Remember when building a CI/CD pipeline might have seemed like magic? Up close you could see that we often needed all kinds of constructions to make the pipeline work. Every week there was a new tool that someone in one of the development teams wanted to use.
- The work of a DevOps engineer often consisted of create complex integrations of different steps in the pipeline.
- Today, a lot of functionality is often delivered as standard in platforms such as GitHub, GitLab and Azure DevOps
- A lot of functionality is offered as standard in a platform, which means that you have more time to improve your processes.
Within this process there are many different tools for different steps. For example, you can use SonarQube to check your code quality, Terraform or Ansible for your environment and Azure DevOps for your deployment. New tools then also had to be integrated and managed in the pipeline. Sometimes you were lucky because you got a decent API. And user management was integrated with the LDAP or AD. But often you were unlucky and a lot of complexity was added.
Standard functionality in Github and Azure DevOps
That (fortunately) is starting to change. The systems used are becoming more and more standardized. Tools such as Github or Azure DevOps already offer a lot as a standard. That is enough for many teams to be able to do everything that is necessary. Azure DevOps is actually much more of a platform making it easy to expand if something is missing. This will solve your integration problems.
These platforms have different capabilities. Because of this, connecting seperate steps is no longer necessary. And if you do have another tool you want to work with, you can just integrate it on Github or Azure DevOps. You write an integration for this once, and it will also work in the future. This allows you as an organization to focus on what your process really looks like and how to optimize it.
Impact on People, Processes and Technology
Offer CI/CD work as a service
In the early stages of Azure DevOps, CI/CD was just part of your job. If you’re a developer, you also need to make sure that the pipeline is working properly. It quickly became clear that in principle this is a role in itself and that you need someone on your team who constantly ensures that the pipeline continues to run and that all the different tools work well together. As a result, platform teams were created. Specialized teams that provided CI/CD and other services to development teams as a product. Because developers were in many cases used to getting this service, you also see that this has not had a direct effect on the work.
More time to improve your process
Many tools are now offered in a platform like Azure DevOps. This means that you have more time for other things, for example compliance and security. How can you best use Azure DevOps in your organization with your specific requirements? You don’t have to go to another team to make changes first. With Azure DevOps you get a tool that improves your process more cyclically: this makes it easier to adjust things and experiment with them.
Concentration of technology on a number of large parties
The technology behind CI/CD will focus more on a number of large parties, such as Google, AWS and Microsoft. In this way we are increasingly moving towards a platform on which we do all our work instead of working with separate tools where you have to look at how you integrate them into the entire process. This also accelerates the development of possibilities. For example, within Azure DevOps you have a marketplace where you can find other tools that you can use immediately. In addition, we notice that the SDLC processes are better defined, more measurable and comparable as a result. And that issues such as security and compliance receive more attention. This all has to do with the innovative power of the Cloud and the development power of Microsoft. And that shows that technology has matured.
We write software to bring value to our customers. A CI/CD pipeline helps with this because we will work more cyclically. This gives us faster feedback, and makes it easier to change things quickly. The technology behind CI/CD will focus more on a number of large parties, such as Microsoft, which provides much of the functionality within CI/CD standard with Azure DevOps. As a result, developers are served even more than before with the tools that simply work in “as a service” environments and therefore require less knowledge of the nuts and bolts of CI/CD. However, it is good to always ensure that you have and maintain the basic knowledge about this. A carpenter may not be able to make his circular saw himself, but he knows how to use it.