The GitOps is an operational framework that takes DevOps finest practices used for development such as collaboration, compliance, version control, and CI/CD, and applies them to infrastructure automation.
There was a time when enterprises were facing severe challenges in managing cloud infrastructure. The internal processes were plagued with inefficient deployment pipelines that were dependent on manual processes. It was causing extensive integration problems and delays in product deployment. Then came the concept of GitOps. Companies started implementing continuous deployment for cloud-native applications via GitOps. It helps in simplifying cloud-native application deployment and improving infrastructure automation in real-time.
What is GitOps?
GitOps is a set of tools that provides a framework for DevOps practices to automate the process of infrastructure provisioning, configuration management, version control, continuous integration, and deployment.
With the GitOps approach, Git (a version control system to track changes in any set of files or source code) is used to version and store the infrastructure configuration files. A Git repository such as GitHub, Bitbucket, or GitLab serves as the single source for infrastructure running across different environments (development/staging/production).
GitOps is neither infrastructure-as-code (IaC) nor a CI/CD. It plays a role in both. Once a configuration file is committed to Git, GitOps feeds the CI/CD pipeline, automating the delivery of the infrastructure to different environments (development/staging/production, etc).
Why Do We Need the GitOps Approach?
The past few years have seen the rapid growth of software development that has necessitated enterprises to migrate from legacy infrastructure to modern infrastructure management platforms. Since legacy processes were mostly managed manually, it caused a lot of delays in SDLC, thereby increasing the problems in infrastructure deployments and management.
To address these kinds of issues, the software development teams started to identify and automate common processes and configurations by writing programmatic scripts (like- Bash/Powershell/Pearl/Python). However, not all problem areas can be addressed by just writing the programmatic scripts.
Following this, configuration management tools came into play. In these tools, a code-based approach was used to configure and manage infrastructure. This makes it easier to manage and operate application infrastructure at scale with fewer efforts. Again, some parts like the provisioning of the infrastructure in the data centers or on the cloud platforms were still manual or partially automated. In the next phase of this infrastructure automation evolution, development teams started focusing on writing infrastructure as code.
With continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipelines, hundreds of code changes are processed every single day. For instance, changes made to a build before/after being deployed to an environment. The infrastructure/configuration may need to be updated frequently, leading to configuration inconsistencies and hours of troubleshooting. These challenges are leading the DevOps teams to adopt GitOps to standardize the configuration and application deployment.
The GitOps approach can be used with any infrastructure that can be declaratively managed.
How Does GitOps Work?
The functionality of GitOps can be explained with the help of the following workflow for Kubernetes:
The process can be divided into four phases:
Phase-1: Commit Code Changes
The developers commit changes to the code in the Git repository and a commit always creates artifacts. In this case, a new image will be built and created.
Phase-2: Deploy Configurations For the Application
In the case of Kubernetes, we are defining the deployment and other associated changes in the manifest files written in YML format. The manifest files include the definitions of how to map ports, services, environment variables, config maps, secrets, and configuration options for the image. This will ultimately be the desired state of an application.
Phase-3: Application or Infrastructure Deployment
The GitOps agent monitors every change committed to the Git repository. This step monitors the application and compares it to the current state against the desired state, specified in the Git repository. If any change is found in the Git repository then it rolls out the changes in the infrastructure accordingly.
Phase-4: Image Deployment
The image is then rolled out across the different environments (staging/production).
Many different tools are used together to build a GitOps framework. Some of the examples include Git repositories (GitHub), Kubernetes, continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) (GitHub Actions) tools, configuration management tools (SaltStack), and infrastructure as code (IaC)(Terraform)
An example of GitOps tooling:
|Version control system||Git|
|Git management tool||Bitbucket, GitHub, GitLab|
|CI/CD tools||Circle CI, Jenkins, GitHub Actions|
|Container registry||Docker Hub, ECR|
|Configuration management||Ansible, Chef|
|Infrastructure provisioning||AWS Cloud Formation, Terraform|
Benefits of the GitOps Approach
Let us discuss some advantages of the GitOps approach
Simplified infrastructure management
GitOps approach automates the management of infrastructure as a part of DevOps practices. The infrastructure configuration is incorporated within the CI/CD pipeline.
Faster deployments and increased productivity
Continuous deployment of controlled infrastructure reduces configuration errors. This results in faster and more frequent deployments.
GitOps helps organizations enforce security best practices, such as discovering bugs at an early stage. It also allows developers to automate and manage infrastructure as code declaratively.
GitOps approach eliminates human error and hence the infrastructure becomes stable and easily available all the time.
The GitOps approach standardizes the configuration and application deployment across different environments (development/staging/production). The GitOps approach can be used with any infrastructure that can be declaratively managed. The GitOps approach automates the management of infrastructure, and configuration as a part of the DevOps practices, which results in simplified and stable infrastructure and faster deployments. If you are also looking for a customized and sustained DevOps solution, contact QASource now.
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