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For DevOps teams, a fully-optimized CI/CD pipeline can make all the difference. Here, find out what a CI/CD pipeline is and how it can help you.
CI refers to continuous integration and CD refers to continuous delivery.
Continuous integration is a software development practice in which developers merge all code changes to a version control tool. Continuous integration automates the process of building and testing code. By integrating the code continuously, defects can be more easily avoided.
Continuous delivery is a DevOps practice in which code changes are automatically passed along to a testing or production environment. In this way, continuous delivery expands on the code changes automated within continuous integration.
The purpose of CI/CD is to enable teams to automate code changes and deploy them to the testing or production environment.
Automating the CI/CD process saves time and eliminates manual errors. Teams also benefit from faster feedback and increased visibility.
A CI/CD pipeline is the key to DevOps. It enables you to automate steps in the software delivery process — from code builds to automated testing to deployment.
CI/CD can make complicated processes from development to delivery more efficient. It can reduce the number of escaped defects. And it can even accelerate delivery.
But in order to get there, teams need to establish strong automation across the entire pipeline. Keep reading to learn about the benefits of a CI/CD pipeline and how to make yours better.
Continuous testing starts early in the CI/CD pipeline — before traditional testing. And it occurs often, as code is written.
The continuous delivery pipeline enables teams to deliver earlier and more frequent releases of software.
Code can be built, tested, and deployed continuously as part of the release workflow. This results in faster feedback, higher quality, and accelerated development.
A continuous delivery pipeline enables:
You can use a SAFe continuous delivery pipeline to improve your workflows. This is important for helpnig teams release on demand.
Having a strong pipeline is important. The industry is still getting there. Only 43% of developers deploy on demand or multiple times a day, according to the 2019 Global Developer Report. But for those with a strong pipeline, the benefits are numerous.
Here are the internal (1–3) and external (4–6) benefits of a strong CI/CD pipeline.
For those who continuously deploy code, they find they have better insights into developer capacity — as much as 25% more. This increased visibility can help the entire DevOps team. Everyone on the team will know where the process is at. Receiving test results can help them understand which code changes cause breaks. Greater visibility allows team to plan their work ahead, which allows teams to focus on what matters.
Teams with established pipelines experience greater levels of stability. They experience breaks less often, thanks to a predictable pipeline. Because code is constantly being integrated and deployed, it ensures that all working pieces fit together. As such, teams also benefit from higher quality releases.
Slow feedback — or a lack of it — can seriously delay DevOps. Fortunately, the pipeline can accelerate the feedback loop. With each code commit, you’ll get quick feedback on whether or not it caused any breaks.
Faster feedback also enables quicker fixes for the team. These fixes are also easier, because they’re detected earlier and team members have access to any code version.
A strong pipeline keeps things moving along. For example, a single CI process to cover gating aspects seamlessly delivers software between various team members. And this translates into faster delivery for your customers.
Teams with increased visibility through fast feedback benefit from better focus. This increased focus allows teams to develop a stronger roadmap based on insights, such as cadence history.
Teams can adopt new technologies and innovative trends that can position the product better than the competition.
In some cases, product managers will decide on such adoption. However, in some cases existing customers or prospects will demand it — for example, support for new technology that can only be added to the product through a flawless DevOps engine.
For any team looking to establish a strong continuous delivery pipeline, the primary focus is in automation. Note that you need to have strong automation across the board — not just in testing.
You need to automate the environment that is required. You also need to automate the acceptance of code changes and various types of testing, including:
When you have a strong pipeline, you eliminate waste across all stages. With optimized resources and a stable pipeline, teams have full control over all software activities. And by mixing types of build-acceptance testing with proper CI, teams can receive fast and timely feedback. This translates into a reduced number of escaped defects.
Perfecto establishes the foundational automation that the pipeline relies on. Its stable, self-healing lab is always on and always up to date so testing can execute continuously.
Perfecto offers support for all open source frameworks. No matter what your toolchain is, Perfecto can plug and play into those solutions. Perfecto integrates with an array of continuous integration tools, such as Jenkins, Azure DevOps, TeamCity, and Circle CI.
Perfecto also provides skillset-matched automation tools. These help reduce test flakiness and can accelerate the testing process. Plus, Perfecto offers immediate, actionable feedback with the CI dashboard and smart analytics.
Perfecto can provide the test automation your pipeline needs. It’s the only end-to-end continuous testing platform on the market for web and mobile apps. And it can help you test at DevOps speed.
Try testing with Perfecto today. Get your free trial.
DevOps Chief Evangelist & Sr. Director at Perforce Software, Perfecto
Eran Kinsbruner is a person overflowing with ideas and inspiration, beyond that, he makes them happen. He is a best-selling author, continuous-testing and DevOps thought-leader, patent-holding inventor (test exclusion automated mechanisms for mobile J2ME testing), international speaker, and blogger.
With a background of over 20 years of experience in development and testing, Eran empowers clients to create products that their customers love, igniting real results for their companies.