CI/СD tools: Trends and Challenges in 2019

A professional, born with a mission to streamline the smooth transition from traditional to agile software development, DevOps engineer has come a long way. The success of the mission can hardly be questioned now that efficient workflow with CI/CD tools benefit development teams and empower companies to get new software products to market faster.

Both IT and business industries have embraced DevOps as best practices that lead towards faster and more efficient software development methods. Yet with the advance of DevOps practices and a growing variety of CI/CD tools there seems to be no easy or quick way to get there in 2019. 

Mainstream Solution: Jenkins

At the outset of the profession, crossing the line towards agile methodology meant developing a solid CI/CD pipeline with Jenkins, an open-source CI/CD tool.

DevOps team seamlessly integrated a set of principles and practices into the application development processes to deliver bug-free code and facilitate rapid deployment. Known as Continuous integration (CI) and Continuous Delivery (CD), those principles and practices underlie Jenkins pipeline that embody specific steps needed to automate different stages in the software delivery process (e.g. automating infrastructure and workflows, running automated tests, initiating code build) and automatically deploy bug-free releases into the production environment. Jenkins would help DevOps teams to streamline development processes, tests, bug detection, code analysis, and project deployment with automation.

Popular Solution: Buddy, TeamCity, GitLab CI, Travis CI, Bamboo

As ever more businesses and industries are being run on software, the DevOps direction is gaining traction. It already offers the widest range of services and gradually keeps covering ever higher percentage of IT market offerings. These days all major tech providers have their eyes on DevOps technologies, deeply invested into delivering their own best CI/CD solution to ensure delivery of software to a production environment fast and without a glitch. They pull out all stops to provide full stack DevOps solution from ticketing system to writing documentation, automatic deployment, sending messages. In many aspects CI/CD tools are alike pursuing the same objective, that is seamless cooperation between Development and Operations, yet cover specific development needs and different teams. Swamped with multiple DevOps tools, some choose to incorporate GitLab CI for cloud-based environments, others migrate their infrastructure to Buddy or TeamCity cloud computing service, still others’ transformation begin with Travis CI, Bamboo, etc.

Buddy supports multiple major frameworks and cloud providers and its deployment integrations are easy to configure, while TeamCity, though high in integrations and tailored to enterprise needs, is quite complex. Travis CI is hailed for being well documented, Bamboo – for first-class integration with Jira, while GitLab CI is favored for open-source add-ons.  

Challenges

Powerful CI/CD tools improve users’ access to the latest technology and functionality that drive businesses forward and ensure high competitive edge. The approach works wonders for software end users as well. Yet with multiple CI/CD tools on the rise knowing which strategy to embrace and tool to adopt is quite a challenge for DevOps engineer.  

Still it’s not the hardest battle to win. Suppose the company already manages software development projects in software from a specific tech provider and settles on implementing DevOps practices, it starts considering CI/CD tools. The odds are the choice will fall on a web-based version control repository hosting service of the same provider. Products, when developed by the same provider, easily integrate, their data architecture are structured in similar ways which in itself makes for smooth and fast releases. In the meantime, customers usually loyal to one particular tech stack, swayed by the repute of some tech giant or rather content with certain tools of their current tech provider, embrace CI/CD model and make the transition with one particular tech providers.   

Accordingly, with every new client the DevOps engineer may need to constantly switch between stacks. That triggers a question: How to reach DevOps goal when challenges arise? Continuous self-education and flexibility seem to be solutions to challenges DevOps engineers face in 2019.