Continuous deployment in DevOps process, a must-have

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Continuous Deployment in DevOps Processes

In our last article, we have presented to you the Continuous Integration (or CI) as a core principle in DevOps processes. Now that your main branch is continuously validated thanks to CI, we can address the next step: Continuous Deployment (or CD).

 📢 Traditionally, the deployment is done manually, following specific procedures. Due to human factors, the possibility of mistakes emerging increases greatly for each deployment.  It goes without saying that manual deployment requires a person in charge of this repetitive task which is not adding value to your project.

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What is Continuous Deployment?

The principal of Continuous Deployment is, in the extension of Continuous Integration, the automatization of your software deployment thanks to jobs in your pipeline. With this strategy of software development, the code’s branches that succeed the automatized cycle of tests are automatically transferred in your environments (for example the production environment), driving the modifications to the product’s users.

Schematization of the Main branch and the production branch during continuous deployment

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Continuous deployment: why and how to implement it?

Why implement it?

Continuous Deployment is set up in a DevOps strategy and relies on agile cooperation between the development and operational teams. In addition to the CI, CD will guarantee you permanent automatization and monitoring, all along your apps life cycle (from the integration to the deployment).

📢 Besides releasing your team by deleting manual and time-consuming tasks, Continuous Deployment will allow you to solve your visibility problems and focus on creating added value for your clients.

This way, while simplifying the code deployment, your time to market will be reduced, which will help your product gain in profitability.

How to implement it?

Before integrating Continuous Deployment in your development, you have to go through the first step: Continuous Integration.

To begin with the setup of Continuous Deployment, you need to link your work environments to your main branch. For example, you can build your environment in the following way 👇

📌 Development branch → Review environment

📌 Main branch → Staging environment

📌 Production branch → Production environment

Then, you have to think about the deployment condition you need to apply. Do you want to deploy at each new modification or do you prefer to wait a manual approbation before the deployment?

📢 The main goal of Continuous Deployment is the deployment of a new release of your software. If you deploy multiple replicate services, it will suit you more to apply a deployment strategy such as rolling update, blue/green or canary. You will limit the downtime and production mistakes.

It is important to note that, in case of mistakes, you or your team should be able to do a rollback, in the objective to retrieve the latest, and functional, state of your app!

Your Continuous Deployment pipeline is linked to your infrastructure. Besides the deployment of your software’s new release, you have to think about your whole platform, in order to notify all the components of the executed updates: service mesh, monitoring, load balancer, orchestrator… without forgetting about your database migration!

Thankfully, a lot of Open Source tools exist to execute your Continuous Deployment more easily. To name only a few:

📌 Terraform will allow you to supply your cloud infrastructure,

📌 Ansible, Chef, Puppet or even SaltStack are some excellent software deployment managing systems,

📌 If you are using Kubernetes: your CD job can rely on Helm to update your releases.

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Continuous Deployment: the benefits

Using Continuous Deployment is ensuring to your team a secure deployment! Among the benefits, you can find:

📌 a strong decrease of human mistake,

📌 you control your process from start to finish,

📌 your software deployment is done in a flash,

📌 in case of trouble, you can rollback easily!

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To conclude

Continuous Deployment is a pack of tools and good practices allowing you to automate your software deployment. Thanks to this process, you will decrease human mistakes and increase your app’s deployment speed.

Deployment will be less tedious for your teams and a high trust level will appear. Indeed, all the complexity of deployment is managed upstream, during the pipeline’s implementation, and not during each deployment. In addition, you are directly informed, in the first stage of development, in case of trouble.

By allying Continuous Integration and Deployment, you are implementing for your team strategies that are simplifying their everyday tasks. This will give them the opportunity to focus on real added value missions for your development and your company!

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