By implementing CI/CD in your software development process, you can build high-quality software faster and easier than ever before. However, despite its many benefits, many challenges still arise when scaling up CI/CD pipeline process, such as increasing throughput or reducing wait times, just to name a couple.
CI/CD Pipeline Explanation
CI/CD is a software development process that aims to shorten the time required to deliver new features by automating the build, test, and deployment process. The goal of CI/CD is to run multiple builds in parallel and have them automatically deployed when they pass their tests, saving time and effort.
CI/CD Pipeline Process
Checkout code: Checkout code from the Git repository or source code management system.
Compile code: Compile the source code using build tools like Ant and Maven.
Run unit tests: Run unit tests for the project to check if the project is working as expected.
Package artifacts: Package the compiled binaries into one or more archives such as JAR, WAR, and EAR files.
Deploy artifacts to a staging environment: Deploy the packaged binaries to a staging environment so testers can test them before they go live in production.
Run integration tests: Run integration tests on the packaged binaries deployed in the staging environment to ensure that everything works together as expected before going live in the production environment.
Why should you Scale Up/Goals when scaling up (given what a CI/CD pipeline executes)?
Scaling up your CI/CD pipeline is important for many reasons. It helps increase delivery speed, reduces errors, and improves product quality resulting in customer satisfaction. In short, it means a better quality of life for everyone in your organization.
Benefits of Scaling Up
- Efficient use of resources
Scaling up improves automation to help developers work more efficiently and productively with operations teams. The goal is to improve communication and collaboration between all parties involved in an application’s lifecycle, from development and testing to release and maintenance, allowing each stage of development to be completed as efficiently as possible.
- Better quality
The more people you have working on code, the better chance that someone will notice errors or flaws in what you’re producing (and fix them).
- Better visibility
Your processes and how long things take to produce results from start to finish.
How to Scale Up?
This is a great time to pause, review what you have done, and create CI/CD goals that align with your new direction. Your CI/CD pipeline is up and running, and it could be considered “production-ready” in some sense, but it’s still not ready for scale-up.
To get to that point, several steps need to be taken:
Design a Modern CI/CD Pipeline
The first step of the process is to design a modern CI/CD pipeline that allows you to build and deploy multiple applications simultaneously.
Establish a CD Pipeline for each Application
Once you designed your new CI/CD pipeline, it’s time to establish a pipeline for each application. This involves creating a workflow for each application and integrating them with your new CD pipeline.
Refine Workflows and Optimize Performance
Once your pipelines are up and running, it’s time to refine them by optimizing performance and improving efficiency where possible. This may include automating manual steps in your current workflow or adding new tools that help speed things up along the way.
Expand the Scope of CD
In this step, you will expand the scope of your Continuous Integration and Delivery by adding more teams to the process. This step aims to increase visibility into the quality and progress of your software development processes.
Standardize the Implementation of CD Processes
Define a set of standards for implementing continuous integration and delivery processes in your organization. By standardizing these processes, you can ensure that all teams use consistent tools and processes to build their code and deploy it into production environments.
How are CI/CD Goals Measured?
You can measure the success of your CI/CD goals with the following metrics:
- Agility: The speed at which you can create and deploy new features to production.
- Automation: The human intervention required in your development process, including manual testing and code review.
- Dependability of infrastructure: How often your environment is up and running and how often it needs maintenance.
- Test pass rate: How many tests do you run on each commit, or how many tests pass across at any given time?
- The number of bugs: How many bugs are found before they make it into production?
- Defect escape rate: How often defects escape into production. This metric is calculated by dividing the number of defects in production by the number discovered during testing (also known as Defect Density).
How to Create CI/CD Goals when Scaling Up
To scale beyond a few machines, it is important to have specific goals for your team. Let’s look at some common goals:
Whether you’re running manual or automated tests, it’s important to be able to identify and fix bugs quickly. If a bug is identified by your customers but not fixed, it can hurt your brand. You want to quickly identify the root cause of the issue and fix it before any customers are affected.
Your risk management strategy should include a plan for how you will mitigate risks if they occur. For example, what steps will you take if a new deployment breaks something in production? Will you roll back the change? Will you manually update the broken component? This kind of planning helps ensure that when an incident occurs, there’s no question about what needs to happen next.
Automating tests ensures that they are always up to date and can be run quickly and easily on new code. If you have a large number of tests, it may not be possible to run them manually every time you change something. The CI server will execute all your tests automatically whenever new code is committed to the repository.
This means that if a developer accidentally breaks one test or makes a change that causes another test to fail unexpectedly (when it shouldn’t have), it will be picked up immediately by the build and reported back to the developer.
How to Set Up your CI/CD Goals?
When setting up your CI/CD goals, you should consider the following:
- Measurable. The goal must be quantifiable so that it can be measured when the goal is achieved.
- Specific. Make sure the goal is clear about what needs to be done and when it needs to happen.
- Actionable. Your chosen metrics need to reflect activities under your control; don’t set yourself up for failure by trying something out of your control!
Best Practices to Create a CI/CD Pipeline that Works
- Plan your pipeline. Before setting up your pipeline, you should define the scope of work and tasks that need to be completed. This will help you identify what tools to use, where they should be installed, and how they should work together.
- Set up tools. Once you know what tools are needed for the project, set them up orderly so everyone can use them without any problems later in the process. Feel free to ask for help if you need it!
- Configure repository settings for the CI CD pipeline repository (e.g., GitHub).
- It’s important not only because this is how developers work together but also because it gives management control over which commits go into production when code gets merged into main branches.
We’ve set the basics of CI/CD explained and discussed all you need to know about scaling CI/CD pipelines. Scaling up is a very important step in the CI/CD process. If you want to be successful in scaling, you need to choose goals that are small and clear. Scaling should include feedback loops, so make sure your goals will be easily attained and that you have a clear method of continually improving.
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