For modern enterprise software engineering, CI/CD pipelines are essential for optimizing development processes. mgm relies on standardized methods and environments throughout the entire development, build, and deployment process. These are specifically designed for operating containerized applications in modern cloud infrastructures.
Even before the advent of build and deployment pipelines, classic build processes often encountered typical errors. Manual execution of many steps and the use of build or shell scripts were common practices, often leading to distributed knowledge and communication bottlenecks. Coordinating releases required significant communication efforts, while the multitude of deployment environments and configurations posed a complex challenge. Additionally, the start of the entire build chain took a long time.
From Monolithic to Agile: Microservices Orchestration as a Transformation Factor
Today, traditional build management methods often fall short in efficiently transforming source code into functional software. The reason: Modern development environments are increasingly required to align with agile demands and deliver software in ever shorter cycles. Traditional monolithic architectures are consequently being replaced by scalable and flexibly deployable microservices. These consist of standalone functional services with independent codebases, enabling faster deployment and development. Due to their distributed nature, complex communication and data management, as well as challenges in deployment and testing, microservices require careful planning and implementation. Especially in large or growing projects with numerous microservices, things can quickly become intricate.
When build and integration processes are distributed across multiple stages in large numbers, traditional build tools reach their limits. The solution? Orchestration tools – they unite these many steps and tools into a harmonious interplay. With just a few clicks, the entire sequence unfolds before our eyes. Results are not only presented but also meaningfully archived. Even with complex build and scripting steps, a single click is enough to create and automatically test the end product in record time.
From this necessity, the two approaches of Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Delivery (CD) emerged. They have revolutionized the way software is developed, tested, and delivered.
CI/CD: Definition and Benefits
CI and CD are agile practices in software development. Agile here means quickly producing a functional IT product. Studies have shown that the effort for maintenance and further development of software now accounts for more than half of the total costs. This means that rapid product development combined with early error detection is more likely to lead to success.
This is where Continuous Integration comes in, a process where code changes are regularly integrated into a shared repository, a central storage for data, documents, programs, metadata, and data models. Developers integrate their changes multiple times a day to detect issues early. This avoids extensive code changes with long development cycles and delays, significantly shortening development time. This enables teams to respond to change requests and fulfill them more quickly.
While Continuous Delivery focuses on automated deployment and testing, Continuous Deployment goes a step further by also including automatic and direct transition to the production environment – the automated release process, where changes are transferred to live operations without human intervention.
This can further increase the speed of software delivery, but it also carries the potential for unintended errors or disruptions. Therefore, thorough automation and testing are essential for smooth Continuous Deployment. Overall, CI/CD practices enable much more agile and responsive software development than traditional build management.
How is CI/CD Implemented?
CI/CD automates the path from code integration to deployment through Test-Driven Development (TDD), which usually involves several stages. First, the resulting code finds its way into a version control system like Git. This not only enables tracking changes but also promotes collaboration among multiple developers and reverting to previous code states.
The next step, Continuous Integration (CI), is crucial. In this process, the code is automatically checked and tested on an integrated development server after each commit – a confirmation of a specific change or multiple changes. The goal is to detect errors early and ensure smooth integration into the existing code.
Automated tests play a central role in ensuring that the code works flawlessly and has no unintended side effects. These include various tests, from unit tests to integration tests to acceptance tests. After successful testing, the code is transformed into an executable format ready for delivery. Here, either Continuous Delivery (CD) or Continuous Deployment (CD) comes into play. With Continuous Delivery, the code is deployed to a production-like environment for final verification. In contrast, Continuous Deployment automatically transfers the code to the production environment after passing tests. During operation, the application is continuously monitored to ensure performance and stability. These metrics provide valuable feedback for the development process to make continuous improvements.
So, Continuous Delivery aims to keep the application in a state where it can be moved to production ‘with a few clicks’ at any time.