DevOps Pipeline Layout Part 2
The way Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery, and Continuous Deployment is being practiced is not only improving the process but also keeping teams connected while making deployments faster. But is this reducing the previous workload and keeping things simplified?
In Part 1 of the DevOps Pipeline Layout blog, we learned that the initial key elements of a DevOps Pipeline are:
- Organizational Culture
- Design/Architectural Layout
- On-Prem Servers and Cloud Deployments
DevOps Pipeline Elements Continued
Now, let’s look at the remaining DevOps Pipeline elements from refactoring applications to use Microservices and monitoring the applications post–deployment.
1. Microservices and Orchestration Platforms
Do we really think Microservices architecture is the winning strategy and fits every firm? YES…and no.
Yes, microservices are changing entire organization platforms, strategies and bringing more teams together by lowering the workloads and having isolated environments. Increasing the number of services can result in information silos and can create chaos within teams. Along with this, the engineering leaders should take care of the operational complexity that comes along with microservices architecture that involves infrastructure, load balancing, scaling, service discovery, and monitoring aspects. We should also understand that not all applications are candidates for microservices.
Container technology has become the key to modern software development. Containers allow developers to write their code, build a new image version, create a new container from that image and run it locally the same as if it were deployed in production, (separate databases and integrations obviously). The developer can rest assured that the image has all the needed packages and dependencies. All unit, integration, regression, security, formatting, and any other tests can be run on the image as well. Once they are satisfied with the container, it can be submitted to a container registry such as Docker Hub to be shared with others with the confidence that it will work as expected no matter where it is deployed. With the popularity of Docker and cloud-native applications increasing day by day, container image management has become a vital part of modern software development.
2. Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment
Starting with manual deployments and provisioning a manual environment can be a way to ease into a new architecture or CI/CD process. Once you have it working as desired, always take a backup of the environment, code, and database. Shift the application into an automated process by using automated builds scripts, which will create your environment and resources automatically. Having runbooks ready for deployments and rollbacks is always a good idea.
For effective continuous deployment, it’s necessary to have approvals and gates between each environment and stage. Deployment and release should be done by a one-click button, meaning you should have push-button deployment to release any build artifacts and to release to any environments. Use of Infrastructure-as-a-Code (IaaC) such as CloudFormation and Terraform can help to create the complete infrastructure while configuration management tools like Ansible, Puppet, and Chef will smoothen deployments and bring agility to CI/CD. You can also update your pipeline to use code analysis and quality tools such as SonarQube.
‘Testing in production’ sounds scary, right? Many companies believe in having a staging environment as near to the production environment as possible, but does that really serve the purpose of testing?
The real traffic and scenarios vary in many ways when the system hits real users. Well, staging is not production. Production is production, and there is no alternative to it. Testing in production helps to build your confidence and knowing how reliable your systems are when it comes to real-world scenarios.
Now, don’t think we are saying not to have multiple environments or not to test until going into production. Quite the opposite actually, but we do realize that not all scenarios can be tested outside of the production environment.
Based on the criticality of the application and infrastructure perspective (keeping budget in view and business use case) we can have multiple environments, preferably around 3-4 environments such as Development (Dev), Quality Assurance (QA), User Acceptance Testing (UAT), Staging (Stag), and Production (Prod/Release).
4. Information Reporting, Monitoring, and Testing
Deployments made in any of our environments whether on physical servers, virtual machines, or cloud, it’s important to set monitoring alerts and validation after each deployment (manual or automated). In every stage, there should be reporting of logs, pipeline trace ability as well as dashboards to display and measure metrics. Data-analytics, real-time graphs on deployment metrics, and reporting the current trends of applications are some of the key areas which will reflect information reporting.
Resources and applications should be monitored 24*7, be it on infrastructure levels or application performance.
Testing should be done through all levels from unit tests, integration tests, smoke tests, user acceptance, and automated performance tests. After each round of tests, it’s advised that a validation team monitor the results and verify the expected business values.
Cyber Group’s DevOps CI/CD Pipeline and Layout
As each of these elements are very essential to any project, having the right DevOps mindset is equally necessary. If you need any assistance or advice on DevOps Culture, building your CI/CD pipeline, or in tools selection, please contact our team today!
Written by Jay Shah, Consultant
Jay Shah is a Cloud & DevOps Consultant at Cyber Group. He has track record of success helping enterprise customers gain operational efficiencies through the adoption of various open source tools by having cultural and digital transformation. He has been a speaker and a contributor to The Linux Foundation and his published research papers speak about the recent trends and changes in the IT, Cloud and DevOps world.
Reach out to Jay to learn more about DevOps implementation for your team!