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DevOps Pipeline: Definitive Guide to Build One

25th Apr, 2024
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    DevOps Pipeline: Definitive Guide to Build One

    The DevOps Pipeline is the sequence of activities that flow from a customer's idea to the delivery of software and services. It is a set of tools and processes that helps organizations move from a traditional development model to a more agile approach. It is a framework used by organizations to plan their DevOps initiatives.

    The DevOps pipeline aims to improve software products' quality and delivery speed. Also, to bring continuous deployment into your organization's workflow, creating and deploying code faster than ever before becomes easier. As a result, the concept of DevOps has been gaining a lot of popularity for its ability to help businesses drive faster and more efficiently.

    To succeed in DevOps, you must take a DevOps Certification Course. It would help if you had it to ensure that you can successfully deploy software from development to production seamlessly. And therefore, knowing how to build one is critical. This article will explore how an effective DevOps pipeline can help organizations modernize their development processes and improve communication between teams within the organization. It will also explore the tools available for building and maintaining an effective DevOps pipeline.

    DevOps Pipeline Architecture: An Overview 

    A DevOps Pipeline provides a path for IT organizations to adopt and integrate DevOps practices into their existing processes. The pipeline is essential for businesses that want to deliver high-quality software on time and within budget. Consider this as the building of infrastructure. A key part of the DevOps pipeline is how well it is constructed. If it's not done right, the outcome can be ineffective and inefficient. Therefore, you need to follow a routine that will help you understand everything about your pipeline and how it can improve your organization's processes in a very short time.

    In a world where technology is becoming an integral part of our daily lives, it is essential to have a DevOps pipeline in place to properly deliver software products to users. The DevOps development pipeline is a set of processes designed to ensure that software development and delivery cycles remain on track and meet their deadlines. In addition, it will provide stability to your engineering team, and without a strong pipeline, your code is likely to break.

    The DevOps pipeline is a structured approach to delivering software that covers the entire lifecycle of a project. It includes the necessary steps to properly plan, build, test, and release software. DevOps is about agility, rapid feedback loops, and release cycles. If you're not constantly moving things into production and then back down, then DevOps can't help you.

    Considerations for building a DevOps Pipeline

    DevOps lifecycle stages are a set of best practices combined to provide superior, secure, fast, and reliable quality software with standard best practices.

    1. Continuous Development

    Continuous development means working on small pieces as per evolving customer requirements instead of working on large batches of development. It ensures that the code written for a project has been checked for bugs and flaws before being used on the final product. That way, if any bugs are left in the code even after testing and development, they will be caught, and the developer can fix them. This ensures that code is never rushed to completion or deployed on an end product before being properly vetted so that no problems arise later down the line. This helps prevent outages and other costly mishaps in software deployment.

    2. Continuous Integration

    Continuous integration is a DevOps practice where developers constantly merge their code in version control repositories based on the commits to specific branches, and automated builds and tests are run. It is the practice of automatically building and testing your software every time you commit code to source control.

    The pipeline continuous integration is a common practice that can speed up development significantly. By integrating frequently, developers can catch bugs early on before they could infect your entire build process. Continuous delivery is deploying your code to production as soon as it's ready. The DevOps CI/CD pipeline is important because it improves quality by ensuring that each change has been tested thoroughly before being deployed to production. The tests can be performed manually or automatically, depending on how much time you have available and what resources are available.

    3. Continuous Testing

    Continuous Testing is a DevOps practice where testing is performed continuously during the software development lifecycle. It ensures that new changes to your software never go unnoticed by being tested against an automated test suite daily or even several times per day, depending on the size of your organization and what you need to try for. Continuous testing should still be ongoing, not just during development but after deployment, since anything deployed in production should work as expected. For example, suppose you have a large team with multiple developers working on different parts of a project. In that case, this component can be especially important because it ensures that everyone is constantly testing their code.

    4. Continuous Deployment

    In this DevOps practice where changes made by developers from the repository are automatically pushed to production after they pass the build and test stages. This can be done manually or automatically, but it is important to have a reliable production environment. Continuous deployment can be done by having a build server that builds your code and then pushing that build to the main branch on your Git repository. You can use continuous integration tools like Jenkins and Travis CI to automatically run tests and deploy your code every time you push changes to your storage. after they pass the build and test stages.

    5. Continuous Monitoring

    Continuous controlled monitoring is a DevOps practice to identify threats for security and compliance in terms of SDLC lifecycle. This component monitors the system's health, and if any issues are detected, it automatically alerts the team members so they can act. It also provides real-time status information to users so they can troubleshoot problems before they become critical. Continuous monitoring is one of the most important components in the DevOps pipeline because it helps prevent issues from escalating into a crisis. Keep reading to know about CI and CD in DevOps.

    6. Continuous Feedback

    Continuous feedback is like a progress report. During this DevOps practice, the software automatically sends out information about performance and issues experienced by the end user. It provides fast responses to customers and stakeholders so that they can take immediate action on issues. Constant feedback involves providing real-time information about your system status and performance to end-users so they can make informed decisions about the system's health and performance. This helps reduce downtime, improve customer satisfaction and increase productivity in the organization. A good example of continuous feedback is when you monitor your site for errors and send notifications to users immediately if there are any problems with their website or app!

    To get in-depth training about these core DevOps pipeline concepts visit DevOps Certification Course.

    DevOps Pipeline Components

    DevOps pipeline phases can be categorized in 4 blocks as displayed in DevOps pipeline diagram. 

    1. Source

    This can be considered as code management where we 

    • Check-in source code 
    • Peer-reviewed source code 
    • Maintain Version Control for source code 
    • Define git workflow for our source code deployment strategies 


    Package/ artifacts creation  

    • Compile code once it is pushed to the repo 
    • Run unit test 
    • Create container images and push to registry 

    3. Testing

    Perform testing on the developed artifacts before deployment 

    • Performing Integration Test 
    • Performing UI test 
    • Performing load test 
    • Performing penetration test 

    4. Deployment

    Deploying code or container images to environments 

    • Deploy to production/SIT/UAT environments 
    • Deploy with different deployment strategies 
    • Perform canary deployments

    How to Build a DevOps Pipeline?

    DevOps is about building a culture of continuous delivery, which is the practice of releasing code to production in near-real-time. It requires collaboration between developers and operations staff, who work together to improve the process for both groups. DevOps pipelines can be used for many different types of projects, including websites, mobile apps, and other web-based applications. They can also be used for building integrations between different systems.

    In the DevOps world, we think about the pipeline as a series of steps that can be executed in order. But there is more to it than that. The best way to build a good pipeline is to start with the end in mind and then work backward. Then, finally, take the best DevOps training to succeed in it.

    1. Planning

    Planning is the set of activities leading up to a pipeline's creation. The first step in planning your pipeline is to identify the requirements for your application. This can get done through an analysis of existing applications or research on the web. Once you have identified the requirements for your application, you must create a plan for them.

    2. Develop

    Once you have a plan, it's time to start developing your pipeline! DevOps pipelines are designed to increase efficiency at each stage of the development lifecycle, so they must be built with that in mind. In addition, you can implement good practices like automated testing, continuous integrationDevOps deployment, and user feedback loops to ensure you don't miss anything during the build process. If this sounds like something your team has already implemented but could use some improvement, consider implementing a version control system that can integrate with your DevOps deployment tools.

    3. Build

    The build step is an important part of the DevOps pipeline. A build is a combination of source code and dependencies that can be deployed to a production environment. The most common build tools are Maven and Gradle, but other devices such as Jenkins or Bamboo may also be used. Builds are typically run in continuous integration (CI) servers like Jenkins or Bamboo, which integrates with your source control system.

    4. Test

    Testing is another important step in your pipeline in DevOps. You should always test everything before deploying the product into production or QA environments, so you know everything works as expected. There are several types of testing, including unit tests, integration tests, and acceptance tests. You can also run these manually by running your test suite or by having a separate test team running them for you.

    5. Deploy

    Deployment is yet another important step in your DevOps pipeline. Still, many companies forget about this step when building their pipelines because they think they will do it later in their release pipeline after they've tested everything else first! The truth is that deployment should always be considered at least as early as test execution because if there were any problems with deploying after all other processes had executed perfectly, then you would already know about them by running automated deployment processes.

    6. Monitor

    The next step in the DevOps pipeline is monitoring your application performance and health. This is where you set up monitoring tools that collect data from your application and send it back to a central location for analysis. These tools can get used for everything from log collection to alerting about particular problems with your system's performance or health status.

    DevOps Pipeline Actions and Integrations

    AWS DevOps pipeline actions and their integrations are as follows:  

    1. Approval

    You can assign manual approval for your DevOps pipeline by which you achieve continuous delivery. The approval phase in the code pipeline console will be as follows:

    2. Source

    There are many inbuild source integrations offered by AWS CodePipeline few of the source integrations are as follows 

    • Amazon ECR 
    • S3 
    • Connections to Bitbucket, GitHub, GitHub Enterprise Server 
    • Code Commit 

    3. Build

    There are many inbuild build integrations offered by AWS CodePipeline few of the build integrations are as follows 

    • CodeBuild build actions 
    • CloudBees build actions 
    • Jenkins build actions 
    • TeamCity build actions 

    4. Test

    There are many inbuild test integrations offered by AWS CodePipeline few of the test integrations are as follows 

    • CodeBuild test actions 
    • AWS Device Farm test actions 
    • BlazeMeter test actions 
    • Ghost Inspector test actions 
    • Micro Focus StormRunner Load test actions 
    • Nouvola test actions 
    • Runscope test actions 

    5. Deploy

    There are many inbuild deploy action integrations offered by AWS CodePipeline few of the deploy integrations are as follows

    • Amazon S3 deploy actions
    • AWS AppConfig deploy actions
    • AWS CloudFormation deploy actions
    • AWS CloudFormation StackSets deploy actions
    • Amazon ECS deploy actions
    • Elastic Beanstalk deploy actions
    • AWS OpsWorks deploy actions
    • AWS Service Catalog deploy actions
    • Amazon Alexa deploy actions
    • CodeDeploy deploy actions
    • XebiaLabs deploy actions

    6. Invoke

    There are many inbuild invoke action integrations offered by AWS CodePipeline few of the invoke integrations are as follows 

    • Lambda invoke actions.
    • Snyk invoke actions.
    • Step Functions invoke actions.

    AWS DevOps CI-CD Pipeline Deep Dive

    Here we are going to explore AWS Cloud Native DevOps tools which help us in provisioning our DevOps pipeline.

    1. AWS Code Commit

    • Secure, Scalable, and managed Git Source control.
    • Use Standard git tools.
    • Scalability, availability and durability of Amazon S3.
    • No repo size limit.

    2. AWS Code Build

    • Fully managed build service that compiles source code, run tests, and produces software packages.
    • Scales continuously and processes multiple builds.
    • You can provide custom build environments suited to your needs via Docker images.
    • Only pay by the minute for the compute resources you use.
    • Launched with Services like CodePipeline or Jenkins.

    3. AWS Code Deploy

    • Automates code deployments to EC2 / On-prem.
    • Handles the complexity of updating your applications.
    • Minimal deployment downtime.
    • Rollback automatically, if failure detected.
    • Supports varied languages and operating systems.
    • Integrates with third-party tools like Jenkins.

    4. AWS Code Pipeline

    • Continuous delivery service for fast and reliable application updates.
    • Model and visualize your software release process.
    • Builds, tests and deploys your code on every commit.
    • Integrates with third-party tools.

    DevOps Pipeline Tools

    There are lots of DevOps tools available based on one of your DevOps stages, and you would be the right person to decide which tool best fits your requirements based on DevOps. A few of the examples are mentioned below. 

    • Code Stage 
      • Git 
      • Bitbucket 
    • CodeCommit 
      • Deploy Stage 
      • AWS 
      • Azure 
      • GCP 
      • Docker 
      • Kubernetes
    • Build Stage 
      • Maven 
      • Gulp 
      • NAnt 
      • Ant 
      • Grunt 
    • Test Stage 
      • Selenium 
      • Test Sigma 
      • CruiseControl 
      • Junit 
    • Release Stage 
      • Jenkins 
      • CodeShip 
    • Monitor Stage 
      • Nagios 
      • Splunk 
      • Datadog 
      • ELK 
    • Operate Stage 
      • Chef 
      • Ansible  
      • Kubernetes

    DevOps Pipeline Examples

    Let's take an example of a DevOps pipeline for a two-stage pipeline which has two stages 

    • Source Stage 
    • Prod stage 

    There are two stages defined, Source and Prod. The pipeline is an updating application with recent changes and continuously deploying the latest updates on production. Before deploying to production AWS Code Pipline creates the builds and tests for the web application. Here the source code is pushed in GitHub repository called My Repository.

    Diagrammatic representation of our Code Pipeline.

    Now when we push a change, for example, we have updated index.html file of the web application and pushed recent changes to the repository below action is taken by the pipeline. 

    1. On push commits our pipeline will detect the pushed changes in repository, and execution of pipeline starts from source stage that we have created. Here we are achieving pipeline continuous integration for the development pipeline. On push commits our pipeline will detect the pushed changes in repository and execution of pipeline starts from source stage that we have created. Here we are achieving pipeline continuous integration for the development pipeline.  
    2. Once the source stage action is completed, it will create output artifacts which would be application files from the repository. These output artifacts from the source stage will be input artifacts to our next stage, which is the production stage. 
    3. Once Prod Stage is triggered by Source stage, it runs build in CodeBuild, which is configured as build action in your pipeline. CodeBuild pulls a build environment image and then builds web app in a virtual container.  pulls a build environment image and then builds web app in a virtual container.  
    4. After the build, we enter our next stage, which is the test. Here unit test will be performed on the build web application as part of this action. be performed on the build web application as part of this action. 
    5. The final action is Integration testing created in CodeBuild and configured as a test action in the pipeline. The test action calls to shell scripts that install and run a test tool, such as a link checker, on the web application. 


    DevOps is a methodology that combines the development and management of software by creating a series of steps that include planning, coding, building application, testing, and deployment. DevOps pipeline is a structured approach to put these DevOps best practices in a real-time manner based on the task of the project requirements, which helps to debug the code faster, increasing the speed of release cycle, reliability, efficiency, and improved collaboration. Apart from using AWS CodePipeline, there is the Azure DevOps pipeline and azure DevOps release pipeline, which provide you with robust functionality and ease of use to develop your CI/CD pipelines. To know more about it, check out KnowledgeHut DevOps Certification Course.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1How can I create a DevOps Pipeline?

    The pipeline can be broken down into three major steps:  

    • Development: The first phase, development, is where you build out your application or service. 
    • Testing: Testing involves testing your code against predefined criteria to ensure it meets the business requirements, works as expected, and delivers value to customers. 
    • Deployment: Deployment involves deploying your application or service to production so customers can use it. 
    2What do you mean by DevOps Pipeline?

    DevOps is the practice of developing software in tandem with its deployment, using production-like environments and processes. DevOps is a philosophy, which means it's more than just a set of tools and practices. It's about how you work together across an organization to improve the quality and reliability of your software.  

    3What are the types of DevOps Pipeline?

    There are many types of DevOps pipelines. However, the following are some of the most common ones:  

    • Feature pipeline: The feature pipeline is a collection of steps to perform to build and deploy features to production. 
    • Build pipeline: A build pipeline is a collection of steps performed on one or more machines during the continuous integration (CI) process. 
    • Deployment pipeline: A deployment pipeline is a collection of steps that runs when you deploy an app to production. 
    4What do you mean by test pipeline in DevOps?

    A test pipeline is a set of steps a team follows to ensure that all tests pass. Test pipelines include automated tests, manual tests, and other steps that help you verify the quality of your product. In practice, most teams use tools to build and run their pipelines. One popular tool is Jenkins. 


    Mayank Modi

    Blog Author

    Mayank Modi is a Red Hat Certified Architect with expertise in DevOps and Hybrid Cloud solutions. With a passion for technology and a keen interest in Linux/Unix systems, CISCO, and Network Security, Mayank has established himself as a skilled professional in the industry. As a DevOps and Corporate trainer, he has been instrumental in providing training and guidance to individuals and organizations. With over eight years of experience, Mayank is dedicated to achieving success both personally and professionally, making significant contributions to the field of technology.

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