GitOps and DevOps are modern approaches that bring together IT development and operations.

Although GitOps and DevOps are crisscrossing, people are often confused between them.

But the most important thing to remember is that GitOps is linked to a specific tool, i.e., Git. It is a set of practices born out of the requirement for fast innovation and operations, allowing developers to work more on IT-related tasks and generate better results. 

On the other hand, DevOps is a whole new concept that is a mixture of development, operations, use of tools, and culture that allow organizations to improve and develop products faster. 

The DevOps culture encourages transparency, shared responsibility, and fast feedback, which help bridge the gap between development and operations teams to speed up the processes. 

Today’s organizations rapidly embrace digital transformation, and adopting a DevOps culture enables them to produce high-quality services and applications at high speeds.  

GitOps relies on the DevOps ecosystem and culture to thrive.

For many organizations, GitOps replaces DevOps, while others consider it the natural extension of the DevOps methodologies.

This has created confusion among organizations as to which one of them would be a better choice for their requirements.

In this article, I’ll describe each concept and the differences between GitOps and DevOps to help you make the right decision.

Let’s begin!

What Is GitOps?

Git Operations (GitOps) is the operational framework that uses Git repositories or principles as a single source of truth. It takes DevOps practices used for development work, such as CI/CD, compliance, version control, collaboration, and more. It then applies these practices to infrastructure automation. 

If we split the name of GitOps, we will find Git (the version controller) + operations (the management of resources used in software development). It assists teams and developers in performing application and infrastructure management activities while using development tools, processes, and techniques. 

A Git is an open-source version control system (VCS) that helps you manage application and infrastructure configurations. GitOps ensures that the Git repository is the only source you need in your infrastructure management. 

What Is GitOps

You can say that GitOps is a straightforward way of continuously deploying cloud-native apps. While operating the infrastructure, it focuses on an awesome developer-centric experience by using various tools that a developer is already familiar with, such as Git and deployment tools. 

The primary purpose of GitOps is to have a Git repository containing descriptions of the infrastructure you currently want for your production environment. It also provides an automated process to match the production environment with the described state. 

When you need to deploy a new app or update the one that’s already deployed, the first thing you must do is update the repository. The rest process will be automatically handled. You will feel like you have cruise control in handling and managing your applications during production. 

What Is DevOps?

DevOps is the answer for those who want to build stunning software faster. It combines Dev (Development) and Ops (Operations) to improve software development and delivery’s speed, security, and efficiency. 

Patrick Debois first coined the word DevOps in 2009. DevOps is not a technology, standard, or process; it is a culture many organizations have already applied to bring development and operations teams together in a single project. 

In other words, DevOps combines practices, tools, and cultural philosophies to enhance your organization’s ability to develop and deliver applications and services faster. This enables organizations to serve customers better and compete effectively in the market. 

Stepping from the agile approach to software development, DevOps expands its delivery process on a cross-functional approach of shipping and building applications in a more iterative manner.

When you adopt the DevOps development process, you are taking one step forward to improving the workflow and delivery of your software or application through effective collaboration. DevOps also changes the mindset of IT culture, boosting values of accountability, empathy, joint responsibility, and cooperation to create better outcomes and success rates.

DevOps comprises four principles that guide the efficiency and effectiveness of the development and deployment. They are:

  • Automation of the application development lifecycle
  • Collaboration and effective communication
  • Continuous improvement by minimizing waste
  • Hyperfocus on the user needs via short feedback loops

By adopting these key principles, you can enhance code quality, engage in better application planning, achieve faster time to market, and benefit in other aspects. 

GitOps vs. DevOps: Working

Let’s compare GitOps and DevOps based on how they work.

How Does GitOps Work?

GitOps is a practice used by organizations for continuous delivery. The deploy component in the continuous delivery process is divided into two parts:

  • Flux Automator to visualize new updates and build configurations on the release
  • Flux Synchronizer to ensure the orchestrator is in the correct state

Workflow seems to be like this for creating a new feature or updating one:

  • Make a pull request for the new feature.
  • Check the code review and merge the same to the Git repository.
  • Allow Git to merge the triggers, build the pipeline, perform continuous integration, run tests, build a new image, and deposit the same to a registry automatically.
  • The Flux Automator checks the new image registry starts reviewing the images and pulls the image from the registry to update the YAML file of the ongoing project in the configuration repository.
  • The Flux Synchronizer, installed on the cluster, detects the cluster. It then pulls the changes from the configuration repo to deploy the new feature to the production phase. 

How Does DevOps Work?

DevOps is a modern technique that brings software development and operation teams into a single picture to improve their collaboration throughout the software development lifecycle (SDLC).  

You can easily visualize the entire DevOps process as an infinite loop that consists of steps like:

  • Planning as per the requirements
  • Coding and building the features
  • Testing to detect and remove bugs and errors
  • Performing operations
  • Deploying the application
  • Continuously monitoring the application for issues

In the end, a feedback plan is included to reset the loop. Organizations use this combination of processes, technology, and culture to achieve their goals. Every process is based on the intent of meeting the customers’ needs and solving their problems.

The IT teams can write the code according to the requirements and deploy the application without wasting time on repeated iterations, which happens when the requirement is unclear.

Furthermore, the IT team uses CI/CD pipelines to avoid wait times and other automation to move forward with the code from one step of application development and deployment to another. They also enforce policies to make sure the releases are meeting standards. 

In some models, quality assurance and security teams work together to pursue certain goals. While you are going through security, a primary focus of everyone in the DevOps process, you can call the process as DevSecOps.

DevOps teams use containers or similar technology to ensure the software behaves the same way and remains secure from development to testing and delivery. The team deploys the changes one by one to trace the problem easily. They can also discover issues in live operations and improve their code through continuous feedback.

GitOps vs. DevOps: Benefits

Benefits of GitOps

Some of the benefits of GitOps are:

  • Speed: Using GitOps can help reduce your production time. It manages features and updates of the Kubernetes faster. This helps make your business more agile and allows your organization to respond quickly to customer demands. 
  • Reproducible tasks: GitOps has the entire pipeline, i.e., Continuous Deployment and Continuous Integration (CI/CD) pipelines. These pipelines are driven by operations and pull requests which are completely reproducible with the help of Git Repo. 
  • Workflow standardization: It offers end-to-end standardization in your business workflow to eliminate confusion and inefficiencies.
  • Automation: It enhances productivity with automated deployment of updates and features continuously.
  • Stability: It increases stability as the audit logs are present for real validation of changes.
  • Reliability: The built-in features, such as the single source of truth and rollback fork, make GitOps more reliable. 
  • Security: Git is backed with robust cryptography that securely manages and tracks changes and signs amendments to provide the origin of the cluster’s desired state. Thus, it reduces downtime and enhances incident response. 
  • Productivity: By lowering downtime and reducing operational overhead, GitOps helps improve productivity. All the systems will be available so that your team can work efficiently. This also makes it cost-effective.

Benefits of DevOps

DevOps tools and technologies help organizations evolve and operate in a new era. Engineers can easily and quickly accomplish all the tasks, from development to deployment, without requiring help from other teams.

Let’s check out some of the benefits of DevOps:

  • Rapid delivery: DevOps helps increase the pace and frequency of releases so that you can innovate more. This also helps improve your product. The quicker you fix bugs and release new features, the faster you can respond to customer demands and have a competitive advantage. 
  • Scalability: DevOps can help you operate and manage infrastructure and development processes at scale. You can even manage complex systems effectively.
  • Speed: By combining both teams, the development and deployment process rapidly moves. As a result, you can innovate faster, adapt to the changes easier, and grow efficiently through business-driven results. 
  • Reliability: The assurance of quality application, along with frequent updates and changes to the infrastructure, makes DevOps reliable, delivering an enhanced end-user experience.
  • Security: DevOps model allows your organization to adopt new technology without compromising security. This is possible with automated compliance policies, configuration management techniques, and fine-grained controls.
  • Enhanced collaboration: DevOps model enables organizations to build an effective team with values of ownership and accountability. Developers and operations teams can collaborate and communicate closely, share responsibilities, and combine workflows to reach one common goal of delivering quality applications quickly. 

GitOps vs. DevOps: Limitations

Limitation of GitOps

  • Users are limited to using only the tools that can execute pulls while approaching development by pull approach. 
  • Users always have to look for the broken YAML file where they may find an object or syntax references broken. 
  • Since GitOps consistently pulls Git Repo, API throttling can be possible. 

Limitations of DevOps

  • Expensive platforms and tools, such as training and support.
  • IT departments change according to the new job roles and new skills. 
  • Riskier delivery due to the fail-fast mentality. 
  • Whenever a role separation is needed, you will need regulatory compliance. 
  • Unnecessary, unsafe, and fragile automation.
  • Development and operation tool proliferation.
  • New bottlenecks

GitOps vs DevOps: Use Cases

Use Cases of GitOps

  • Static websites: A static website containing complex markdown files needs GitOps implementation for a more straightforward editing process. GitOps makes your work simpler by allowing easy modifications, making your site publishable, optimizing an image, and more. 
  • GitOps for Doc: GitOps is of great use in product documentation. Since the document is text-based, implementation of GitOps is a good choice. ASCII docs can be stored in any Virtual Control System (VCS), including GitHub or bitbucket. 
  • Writing books: Books are text-centric so that they can be easily aligned with a VCS system. The GitOps pipeline can be the moment your writing work is done completely. The pipeline checks grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, etc., and converts them into different formats like pdf, ePUB, doc, and more. 
  • Network slicing: GitOps enables service providers to divide service tiers and users so that they can pay only for the bandwidth they use. 

Use Cases of DevOps

  • Online Financial Trading Company: The company uses a DevOps culture to deploy the services within 45 seconds.
  • Network cycling: Deployment, rapid designing, and testing became ten times faster. It can also easily add patches to the security whenever needed.
  • Car manufacturing industries: The company employees help manufacturers catch defects immediately while scaling production.
  • Airline industries: By changing to continuous testing and deployment, They increased their code coverage by 85%.
  • Bug reduction in various organizations: You can reduce the bugs by 35% using DevOps. Many industries get benefit from product quality and time. 

Some other applications of DevOps are online retail, pharma industries, web content, and more. 

GitOps vs. DevOps: Differences

The most focused difference between GitOps and DevOps is that GitOps is entirely on the Git tool, a version control system. On the other hand, DevOps is a philosophy that tells an organization how to function to achieve more success. 

Furthermore, you can say GitOps is a goal-oriented technology, whereas DevOps relies more on delivery best practices. Another major difference is that GitOps takes a declarative approach toward operations. DevOps, on the other hand, takes both prescriptive and declarative approaches. 

Let’s dig deeper into the differences to understand these concepts better.

GitOpsDevOps
GitOps is a technique used to manage infrastructure provisioning and software deployments.DevOps culture focuses on Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment.
The main tool used is Git.The main tool used is the CI/CD pipeline.
All GitOps are DevOps.All DevOps are not GitOps.
You can use this technique with IaC, Kubernetes, and different CI/CD pipelines.You can use this culture with multiple tools, such as supply chain management and cloud configuration as code.
It aims at rapid development and minimizes reliance on complex scripts.It strives to maintain automation and immediate deployments.
It loosens the boundary between operations and development sequences.It maintains different steps for development and different steps for operations.
GitOps is less flexible as it relies on a single VCS tool – Git.DevOps is more flexible than GitOps.
It offers speed, accuracy, better productivity, and clean code.It helps lower the issue rate by removing silos in a team and reducing efforts.
Highly focused on clean code and accuracyNot so focused on the accuracy of the code
Strict and less openLess rigid and open

How Can GitOps Fill the Gaps Left by DevOps?

GitOps offers a robust workflow pattern to manage modern cloud infrastructure. Although its primary focus is on the cluster and Kubernetes management, the DevOps community applies and publishes GitOps solutions to the non-Kubernetes systems. 

GitOps brings various advantages to an engineering team, such as improved visibility, system reliability, enhanced stability, and better communication. The core requirement of a GitOps experience is the hosted Git platform.

The GitOps modern pattern keeps improving Kubernetes deployments. Overall, GitOps can bring more productivity to the DevOps teams. Furthermore, it allows the DevOps team to experiment quickly with a new infrastructure configuration. 

Conclusion

Both GitOps and DevOps are excellent ways to develop and deploy quality software efficiently.

GitOps uses Git for version control and is more goal-oriented. On the other hand, DevOps is a mindset that allows the development and operations team to collaborate more and achieve better user experiences.

So, if you want better outcomes, you can use either in your organization based on the project and requirements. Using GitOps in your current DevOps teams will also help accelerate your workflow and efficiently accomplish mission-critical tasks.

You may also explore some best DevOps Tools and online courses to learn DevOps here.