Best Blogs 2016: Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery

By Flux7 Labs
December 29, 2016


continuous integration and continuous delivery

This week we are highlighting the most talked about issues from the Flux7 blog in 2016. While new AWS services are always being announced, sometimes making it hard to keep up, we found that a lot of discussion revolved around process management and how to best use new features and tools to streamline DevOps processes like continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD).

As we all know CI/CD is a key tenet of successful DevOps with automation playing a starring role. Whether you are getting features to internal customers faster or bringing new products to market before the competition, a continuous delivery pipeline helps speed time to delivery, generating greater value to the business. And when it came to delivering the greatest value to our readers on the topics of CI pipelines and deployment pipelines, these posts scored:

Setting up an Efficient
CI/CD Pipeline
Starting at the foundation of the topic, this article discussed how to achieve efficiency in your CI/CD pipeline. While many developers born in the world of agile startups view CI/CD as accepted standard requirements for software development, many companies, particularly large enterprises with traditional infrastructure, still struggle to make this approach part of their development process. As a result, this article reviewed the status and value of the code delivery pipeline and how adding cloud-based services, container technology like Docker  and automation can deliver big dividends in higher software engineer productivity, lower cost, higher quality results and faster times to launch. By focusing on optimizing a delivery mechanism for value, versus just delivering more code, code delivery pipelines can serve as a core to digital business.

Amazon Pipeline Starter Kit for CD
Not alone in recognizing the importance of a continuous delivery pipeline, AWS launched a pipeline starter kit for CD, which we found ourselves reviewing in detail. In all, we had a keen appreciation for the new AWS solution that streamlined CD for our clients within AWS. We also discussed other elements organizations looking to excel at CD and DevOps could consider to bring additional value by helping further streamline and/or automate DevOps and CD.

AWS CodePipeline, CloudFormation & Continuous Delivery
CD is a core Flux7 strategy for implementing DevOps-based IT modernization. And, at Flux7, we always view DevOps as streamlining the delivery of not just Code but also the delivery of Infrastructure, Server Configuration, and Security Rules. Among these, efficient delivery of infrastructure and configuration are both very critical for full stack agility. For our customers in AWS, our typical choice for infrastructure delivery is CloudFormation (CF). We like AWS CloudFormation because it is native to AWS, follows a simple YAML or JSON syntax, and has deep integration with other AWS Services such as the AWS Service Catalog. As a result, this article dives in to examine how to use CodePipeline with CF for effective CD.

YAML and AWS CloudFormation: Simplifying Template Creation
Dovetailing on this article about CF and CD, we published a piece on the benefits of being able to use CF with YAML. Specifically, we were excited about three new feature benefits:

  • A new string substitution intrinsic function that made it easier to create strings on the fly;
  • A shorthand syntax for intrinsic functions that enables you to write more complex templates more efficiently; and
  • A dot notation for accessing attributes more easily.


Converting a CF Template from JSON to YAML 

Carrying forward the idea of simple CF template creation with YAML, we published a template to easily convert your existing JSON templates to YAML. The advantage to using YAML in creating your CloudFormation Templates rests in YAML’s clean syntax. Unlike JSON, with YAML you don’t have to keep track of the many JSON braces and commas which can cause unnecessary headaches and delays. We hope you enjoy this template as much as many of our readers have throughout the year.

As a well-read and resourced topic in 2016, we plan to continue our coverage and analysis of CI pipelines and continuous delivery. Please sign up below to get future articles on the topic direct to your inbox.

And, for further reading on the topic, check out our white paper on achieving Optimized Code Delivery Pipelines.

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