Pavan Belagatti is a global DevOps influencer, tech writer, and storyteller. Currently, he is a Developer Advocate at Harness.io.
As businesses become increasingly software and digital focused, they are turning to software delivery and digital transformation to drive growth. In the digital age, software is at the heart of every aspect of business. Developers become the focal point while software drives the growth of the organization. Therefore, organizations need to choose the right set of technologies, tools, and practices to help their developers do a better job.
Companies have embraced the idea of code review and code optimization (i.e. code review taken to the next level) to help developers write better code. Likewise, they have also adopted DevOps and other cloud native best practices to make the whole software deployment process very smooth. GitOps is a new entrant in the industry, facilitating software deployments. It is also a term that has become popular in recent years in the software development market. This article explores the concept of GitOps.
What is GitOps: A detailed introduction
The term “GitOps” was coined by Alexis Richardson of Weaveworks in 2017. GitOps is a cloud-native approach that aims to speed up the software deployment process by using the power of the push/pull mechanism that uses the open version control system source git as a single source of truth. It boosts the CI/CD of Kubernetes-related deployments and manages the infrastructure in an easy way. It takes a more holistic approach to managing code, making it easier to track code changes.
It is an evolution of the traditional practice of IC/CD (Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery) which aims to automate the entire deployment pipeline. Git is used as the sole source of truth for all infrastructure and application code changes. GitOps creates an automated deployment pipeline for the infrastructure. The goal is to allow developers to collaborate on infrastructure changes without knowing the underlying systems. This way, developers can work on code in their own environment without worrying about the impact on production systems.
Simply put, GitOps is a DevOps practice for providing visibility into the production environment. It provides an audit trail of changes made to production environments, which can be useful when troubleshooting. It also makes it easier to identify when changes were made and by whom. GitOps also provides an easy way to roll back changes that may have caused production issues.
Many of you might be wondering, “How is GitOps different from DevOps?” Below is a self-explanatory comparison chart.
GitOps and CI/CD: hand in hand
Given the flexibility and agility of software development today, it makes sense for most software vendors to adopt a continuous delivery (CD) model. Software development has become continuous, with the ability to release software quickly, iterate on products and services to find bugs earlier, and evolve services as needed. It is important to remember that any approach to software development is an ongoing process. Even when you adopt a more traditional software development model, you are still committing to continuous software development with each new release. To keep your software development process agile and cohesive, you need to adopt an integrated software delivery model, which seamlessly integrates the different phases of software development.
Continuous integration and continuous deployment are the pillars of iterative software development. The approach is to automate the process of testing code each time it is pushed to a repository and to automate the process of merging code from different developers each time new code is ready for release. The result is faster software code iteration and a more streamlined development process that results in fewer bugs and more frequent releases.
With the emergence and popularity of cloud-native platforms such as Kubernetes, GitOps is becoming a default approach for deploying applications. Developers find GitOps useful and easy to use due to its simplicity and minimal learning curve. An agent-like technology will track the changes, and if there is a difference between the actual state and the desired state, it pulls the changes to achieve the desired state – so the system still works as specified.
GitOps makes pipeline management easy with a simple pull approach. If you work in an environment around software releases, you’ve no doubt heard the term “Pipeline Management”. In short, a continuous delivery pipeline is a series of procedures designed to help developers release code frequently and reliably, and it can be further simplified with GitOps.
Why is GitOps important?
The code/software deployment process was often seen as manual, but no more! Iterating code and deploying it isn’t something developers like to do manually, which is boring, tedious, and tedious. Developers love super-fast things, tools and approaches that make their job easier. This whole process of software deployment, maintenance, and tracking can be simplified with GitOps.
Not only that, GitOps doesn’t require developers to learn another shiny new tool; it uses git extensively, and developers are already expert in its use. Git and its robust extension ecosystem give developers a more efficient way to manage their code. The changes made will be visible with a simple pull/sync. GitOps facilitates configuration management and software deployments; it’s what developers like to do instead of tedious hard-coded configurations and scripts.
How to get started with GitOps
For some, GitOps may be relatively new and require some guidance. We’re very optimistic about the GitOps approach here at Harness, and our engineers are working on a superior GitOps experience for you. As Harness is already known for its modern continuous delivery platform, we know how to optimize workflows and pipelines to streamline your software development activities.
For companies that have adopted microservices and DevOps practices, GitOps is an added advantage. Manual CI/CD and using scripts to automate pipelines takes a lot of developer time and effort. Therefore, adopting the GitOps approach will free up your developers to work on important things that matter.
We assume that you use a source control management system such as GitHub, where your code repository resides, and that you practice containerization with Docker. The next step would obviously be to use an orchestration system like Kubernetes to manage and deploy your applications because GitOps works well with Kubernetes. Kubernetes is generally represented as a declarative system where we specify things via YAML files.
GitOps examines and analyzes our source control repository where our manifest files are present and compares it with what should be running in production. Then, if anything is changed in the manifest files or it finds a difference, it pulls and starts syncing the changes to keep the actual and desired states the same. This way, GitHub becomes a single source of truth. The ultimate goal of using GitOps is that the entire system and configurations are managed declaratively and not just applications.
GitOps continues to gain traction as more communities support this new approach, and it’s expected to be standard deployment practice for companies working with Kubernetes. GitOps gives developers more control over their code and helps speed up deployment. With the growing adoption of Kubernetes, GitOps is a blessing in disguise to help companies deploy their software in a much easier way.
Let’s move on to GitOps!
The New Stack is a wholly owned subsidiary of Insight Partners, an investor in the following companies mentioned in this article: Docker.
Characteristic picture Going through Pixabay.