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Pipeline Automation: The Axle of Any Successful DevOps Implementation

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Pipeline Automation: The Axle of Any Successful DevOps Implementation

Learn about the different kinds of pipelines, why it's essential to automate them, and the tools necessary for automating and monitoring them.

· DevOps Zone ·
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Automation has become the very skeleton that backs processes and projects in this era of continuous software delivery. But in DevOps, where the output between the project teams has to be interlinked in a seamless fashion, can mere automation in silos get the job done?

Devops Pipeline Automation

DevOps pipeline is the main line that connects and orchestrates individually automated sections of project development to create one successful DevOps structure. While talking about structured/pipeline automation, there seems to be a universal confusion between Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) pipeline to that of DevOps. The answer, as described by Manisha- co-founder of Shippable- is simple. The CI/CD pipeline is characterized as just a single activity in the entire assembly line, whereas a DevOps pipeline is defined as “a pipeline of pipelines.”

This distinction will help organizations to see beyond automation of individual structures to orchestrating the entire process as one large inter-connected assembly line. The good news is that the markets are seeing a healthy upsurge of competitive DevOps automation tools.

The Need for Automating DevOps Pipelines

Forrester’s Q1 2017 Global DevOps Benchmark Online Survey recorded that over 50% of their respondents have implemented DevOps and planned to expand but over 64% have reported that they were dissatisfied with “the time it takes to release features for customers”. The key here is that only 34% amongst them identified to have achieved complete and thorough automation from development to production.

As DevOps, a mainstream project model, gains more ground across markets, the gap between the expected and delivered results with mere silo-ed automation will get wider. A thorough re-envisioning of the DevOps method as an orchestrated structure with well-established, automated pipelines is the need of the hour.

Essential Components of DevOps Pipeline Automation Tools

A 2015 paper from Chef, titled “Automation and DevOps Workflow,” defines DevOps with different patterns that would characterize true DevOps practitioners. The paper also lists four important hallmarks of a successful DevOps workflow - velocity, consistency, scale, and feedback. Thus to achieve all of these parameters and derive true value out of DevOps implementation, organizations must seek a structured automation solution.

With a simple search for the DevOps automation results in hundreds of individual tools and complete pipeline execution packages. The core strengths and competencies of each of the tools are different; so are the individual organizations’ needs. Invariable to what the tool choices maybe, organizations must not overlook the following core components of pipeline automation tools.

Continuous Coding

Whether it is the Dev or the Ops part of the ecosystem, a solid coding environment is highly essential to run the entire setup. The bigger the organization, the more complex is the beehive and its workflow structures. DevOps teams have to ensure that the building component of their pipeline automation backs continuous, collaborative mode of coding for the entire project setup. With chef or puppet handling configuration and infrastructure programming and Docker for provisioning, a solid pipeline automation structure can be put together for the developers to get their setup running in a jiffy.

Automated Testing

The yang to the development’s yin. Without a competent testing setup, any DevOps pipeline would be forced to pause and break at every single step of the delivery and the teams will never be able to objectively evolve their products. DevOps teams competent with popular testing tools like Appium, Selenium, Cucumber, etc. can fix the testing parts of entire pipeline orchestration

Consistent Integration

A good DevOps implementation is expected to be sustainable with constant inputs integration, patch fixes, and subsequent deliveries, all without compromising the stipulated time-to-market metrics. An intelligent Integration component like Jenkins, one of the most powerful open source CI tools, would enable active looping between the dev and testing silos running real-time without any showstoppers.

Constant Monitoring

The show till the deployment of the product is just work half done. What follows is a crucial, rigorous process that ensures the continuity of the product but also understands and analyses the progress and pitfalls along the way through an efficient ticket management system. Overall, one of the most important components of monitoring is to ensure steady communication all along the way among the teams for a smooth sail. Tools like Nagios, NewRelic, AWS CloudWatch and the like are some of the effective, cost-efficient monitoring tools that can withstand the dynamic nature of a DevOps environment.

By viewing DevOps as a whole, automated pipeline, this reinvention of the wheel has ensured that the true message of this ideology stay- a collective and collaborative effort. By ensuring that the DevOps Pipeline Automation Framework has all these pre-requisites fulfilled with effective futuristic components, organizations can rest assured that the whole is even better than the sum of its parts.

To learn in-depth about how organizations can enable DevOps in a customer-driven marketplace through pipeline automation, register and follow the webinar series “4 Dimensions of DevOps.”

devops ,devops pipeline ,ci/cd ,continuous integration ,continuous deployment

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