DevOps was a revolution in the software development industry. It let software development and operations teams work together to automate and engineer their practices. This led to small changes being tested and deployed quicker than ever before. Because of this, it has become a digital transformation strategy for many organizations because they can release new products quicker.
But now, teams face even more challenges. In the world of containers and Kubernetes, applications need to scale up the infrastructure when the load is running high and scale down when there’s no load. This can get complicated, but a GitOps approach can be an excellent way to help solve these challenges.
What Is GitOps? (for Kubernetes)
In simple terms, GitOps can be summarized as follows:
- An operating model for Kubernetes and other cloud-native technologies that provides a set of best practices that unifies deployment, management, and monitoring for containerized clusters and applications.
- A path towards a developer experience for managing applications where both end-to-end CICD pipelines and Git workflows are applied to operations and development.
Why Use GitOps?
Now that we know what GitOps is, the immediate question is why use it? The answer is simple, as the market becomes more competitive, business operational excellence has become directly aligned with the ability to deliver quality software faster.
As such, the survival of a business depends on adaptive and efficient software development practices. These practices require new processes and changes in the way that businesses think about change management.
- Increased productivity: Continuous deployment automation with an integrated feedback control loop speeds up mean time to deployment. This means teams can ship 30 – 100 times more changes per day which increase overall development output by 2 to 3 times. Ultimately, this means that development teams can launch new products faster.
- Enhanced developer experience: Developers can use familiar tools like Git to manage updates and features to Kubernetes faster without having to know the internals of Kubernetes. In simple terms, new developers can get up to speed quickly and be productive within days instead of months and experienced developers don’t need to learn new tools to fit into their workflow.
- Improved stability: When teams use Git workflows to manage their clusters, they automatically gain a convenient audit log of all cluster changes outside of Kubernetes. This audit trial of who did what and when to the cluster can be used to meet SOC 2 compliance and ensure stability.
- Higher reliability: With Git’s ability to rollback and fork, teams gain stable and reproducible rollbacks. Because the entire system is described in Git, teams also have a single source of truth from which to recover after a collapse. This means that their mean time to recovery is reduced from hours to minutes.
- Consistency and standardization: Because GitOps provides one model for making infrastructure, apps, and Kubernetes add-on changes, teams have consistent end-to-end workflows across the entire organization.
- Stronger security guarantees: The strong correctness and security guarantees provided by Git and backed by the strong cryptography used to track and manage changes, as well as the ability to sign changes to prove authorship and origin is key to a secure definition of the desired state of the cluster.
Why Start GitOps Now?
The popularity of Kubernetes-targeted, opinionated CI/CD solutions from many different vendors, is not only an indicator of the popularity of Kubernetes but also of the need to introduce a platform-as-a-service that’s currently lacking.
This is where GitOps comes in. It makes it easy to deal with software applications at an amazingly large scale, microservices, containerization, and service mesh. It’s simply the best way to deploy applications on container-based environments and for that reason, has become the standard in the industry.
As continuous delivery for software becomes more common, new infrastructure solutions have been created to keep up and Kubernetes promised to once again free developers from the need to worry about infrastructure. But it has its drawbacks, which GitOps solves by letting developers think about infrastructure as code and applications as one unit.
Are You Ready for a DevOps Transformation?
While software continues to eat the world at an ever-increasing pace with DevOps, the challenges and struggles of companies implementing DevOps is very real. We all can overcome these challenges by working together, improving our tools, processes, knowledge and training our workforce.