The widespread use of automation and the quest for increasingly shorter development cycles can be considered the hallmarks of the current era of software development. Practices such as Continuous Deployment and Continuous Integration, which were unimaginable not that long ago, nowadays are commonplace techniques that most software professionals take for granted. In this scenario, designing and maintaining a functional CI/CD pipeline becomes of paramount importance.
Why is that? It all comes down to safety and speed.
The coding process is like an amusement park– it involves a number of variables and safety considerations to ensure the quality of each ride. There’s a lot that can go wrong if the nuts and bolts of the process aren’t planned well in advance. Whether you’re building a web application or a roller coaster, the key to satisfying customers is minimizing errors and removing them as quickly as possible when they happen.
Software developers are now able to deploy code faster with Kubernetes, which reduces the human margin of error considerably with its automation features. The software optimizes the continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI and CD) pipeline as it speeds up the coding process with an intuitive user interface. Because Kubernetes is open source, it is flexible enough for programmers to adjust it in any way they see fit.
In this article, you will learn about the benefits of Kubernetes for your CI/CD pipeline. Plus, you’ll get a basic rundown of how to deploy the software throughout the development process.
Here’s what you need to know.
The key to a successful CI/CD pipeline is to ensure that your application updates occur in a swift and automated manner. Kubernetes offers plenty of solutions for common problems that programmers face throughout this process. Here are some of them:
- Reducing the Time of Release Cycles: Many programmers struggle when they stick to a manual testing and deployment process. Doing so can cause delays, which push back your production timeline. A manual CI/CD process leads to more code-merge collisions, as well as the time that customers have to wait for patches and updates.
- Solving Outages: A manual infrastructure management process also causes headaches for coding teams because someone has to remain alert in case any outages happen. A number of issues can arise such as a power outage or an unforeseen traffic spike beyond capacity. This requires someone to be alert around the clock to solve these issues. If your app is down, you will lose money and customers. With an automated platform such as Kubernetes, you can automate patches and updates to solve these outages.
- Server Usage Efficiency: If your apps are not packed efficiently onto servers, you may be overpaying for capacity. This is true regardless of whether you’re running your application in the cloud or on-premise. Kubernetes maximizes the efficiency of your server usage to ensure you’re not overdoing it or under doing it.
Continuous Testing Delivery Process Diagram. Source
Here are some of the solutions that Kubernetes offers you to reduce these common problems found in CI/CD pipelines:
- Ability to Containerize the Code: With the platform, you can run your apps in containers. This ensures they have the resources and libraries necessary, while also preventing common issues that arise between library versions and application components. Containerizing the code makes your app portable between environments, while also making them easy to replicate and scale.
- Orchestrate Deployment with the Platform: Kubernetes makes the deployment process easier in a number of ways. Running apps on containers doesn’t solve every problem in the CI/CD pipeline as you still need to manage these apps. The platform can do everything from deploying them to monitoring their health and scaling them to meet customer demand.
All these solutions ultimately help programmers reduce the amount of time and effort developing and deploying their apps throughout CI/CD pipeline. Kubernetes offers a more efficient model that guarantees you don’t overdo it with servers. Plus, the app automates the app management process to reduce outages that take a toll on your revenue stream and customer base.
A big reason for Kubernetes’ popularity is its intuitive and logical user interface. Because it’s open source, it attracts a lot of programmers throughout the CI/CD ecosystem. Plus, automating deployment, scaling, and the management of containerized applications are all smart solutions that will help you achieve your CD goals.
The platform has many building blocks that you can tinker with to optimize the CI process. The fact that it’s open source allows you to create your own building blocks to enhance what’s already on the platform.
Here’s how you deploy Kubernetes:
Kubernetes Architectural Building Blocks. Source: Vitalflux
The first step is to create a microservice, which is easy to do in the first Kubernetes screen. Simply name it, and attach a Docker image to it and you’re on your way. You can then leverage the platforms’ templates to set the container specification, whether it be CPU, memory, ports, or storage.
The next step is to create environments to determine the efficacy of your microservice. To deploy and test your microservice, you will need three environments: development, QA, and production. You can easily create the dev environment by selecting your microservice, ‘Kubernetes’ as your deployment type and then a cloud provider.
The last step is designed to help you pick a cluster to represent your development environment. K8 is a good tool at this juncture as you can select ‘Direct Kubernetes,’ which points to a K8 Master Node in your private cloud. After this, K8 will populate all available clusters for your new environment.
K8 makes it easy to deploy your microservice to any cloud platform without having to worry about underlying infrastructure configuration or dependencies. With Kubernetes, you don’t need to write a unique set of deployment scripts for each cloud platform since it automates this process.
Deployment is an essential component of a CD strategy. So for the next step on getting this pipeline up and running, you’ll need to define a deployment strategy for each environment in your dev lifecycle to deploy your microservice. A good option is canary deployment, which you can define in three phases. If you have six pods, upgrade and verify two of these pods, or 33%. Then, do the same with three pods, or 50% of them. Finally, upgrade and verify all six pods, or the entire environment.
You can then “Add Phase” to build canary phases with the Kubernetes Service Setup. The next step is to set up and prepare the containers with a new controller for every new version of your microservice. Then, deploy and upgrade the containers. Finally, verify the deployment running inside the new containers and you’ll be one step closer to completing your strategy.
Kubernetes essentially keeps multiple versions of controllers active within the same environment. It can also resize the percentage or count for any controller.
Finally, you will need a failure or rollback strategy in case your microservice deployments or canary verifications fail. That’s an essential feature for any CI process. You can easily do this with Kubernetes, which can keep a few old deployment controllers active with zero pods for each environment. Then, you can automatically resize the controllers back again when you need them.
By defining a failure strategy with Kubernetes, you can churn out smart automatic rollbacks when deployment or verification fails. You can also roll back environment variables and services configurations with the controller rollback. This makes it easy to keep older service versions passive or active in clusters, which you can resize instantly for rollback.
The platform also has rollout history and undo functions to rollback to a previous deployment manually.
Kubernetes has plenty of benefits in the CI/CD pipeline that can save you time and money. The platform can reduce manual input and automate your deployment process. It can easily reduce the time between release cycles, solve outages instantly and patch outages without any manual input.
The platform is continuing to grow in popularity because of how efficient is. You don’t have to overdo it with the servers as Kubernetes can adjust your server levels to fit your needs. Plus, the platform has an intuitive user interface that anyone can use without a hassle to improve the speed and return of their deployment pipeline.
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- How Kubernetes Can Improve Your CI/CD Pipeline - December 1, 2019