An effective continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipeline must integrate cloud and DevOps tools seamlessly to ensure the build, compile, test and release of applications is accomplished efficiently and without friction.
Application architectures, internal processes and personal preferences mean organizations and teams set up the CI/CD pipeline differently, resulting in a diversity of infrastructure and tooling throughout software delivery pipelines. While innovation demands the freedom to use whatever is needed to deliver applications, the resulting diversity can be a significant integration challenge. What’s needed is a platform built for DevOps that seamlessly connects a DevOps ecosystem and CI/CD pipeline tools.
There are two ways to do this.
One is to use REST APIs. REST is a popular choice due to its simplicity and the fact that it builds upon existing systems and features of HTTP. It avoids the need to create new standards, frameworks and technologies. Another benefit of using an integrated approach based on REST is that many developers are familiar with key elements of the REST architecture, such as Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption and Transport Layer Security (TLS). Additionally, REST is language-independent. As such, developers can employ any language that uses HTTP when creating REST APIs so developers can choose technologies they are familiar with and that best suit their needs.
Another approach is to look for a platform that supports out-of-the-box integration with commonly used cloud and DevOps tools. Naturally, each company and DevOps team uses a specific set of tools. But it is safe to assume there are widely used tools that should be included in any list. Some useful plug-in integrations to look for include ones for Amazon S3, Azure DevOps, Bamboo, CircleCI, Github, Jenkins, TeamCity, Terraform and more.
Integration benefits and how to amplify them
Integrating cloud and DevOps tools into a CI/CD pipeline offers several benefits.
Built-in integration will help developers get the most value out of the pipeline. For example, out-of-the-box integration can be leveraged to help provide more automated testing and a quicker time to release. Why? If tools are not integrated, developers need to go through a slow, manual process to deploy, configure and optimize tools for their development environment. That is a time-consuming process. Those involved in the process lose time on their real work. Lacking integration, multiple teams throughout an organization may waste time doing the same processes to get the tools to work. And perhaps most troubling, manually integrating tools can introduce errors and potential security vulnerabilities.
Highly-integrated tools help encourage collaboration. In many companies, it is easy for different projects and different development teams to fall into siloed patterns of work. Different groups will use different tools. Having cloud and DevOps tools integrated into the CI/CD pipeline allows a de facto standardization of processes. And from that, best practices typically emerge from the familiarity of using the same tools. Smart companies will take advantage of the lessons learned and be sure to share that institutional knowledge amongst teams. Once a basic level of sharing is achieved, different groups are likely to work directly querying each other and working together to get the most out of the tools.
To realize the benefits of integrating cloud and DevOps tools in a CI/CD pipeline requires a suitable platform. The right platform should effortlessly deliver the infrastructure and application resources to the development teams.
A solution that provides self-serve access to infrastructure needs more than simply provisioning automation. A solution must help a company monitor resources utilization and costs. And specifically provide a way to tie costs back to business units, projects and individual developers.
With such an offering, a company gets the full benefits that arise when cloud and DevOps tools are integrated into a CI/CD pipeline.