Continuous Integration, Continous Delivery, and Continuous Deployment may follow pre-defined fundamental principals but they differentiate in basic processes. Each organization will follow its own methods and the frequency of release cycles depends on their individual needs. It’s important to note that this isn’t a one size fits all model. The overall purpose of these practices is to streamline product releases to users while reducing wasted processes.
It’s time to have a new perspective on software development, from a stronger focus on automation and better collaboration. Ultimately, we need to talk about Continuous Integration, Delivery, and Deployment.
Continuous Integration (CI)
CI is a development practice where developers integrate code changes in a centralized shared repository. They validate these changes through a series of automated tests. If there are any problems with the integration process you need to fix them before proceeding. Developers are responsible for ensuring that integrated branches work from the start.
Attributes that set CI apart include the way that developers write the code, perform unit tests and commit the package to a centralized server repository. The software changes must be frequently merged as much as multiple times a day. The best way to work around these multiple changes is to use automation tools and server resources. This will help create a healthy test environment. Finally, feedback on an integrated build performance allows developers to have better insight into any potential issues.
Continuous Delivery is an extension of the CI stage but features automated release capabilities. Any code that is continuously integrated must be further tested for performance in order to be approved for release. Best practices mean that the code will be deployed into a test environment that is a replication of the production environment. It’s important that every new feature update is ready to reach users after its acceptance. By creating an automated, repeatable and deployable release process it becomes as easy as a single click.
What makes CD different from CI is that the release process is short, repeatable and automated. Moreover, there is also a strong emphasis on testing and builds. Through this, each feature should be deployable straight after manual approval.
Continuous Deployment is the next stage of Continuous Delivery. This is where deployment production is automatic when a valid release cycle is finished. The only thing that can prevent any updates from going live is a failed test. Releases are often aimed at a smaller group of users in order to get feedback.
It’s important that your DevOps team share a common understanding of CD. Catch problems early on so that feature releases can be automatically deployed into production. What makes CD different is that there is no human intervention preventing deployment from going into production as the release process is automated. CD drastically reduces the time between developers writing code changes and users experiencing the updated software functions. It can only take a few minutes between committing the change in code and the deployment going into production. You need to pass all automated tests to continue onwards.
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