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Top benefits of CI/CD in web hosting - and what it means for developers

amazee.io - Top Benefits of CI/CD in Web Hosting - and what it means for developers

What is CI/CD? The phrase stands for “continuous integration and continuous delivery.” 

Continuous Integration, or CI, is an automated process that merges and tests all the code changes developers make to a repository. This means that multiple developers can contribute code in a systematic way where the resulting codebase can be integrated and automatically tested, so as to avoid regressions and breaking changes.

With CI: Changes are tested and integrated into the project as the code bases changes and new code is added.

Without CI: Without a continuous integration process, code changes need to be manually integrated into the main codebase, and testing needs to be manually triggered or executed by developers or system administrators. 

With a manual approach, it's left up to the person integrating the code and testing the resulting codebase to make a judgment call about whether the resulting codebase is ready for production. 

This manual process requires intense coordination on teams, and the integrators and testers can quickly become bottlenecks to getting updated code and new features into the main codebase. All of this means that timelines are significantly slowed down, and updates, changes, and improvements may not make it to market for a while. 

By adopting a continuous integration approach, and by investing in automated testing, code changes and new features can be integrated into your project the whole time (or continuously) and often without the need for a schedule.

In its most elegant and optimal configuration, a Continuous Integration process will flow smoothly into a Continuous Delivery process.

Continuous Delivery, or CD, follows a CI process to build, test the build, and “deliver” the built software to a production-ready state, quickly and frequently. 

Adopting a Continuous Delivery approach enables teams to deliver updates on a timeline of their choosing (usually, as fast as possible). CD eliminates the need for scheduling teams to integrate the code and features into a production-ready state. 

This is because CD ensures fixes and improvements in the latest build will be tested, stable, and production-ready when it’s time for the build to be deployed by the release manager or person in charge of deployment. This way, developers don’t have to worry about those tasks - so they can do literally anything else. 

With CD: Developers can respond to requests from leadership and end users quickly, deploying new solutions, features, and fixes to production-ready states quickly. Visibility and communication are improved, and developers can deliver new application builds with fewer constraints than before. Automated testing ensures that no bugs or errors make it to production.

Without CD: Delivering working builds of patched, updated, and extended applications can take much longer when done manually. This can delay new solutions, innovation, and results that leadership wants, and end users will likely be waiting around frustrated too. 

At the core, Continuous Delivery is all about enabling agile teams to deliver verified working software quickly and constantly in a predictable, testable way. Continuous integration facilitates continuous delivery, both of which have a significant business impact on developer teams and enterprises. 

Enterprises that adopt Continuous Delivery are very likely to deliver applications, updates, and important features faster than their competition.  

As you can imagine, this gives them a substantial leg up.

Wait - isn’t there another CD? 

Actually, yes - confusingly, CD refers to not only Continuous Delivery, but also Continuous Deployment - also known as “The other CD.” 

The two are similar, with one key difference. 

With continuous delivery, a Release Manager or engineer will manually trigger a deployment of a build to production. Teams can choose when to take this manual step, and they will need to take steps to trigger the deployment. This is the more “hands-on” approach, and it's left to the discretion of the team. 

Continuous deployment, however, doesn’t require people or humans to take this manual step. It’s totally automated, so developers don’t need to stop everything to trigger this process. It will happen automatically. It doesn’t make sense for all projects to deploy automatically, but it can be very effective for those that need to. 

How does adopting a CI/ CD approach support business goals? 

CI/CD work together to help developers get things done quickly and to support business goals driven by marketing and development teams. CI and CD both help ensure that new code, features, and patches are being continuously integrated into production-ready software, and can be pushed out quickly by Release Managers or Engineers, or even deployed automatically.

Why does CI/ CD matter for site and app hosting?

There are several ways that the CI/CD process improves site and app hosting. When it comes to CI/CD, the name of the game is speed and efficiency, which is ideal for web teams - there’s no time to waste. 

Any and all changes you make to a site with CI/CD methodology are available instantly to users because of the medium - typically a web browser or app. Since there’s no “download and install” phase, as there might be for other types of software, users can expect rapid updates, and quick changes, and web teams can thoroughly test before releasing. 

Here are the top benefits of using CI/CD pipelines for site and app hosting: 

  • Faster release cycles. Bigger companies like Netflix and Amazon release new features multiple times a day, which in years past, seemed impossible for smaller companies. But by adopting and investing in CI/CD tools, many more web development teams can do this.

CI/CD helps your team keep projects moving, so it’s easier to launch new sites, make updates, and integrate new code quickly - which leads to improved customer experience since end users will get new and improved features and big fixes faster than they did before. 

Since continuous deployment automatically releases code to production, developers don’t have to drop everything for releases anymore - it quickly becomes a normal part of their day. With CI/CD, almost no manual intervention is required, especially when combined with tools and systems like Kubernetes and Lagoon. 

This means that updates, changes, and new features can be released on your sites and apps quickly and without hassle.

  • Easier deployments. Deployments are one of the biggest pain points for developers daily. But CI/CD takes the edge off significantly because it makes the whole process faster, more automated, and through automated testing, can ensure fewer errors. There are fewer tasks for developers to undertake since so much of the deployment process can now be automated in a repeatable way. 

  • Fewer errors and bugs. Finding and fixing development errors and bugs late in the game can be so time-consuming, it may set the entire project back by days - and you probably don’t have days to spare. The whole point of CI/CD is to make release cycles shorter, painless, and easy. Since you’ll be releasing more often and more quickly, it's more likely that errors will be caught and eliminated earlier. Automated testing even further reduces the risk of lingering bugs and errors. This can be considered real-time risk mitigation. 

  • Improved feedback loop cycle. In 2022, listening to your customers is more important than ever. They’ve got so many options to choose from that it’s important to respond to feedback so they feel heard. CI/CD can actually help your business deal with requests from end users faster and release promising updates on the timeline you can achieve. Customers feeling heard and enjoying their experience on your site and apps help build brand loyalty. 

  • Reduces the workload of developers. One big thing that developers struggle with constantly is an increasing workload. There’s too much to do every day, and manual tasks pile up, leaving developers stressed, frustrated, and unhappy. We’ve talked before about how Kubernetes orchestrated containerized software can help developers significantly - and CI/CD helps for the same reason: Automation. CI/CD helps speed up significant processes for developers, so they can build, test, deliver, and deploy things faster and better. Adopting a CI/CD approach can release them from monotonous manual tasks that can easily take up an entire day. 

  • Part of “WebOps” practices. We’ve defined WebOps as “a set of practices that ensure smooth deployments, operation, and management of your web projects.” CI/CD practices are a valuable part of WebOps because they help teams deploy more easily, complete projects faster, and oversee sites and apps with ease. 

Can CI/CD be considered an additional security feature?

Technically, yes. CI/CD methodologies can form an additional key layer of security: defense against the unexpected. With CI/CD, since everything is so rigorously tested, anything being deployed is a known entity - and less likely to expose you to security holes. If code contains errors, inconsistencies, or holes that could leave your team more vulnerable, the CI/CD processes will flag warnings to notify you before it’s ever released to production. 

CI/CD can also make it much easier to oversee a large fleet of sites. When you have more than one site, it’s important to ensure that they are structured and built in a relatively similar way. It would be nearly impossible to manage and oversee 400 sites manually that were all built incredibly differently. CI/CD’s repeatability can help ensure that all sites have baseline features that are similar in the code base for all the relevant sites. 

A WebOps platform with CI/CD and managed Kubernetes 

Since CI/CD are important components of any good WebOps model, amazee.io’s platform offers continuous integration, delivery, and deployment so you can deliver and deploy your product to customers - your way. 

Our CI/CD model ensures speedy, safe, and repeatable workflows every single time, so your team, your business, and your end users can have what they want when they want it. 

Our CI/CD processes ensure that by the time your code is deployed to Lagoon, it’s been checked and balanced: The code base not only functionally works, but it’s passed all the other governance-based checks as well. Once your code is deployed, you have nothing to worry about. Lagoon also works with multiple CI/CD systems, so we don’t have to use just one. 

In addition to CI/CD workflows and managed Kubernetes expertise, amazee.io’s platform also guarantees uptime with 24/7 monitoring and support, along with global CDN + WAF. CDN + WAF boosts your site’s performance with complete security and optimization. These are all crucial components of a functional WebOps platform, which maximizes developer productivity by providing the tooling they need to focus on core work.

If you want to help your developers maximize their capacity, we encourage you to schedule a free 15-minute consultation with one of our WebOps experts. Tell us more about your team, and we’ll tell you how we can assist.


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