Setting Up an Efficient CI/CD Pipeline

By Flux7 Labs
January 21, 2016


Many developers born in the world of agile startups view continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) as accepted standard requirements for software development. Yet many companies, particularly large enterprises with traditional infrastructure, still struggle to make this approach part of their development process.

Today, we’re reviewing the status and value of the code delivery pipeline and how adding cloud-based services, containers like Docker and automation can deliver big dividends in lower development costs, 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.

Continuous Integration and Delivery in Modern Development Environments

Continuous integration is the practice of automatically integrating and testing software each time a developer commits a piece of code into a shared repository.

Continuous delivery is another design practice, in which developers use automation to accelerate the software delivery process. Like CI, CD is a high-value process because it enables programmers to cut the overall cost of software development, aster delivery of high-quality code makes it easier for companies to improve customer satisfaction, capture new markets and gain a competitive advantage.

The Need for Speed: Why an Optimized Development Environment Matters
Businesses with a digital component, which includes most category leaders now,  are discovering that getting high-quality code to their customers is an essential part of business survival. This is putting pressure on IT and development teams to update their processes, establish IT as a Service model and create frameworks that ease code delivery.

Companies wanting to accelerate time to market need to optimize their development environment by automating their processes. Optimizing CI/CD pipelines deliver significant value by minimizing the time and costs of:

  • Local test, QA and production processes.
  • Promoting code from one development stage to the next.

When you engage in CI, you’re cutting down on the time it takes to identify problems and their causes. And, CD automates the cumbersome and time-consuming tasks that slow down the release of software code.

Ingredients of Effective CI/CD Optimization
To optimize the CI/CD development model, companies need to automate their build, integration and testing processes as well as provisioning and retiring infrastructure components.

CI practices automate the software build and validation process, which ensures a configured sequence of operations every time a software change is checked into the source code management repository.

Organizations will need to leverage infrastructure resources (virtual machines, storage devices and networking assets) to automate the build, integration, and testing the code under development

Flux7’s Focus on  CI/CD Pipeline Optimization

At Flux7, innovation means we consistently build environments, where developers can:

  • Try new ideas and architecture changes on their own.
  • Run concurrent (parallel) environments.
  • Break and recreate dev and test environments without worrying about consequences.

This is a big job, but we manage it by using cloud-based services, Docker containers and lots of automation and best practices. We use these resources to build code delivery pipelines that are secure and agile.

Value of Optimized Developer Workflows
At Flux7, efficient developer workflows in a cloud-based environment are the foundation of pipeline optimization. Their importance relate to the need to:

  • Control ever-increasing developer labor costs. Your monthly developer labor cost is almost guaranteed to exceed the monthly cost of your cloud server setup. Keeping your developers working efficiently means you get the most out of that labor and can focus that on what projects are bringing the most value to the business.
  • Find developers with the required skillset. Hiring the right talent is costly and time-consuming. If you can help your developers work more efficiently, you can avoid the search costs. And, building a reputation as a company that supports developers helps attract new talent.
  • Accelerate time to market. It’s possible to improve the performance of less productive developers by accelerating their work process with CI and CD and by building best practices through automation.
  • Avoid rework-related slowdowns. Rework comes at a cost of time and effort. Automating development processes can avoid many of the human errors that cause rework.
  • Get a clear understanding of developer activities. When we interview developers and IT team members, what emerges from these discussions is astonishing. Companies learn that they really don’t know as much as they thought they did about their employee’s day-to-day activities and workflow.

That’s why we strongly believe that workflow reviews should be part of any IT infrastructure audit

Click the button below to read more about CI/CD in our paper “Optimized Code Delivery Pipelines; DevOps, Docker Containers and Automation.”