Let’s find out about the new Ops trend in the industry – GitOps!
DevOps has become a digital transformation strategy for many organizations. It is about software development and operations teams working together and engineering and automating their practices. This will lead to writing codes for small changes and test and deploy those small changes very rapidly. This was an amazing step forward and a wonderful software practice.
Why Need GitOps?
But now, in the modern environment, we’re facing even more challenges. We need software applications to work at an amazingly large web-scale and deal with microservices, containerization, and service mesh. In this modern world of containers and Kubernetes, the applications need to scale up the infrastructure running when the load is high. And when there’s no load, it needs to scale down and do this all dynamically in a very complex way across many applications and microservices.
To address these modern operational challenges, GitOps comes into play. Before I talk about GitOps, let me tell you what Git is and what Ops is briefly.
Git is a distributed version control system where we manage our source code. It can have text, certificate, or configuration files. We maintain all these files using Git, and we also use it for collaborating with different team members.
Ops term comes from the same DevOps term, where we used to do release, deploy, operate, and monitor applications as a part of the operations.
What is GitOps?
GitOps is a process that is used for the continuous deployment of a cloud-native application. This process is developer-centric, which uses a developer-friendly tool like Git for operating infrastructure. Git here is the single source of truth for all the infrastructure and application deployment automation.
It is an operational framework, and it takes the DevOps best practices used for application development. These are version control, collaboration, compliance, CI/CD, and it applies them for infrastructure automation. In a nutshell, GitOps has three main components.
It is a combination of infrastructure as code (IaC), merge requests as your agent of change, and CI/CD automation.
Benefits of GitOps
Below are the benefits of using GitOps in your organization:
- Better Developer Experience: It helps developers use a very familiar tool like Git to manage Kubernetes with ease without even knowing its internal details. It increases the productivity of newly onboarded developers as well.
- Reliable: With the help of functionalities in Git, such as rollback, it is effortless to revert to a stable release in case of any meltdown reducing the recovery time drastically.
- Consistent: The end to end workflow of GitOps is very consistent as infrastructure; one model provides application, Kubernetes management, everything.
- Faster Deployment: It helps you deploy applications faster than before by integrating the continuous deployment automation with a feedback control loop.
- Self-documenting Environments: You can get a complete history of every change on the system and all the details of what was deployed by checking out the master branch. It helps in easy collaboration with other teams or shares enough knowledge with a new member.
- Security and Compliance: GitOps helps large organizations to stay secure and compliant. You can lock down the permissions of the people who actually have permission to merge to a branch.
This is how a GitOps pipeline looks like.
- Firstly, the user changes the code in the Git repository.
- Then a container image gets created, and it is pushed to the container registry.
- It gets updated into a config updater.
- Once a user creates a pull request to merge to a different branch, it deploys to the concerned branch.
- Then it tests whether it is all good or not.
- Once it’s all good, the reviewer will be able to merge it.
- After the merge, it goes to the test branch.
- Once you create a pull request, it will deploy to that test branch.
Below are a few popular GitOps tools that you must try while working on GitOps workflows. I am not listing Git and Kubernetes here because that is obvious!
Flux was created in 2016 by Weaveworks.
It is a GitOps operator for your Kubernetes cluster. It periodically pulls remote Git repository and looks for any new change in the manifest files. In case there is a change in the repository, it applies the changes to the cluster.
ArgoCD is also a GitOps operator but with a web user interface. It simulated your GitOps pipeline with visuals and charts. You can also visualize your environment and application configurations using this tool.
#3. Jenkins X
Jenkins X is a CICD solution for Kubernetes clusters but different than classic Jenkins.
It is used as a GitOps tool for cluster creation, container deployment, automatic rollback, etc. When a change is pushed in a git repository, Jenkin X will read and update its configurations after a build is triggered.
WKSctl is a GitOps tool that uses Git commits to manage the Kubernetes cluster. GitOps running mode is where a cluster is configured based on the details present in cluster.yml and machines.yml files saved on Git.
Gitkube is ideal for development where it uses Git push to build and deploy docker images on a Kubernetes cluster.
It is very easy to setup and requires simple public key-based authentication.
#6. Helm Operator
Helm Operator is an open-source Kubernetes operator to manage helm chart releases declaratively. When combined with flux, it becomes a proper GitOps solution for automating the releases.
Quay is managed by Red-Hat and is used for image management/image registry. It provides security and reliability for image management. It doesn’t depend on GitHub; rather, it works with an on-premises image registry.
DevOps has been a buzzword in the IT industry; however, there is a new term called GitOps, which is now ruling the microservices and the container-based platforms. We can leverage GitOps to deploy applications on the container-based environment like Kubernetes.
So, go ahead and explore more about it.
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