Agile software development has been dominating the IT industry over recent years. One of the pillars it stands on is the concept of continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD).
Read this article to learn in detail what CI/CD means and why it can be profitable for your business.
Continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) is the software development concept based on assembly line principles. It allows for the merging of just-written code into the main codebase, so that software is produced and tested incrementally, in small pieces, and can be released at any time.
The concept allows you to run different types of tests at each stage (integration aspect) and complete each stage with the deployment of custom code into the actual product that end-users can see (delivery aspect).
CI/CD brings a completely new way of doing things in the IT industry, replacing big releases by the incremental deployment of new features as soon as they are ready. This software engineering approach allows developers to update services several times a day. Moreover, it automates the accomplishment of almost all the production procedures with the help of various tools. We can definitely say that CI/CD is the new era of agile development.
|Read also: Five Best Continuous Integration Tools for Agile Development|
What are the benefits of continuous integration and delivery for business? Well, this process consists of small and frequent changes (building, testing, releasing), meaning that the software is produced in short cycles. Small updates can be rolled back much easier if there are troubles.
The main benefit of CI/CD is that the whole application remains consistent and reliable in any event. Other advantages include the reduced cost and faster time of development, higher efficiency and better team cooperation. Still, the adoption of continuous integration and continuous delivery within companies has some challenges that should be considered.
Let’s talk about all the aspects in more detail to find out how continuous integration and delivery make your business better.
Business Benefits of CI/CD
Markets can be extremely flexible and unpredictable today: prices may go up and down as a consequence of political situations or natural disasters; laws and regulations are constantly modified; consumers change their preferences; producers modernize their strategies. This is why any modern organization needs to be able to react quickly to both external and internal changes in order to stay a step ahead of the competition.
Earlier, this was almost impossible because the release of an update was preceded by many phases, deployments were infrequent, chaotic and error-prone.
With continuous delivery and integration, developers can automate build, deployment, environment provisioning and testing processes, all of which help reduce time-to-market. Short and fast CI/CD cycles translate to a faster response to any fluctuations.
No wonder that CI/CD lowers the risk to your system stability and customer service. When the infrastructure and processes are regularly used, modified and tested, it is much easier to notice and resolve issues, than if the code is looked at only once every few months.
A small change doesn’t cause many issues to the whole system in case of a failure because it can be easily diagnosed and fixed. Most errors are discovered before deployment to production, as scripts are tested repeatedly. Thus a great value that continuous integration and delivery may bring is reliable releases.
Due to CI/CD, developers have less unplanned work connected with discovering and fixing problems. Therefore, they have more time to focus directly on the development process and user research. As a result, the quality of your product can be increased tremendously. Better quality is also achieved by the frequent and quick user feedback that allows the team to work only on essential features and not spend significant effort on nonessential ones. Significant time savings for DevOps teams improve productivity and efficiency to a great extent.
Big releases mean big costs. Moreover, if things go wrong, big releases result in severely negative consequences and even higher expenses. Small releases and their possible failures are cheaper and less time-consuming. Costs are also reduced due to automation because it replaces numerous manual actions performed by team members. Depending on the team size, savings can be significant, while the quality will not be affected.
A happy team means a more productive team. Unfortunately, technical talent is getting burned out at the workplaces because they are constantly under the pressure of fire-drills and last-minute bug fixings.
One more problem that developers may face and that leads to dissatisfaction and low efficiency is writing code that never gets to be used. Sometimes they don’t even know whether their ideas work or not. This kind of senseless work affects productivity and the general morale of the team.
On the other hand, continuous integration/delivery reduces the stress of the technical staff and lets them concentrate on what really matters, and thus perform at higher levels. When there’s no stress of last-minute workloads and frustration at writing useless code, there are opportunities for creativity. This is how continuous delivery helps businesses grow.
What’s more, best practices of CD create a significant cultural shift from bringing separate teams into a single one. In this cooperative team, every specialist performs his/her specific duties (writing code, testing, or infrastructure configuration) just the same, but they take on the responsibility for the software development and release process together, which ensures that they are collaborating with one another. So, if something goes wrong, they refrain from reciprocal reproaches, and instead, work to recover the system jointly.
Business Challenges of CI/CD
CI/CD adoption, nevertheless, has some obstacles and is not always the right choice for a company. You should determine whether the business value of continuous integration/delivery is necessary for your company.
There are organizations that are not in a competitive industry, and their service doesn’t need daily changes. Their customers also may not want frequent updates. In this case, the continuous approach would not be needed.
Some domains have regulations that require large-scale testing of new versions before they are allowed to be deployed, so CI/CD wouldn’t be a good fit. This concerns telecommunications and medical services in particular.
To perform continuous integration and delivery, an organization should have the right resources:
- The proper technology infrastructure (databases, servers, cloud computing deployment, etc.)
- Fully automated established processes
- Qualified engineers who have experience in continuous code releasing
If your company’s architecture doesn’t meet the requirements, you are likely to have issues with continuous delivery.
CI/CD model is becoming popular for different businesses operating within the framework of rapid changes. The pressure of quick updates increases, and for many companies, this is the best solution.
There are obvious benefits it offers for businesses: it ensures faster time-to-market and reduces development expenses. New versions of software face lower risks due to releasing code in smaller, frequent increments. Automated processes free time for team members to focus on more significant tasks and increase productivity. Therefore, the quality of service is at a higher level. Of course, with these benefits, there are also some roadblocks that may prevent a company from proper implementation of this development model.
Professional developers in SaM Solutions are actively using continuous integration and continuous delivery, relying on the industry’s best practices, their own know-how, and years of experience. Contact us to obtain more information or to consult with us about your particular projects.