequisite to ensure optimal application performance. Rather than monitoring systems only, DevOps inspires them to track apps as well. You will constantly keep a check on the application results with constant tracking in place. The data thus obtained from monitoring application efficiency and issues can be used to identify trends and recognize areas of improvement as well.
  • Continuous Feedback DevOps pipeline is not yet in the limelight as compared to the other components of the DevOps pipeline lifecycle. However, continuous feedback is equally important. If you analyze, you’ll find that continuous feedback resounds very well with the foundation blocks of DevOps e.g., feedback for product improvement through stakeholders. Obviously, user satisfaction is the core value of every business! So, it is your responsibility to ensure that you and your end-users are on the same page.
  • Continuous Operations is a relatively new concept. Gartner defines continuous operations as the features of a data processing system, such as routine maintenance, mitigate or remove the need for expected downtimes. One 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week operating operation. The aim of continuous operations is to successfully handle improvements in hardware and software such that end users are only minimally disrupted.

The Hacks and Solutions in the implementation of the DevOps pipeline

You should know that a lot of stuff goes into implementing a DevOps pipeline from scratch, whether you are considering doing DevOps or are in the early stages of implementation. There is no single right answer to the “How do I execute DevOps exactly?”.   “Everything depends on multiple factors, such as the scale of the organization, the budget, the resources and the strategic results required from the implementation.

To begin with, get your Ops team on board! But why? Ops consider the very thing that they are programmed to disdain: transition. And indeed, it is difficult to break down contact walls between developers, IT, testers, and managers of companies. However, you reap the advantages if you win. Increased contact leads to improved teamwork and improves value – easier for the client.

You can implement the following solutions here:

  1. Define and execute the DevOps plan

Before the beginning of your DevOps journey, it is better to define and execute your plan. Planning upfront goes a long way towards a smooth DevOps move. Remember, it has been told you at the beginning of this article that DevOps is a mindset! This is the reason to bring together like minded people from various platforms to collaborate together to work for the unified goal. It will definitely speed up SDLC along with ensuring the high software quality.

  1. Upright Agile principles

If you are religiously following Agile methodology, then your success mantra of DevOps is justified. Be persistent in following at least CI/CD and CT workflows. DevOps require continuity to ensure the process of the quality of code and timely delivery to be maintained at every level of the pipeline. Marrying agile with DevOps will increase in bug-free code and minimize average development time. Agile emphasizes on producing apps by iterations. If you still use CI / CD for each of those iterations, you can speed up the time to market. At this stage, you can also utilize various tools like Lambdatest to ensure the cultural mindset and establishment of standard metrics to identify DevOps success. This could be achieved by testing in DevOps using Selenium Grid.

  1. Version control tools

Version control tools play a vital role in the success of the DevOps pipeline. And the right usage of version control tools is pivotal to your success. This means that all of the version code, digital assets, and binary files can be accessed in one location. This encourages teams to properly connect and interact and to deploy more efficiently.

  1. Usage of microservices

Microservices can be implemented in your pipeline and on your methods of growth. The use of microservices in the applications allows you to ensure that pipelines remain open and active. When you choose to modify or upgrade resources, these systems can also be easier to switch out. This makes it more agile and efficient for the pipeline. In your growth, using microservices means building applications composed of microservices. Developing applications as microservice sets could allow you to make applications more modular. Because you can reuse resources in different applications, it also allows you to render software quicker.

  1. Don’t hurry in deployments and releases.

You might benefit from having a manual phase between the stages of your deployment and release. Deployment is when a construct, such as pre-production or manufacturing, is moved to an environment. A release is when made open to the customers. Including a delay helps you to carry out additional research, allocate room according to need, or receive customer consent. It allows better control over installations as well. It is allowing you to manually determine how traffic in blue-green deployments is moved, for instance.

  1. Are you monitoring your DevOps pipelines?

When the pipeline is in operation, you should constantly be tracking it and reviewing it. Monitoring guarantees the operation of the scripts and resources is as planned and lets you find places where output can be enhanced. Creating and monitoring measurements for your system can be insightful. Some of the important metrics include:

  • Deployment frequency: In a given era, the number of deployments
  • Change lead time: The amount of time it takes to prepare and complete a transition
  • Mean time to recovery (MTTR): After a rejection, the total period of time it takes to recover your application
  • Change fail rate: The number of occasions that a deployment failure is triggered by changes relative to the overall number of deployments

How different DevOps pipeline tools fit together?

Look at the figure below for better understanding. Starting with the business needs of the DevOps model, understanding and planning their needs function accordingly. Once you identify an initial set of specifications, the development of software can begin. The output then runs continuously: automatic monitoring and implementation permit the introduction of new products in short intervals. And, to make sure everything is running smoothly, the entire DevOps pipeline cycle is traceable.

If at any level, it requires modifications, these can be easily modified without scratching your head from the beginning. In the requirements management tool, the updated needs are expressed and reported. They are sent to the marketing team from there so that they can execute the transition. Automation does its thing, once again, to ensure that any single development functions until implemented into the app and can be introduced easily.

Instead of developing bottlenecks, cross-departmental collaboration ensures instruments and processes streamline growth. With the right software, automation can be allowed and transparency improved over the length of the project.

(Source: https://www.perforce.com/blog/vcs/devops-pipeline-tools)

The journey of the Agile model to the DevOps model

The Agile manifesto states four basic levels of the software developed with the Agile model:

  1. People and communications over processes and tools
  2. Working software over extensive documentation
  3. Client coordinated effort over agreement negotiation
  4. Reacting to change over after an agreement

A good DevOps testing approach is the one designed to develop, validate, and deliver applications quicker and more regularly. If you are fortunate enough to start out without an existing coding community, then it is a smart idea to strive to build and simplify the product development process beforehand.

If you apply a DevOps pipeline to an established enterprise where you start, it depends on the current production and testing activities and the bottlenecks in the distribution phase of the applications. Such bottlenecks may involve costly, error-prone manual processes as well as poor-quality, production-failing big-bang rollouts, leading to dissatisfied customers.

Conclusion: It’s time to automate everything!

New technologies running on the cloud do not need heavy investment, and any small startup will grow to become the next revolutionary force in its business. This leads in virtually every sector to a highly competitive environment, and immediately produces the need for energy. Time is the essence and a secret to the quick delivery of software. Automated processes save time, improve efficiency, maintain continuity, and encourage R&D teams to pace and forecast their delivery, whether they drive the pledge to launch new implementations or revert back after a failure.

This resource, possibly, has touched on the main elements of a DevOps pipeline and has brought you a little closer to the ocean of the DevOps pipeline. This is just a small chunk of a large DevOps pipeline. As you must know by now, to construct a DevOps pipeline from scratch, you must get your hands on a lot of stuff at once. But once the pipeline is in operation, how you develop the applications and how you deliver it can be fully redefined. And, of course, in the long term, you would be reaping a lot of technological advantages. Happy pipelining testers!

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