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DevOps Deployment Pipeline: How to Build, Integrate and Execute

Computer displays arranged in an infinity symbol to illustrate a DevOps deployment pipeline

A crucial thing to note about the DevOps deployment pipeline is that it's highly project-dependent. It will change based on the team members available, the overall strategy, the context of the project, and more. However, regardless of the project type, there are some common threads and needs.

One of the biggest is automation. If the organization can automate the steps in their project, they should. This enhances overall results and ensures that necessary requirements are tested and met every time. Most of these solutions will arise from DevSecOps best practices. If the organization follows these, many of the steps towards a seamless deployment are streamlined.  

What Is Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment? 

When considering DevOps deployment, one subject that will come up, again and again, is Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment (CI/CD). While the two DevOps best practices are often used together, they refer to two separate functions.  

Continuous Integration

Continuous Deployment 

Continuous integration centers on code. There may be dozens of developers, all working on separate code changes in different software sections. Continuous integration covers merging all these code changes together into the main branch and testing them.  

In some cases, this step will be preceded by continuous delivery. In delivery, the code is automatically sent to a testing or production stage upon its completion. Then, upon successful testing, it ships to all customers. This step is called continuous deployment. 

The CI/CD pipeline does two things to help DevOps deployment:

  1. It allows testing at a granular level
  2. It breaks code changes down to smaller, more manageable segments. 

Meanwhile, developers no longer need to worry about a massive release on a single day. Instead, they implement changes as they make them—and they verify those changes with frequent testing and deploy incrementally. 

Best Practices for Every DevOps Deployment 

Security needs to drive DevOps deployment, turning it into a DevSecOps process. In doing so, organization takes the steps necessary to automate security at every stage. While it is possible, and sometimes needed, to build manual steps into the process, this should be the exception rather than the rule. If it can be automated, it should be. That's true of every DevOps deployment, regardless of the specific project. There are also a few other common threads that will streamline the process and shorten the development life cycle: 

  • Automate testing: A massive amount of testing can be integrated into the CI/CD pipeline. Performance, stress, load, configuration, security, and integration testing help the developer understand how the code is performing and how it supports the overall system. Automation is far better than a simple developer review where they take a quick look at the code and let it go live. It's objective, while those developer reviews are subjective and prone to error. 
  • Monitor applications: Proactive monitoring of application infrastructure helps teams avoid issues where a bug causes the system to fail upon release. This is another step that can be automated using various tools that will allow for a real-time understanding of the performance of the individual app. 
  • Integrate changes and configurations: Configuration management involves the review of all the various system-wide needs of a program. Meanwhile, change management centers on updating those processes. Integration of these two components supports management from a centralized place. 
  • Support real-time data insights: Test results and overall run time should be reported to some centralized space to allow for change reviews and evaluations. This step makes it much easier to resolve issues by providing a road map of system updates. 

The DevOps deployment pipeline will be different for every system, but good CI/CD practices and automation should be part of every project. This strategy allows developers to check and release programs in segments while supporting centralized management. Overall, the developer can build better, safer software while shortening the development lifecycle.