What is continuous integration and continuous delivery

Both continuous integration and continuous delivery are part of the larger continuous delivery pipeline, which is a set of practices that enable rapid, reliable software releases at scale. In order to achieve continuous delivery, teams must first implement continuous integration and continuous testing. Once these practices are in place, they can then move on to continuous deployment.

Azumo Research
December 7, 2022
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Both continuous integration and continuous delivery are part of the larger continuous delivery pipeline, which is a set of practices that enable rapid, reliable software releases at scale. In order to achieve continuous delivery, teams must first implement continuous integration and continuous testing. Once these practices are in place, they can then move on to continuous deployment.

Continuous integration (CI) is a development practice that requires developers to integrate code into a shared repository several times a day. Each check-in is then verified by an automated build, allowing teams to detect problems early.

Continuous delivery (CD) is a software development technique in which continuous integration, continuous testing, and continuous deployment are used together to help teams rapidly release high-quality software. This approach helps organizations deliver new features, updates, and bug fixes more quickly and reliably than traditional software development methods.

What is Continuous integration?

Continuous integration is a practice that encourages developers to integrate their code into a shared repository frequently. By integrating regularly, developers can avoid the issues that can arise from large, infrequent code merges, such as code conflicts and integration errors. In addition, continuous integration helps teams stay on the same page by providing a single view of all project activity.

Software development is a collaborative process in which many people work on parts of a product, features, or bug repairs. To complete a single end result, all of these code modifications must be combined. Manually integrating all of these changes, however, may be almost impossible and will almost certainly result in conflicting code changes as several developers work on various changes.

The main drawback of using continuous integrations is that they're difficult to track, especially if the developer uses a monorepo or other complex VCS. In order for developers to continue pushing their code to the version control system (VCS), continuous integrations are an ideal solution. These modifications are verified, and new builds are generated from the new code, to ensure that the new code does not have any errors. This new code will go through automated testing built the developer or a QA engineer.

The purpose of this testing is to ensure that the modifications do not have any negative effects on the application. It also ensures that all code changes are thoroughly validated, tested, and received prompt feedback from the pipeline in the case of a problem, allowing developers to swiftly address it.

What are Continuous Integration tools?

There are a number of continuous integration tools available that help developers implement continuous integration practices in their workflow. Some popular continuous integration tools include Jenkins, Travis CI, and TeamCity. These tools allow developers to automate the process of integrating code into a shared repository and ensure that it is always in working order before being deployed.

Some other key tools for continuous integration include version control systems like Git or Subversion and code quality tools like SonarQube or PMD.

Additionally, continuous integration tools often provide features such as code coverage reports and build status notifications, which help developers monitor the progress of their continuous integration pipeline.

What is Continuous Delivery

Continuous delivery is a software development practice that enables teams to rapidly release updates for their application with minimal manual effort. This continuous delivery pipeline typically includes continuous integration, continuous testing, continuous delivery, continuous deployment, and release automation.

Continuous delivery requires a slightly different set of tools, as it focuses on automating the software release process. In addition to continuous integration tools, continuous delivery pipelines often include release automation tools like Puppet or Chef, and monitoring tools like Nagios or Splunk.

Chef and Puppet are two popular continuous delivery tools that allow developers to automate the software release process. Using these tools, developers can configure their continuous delivery pipelines so that new code updates automatically go through a series of automated tests and checks before being released to end users. These tools also enable teams to easily manage different versions of their software, ensure continuous compliance with regulatory requirements, and more.

What is Continuous Monitoring as part of continuous delivery.  

Continuous Monitoring is all about the ability of an organization to detect, report, respond, contain and mitigate the attacks that occur, in its infrastructure.

Continuous monitoring is nothing new; it's been around for a while. Security experts have done static analysis of the system log, firewall logs, IDS logs, and IPS logs for years. However, it did not provide adequate analysis or response.

Today's Continuous Monitoring technique allows us to aggregate all of the events I've covered thus far, co-relate them, compare them, and then assess the company's risk posture.

What is Terraform?

Terraform is a tool for building, changing, and versioning infrastructure safely and efficiently. Terraform can manage existing and popular service providers as well as custom in-house solutions. Configuration files describe to Terraform the components needed to run a single application or your entire datacenter.

Terraform generates an execution plan describing what it will do to reach the desired state, and then executes it to build the described infrastructure. As the configuration changes, Terraform is able to determine what changed and create incremental execution plans which can be applied.

The infrastructure Terraform can manage includes low-level components such as compute instances, storage, and networking, as well as high-level components such as DNS entries, SaaS features, etc.

With many of our customers we recommend Terraform if you are looking for a tool that can help you build, manage, and version infrastructure safely and efficiently, Terraform is the right choice. Its powerful configuration language allows you to easily describe your infrastructure requirements, while its support for a wide range of service providers and custom in-house solutions makes it easy to manage all aspects of your IT.

What are the advantages of a CI/CD pipeline?

Continuous integration and continuous delivery are essential tools for modern software development. These practices help teams to collaborate more closely and efficiently, streamlining the development process and allowing them to release new features and updates at a faster pace. By adopting continuous integration and continuous delivery, organizations can stay ahead of their competition, deliver higher quality software, and empower developers to focus on more innovative tasks.

In short, the advantage of having a CI/CD are clear:

  • Streamlined development process
  • Faster release cycles
  • Higher quality software
  • Empowered developers
  • Stronger team collaboration
  • Increased competitiveness and innovation in the marketplace.

The rise of DevOps, CI/CD, and other similar initiatives has helped to support all aspects of the delivery pipelines, allowing for new paradigms such as GitOps, Database DevOps, and DevSecOps—and more is on the way. At Azumo we have been focused on building great DevOps teams for AWS, Azure and Google Compute for many years.

Simply put, continuous integration and continuous delivery are techniques that help teams rapidly release high-quality software by bringing together development best practices like continuous testing, continuous deployment, and continuous monitoring. Whether you are just getting started with continuous integration or looking to implement continuous delivery at scale, there are many resources available to help you get started. So why not give continuous integration or continuous delivery a try today?

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