Modernize your continuous delivery workflow for cloud-native applications.

Continuous delivery is a quest to end high-stress, high-risk release cycles. It seeks to end fingernail-biting release days and pager duty nightmares. It's a process that ensures code and configuration changes are constantly being tested, packaged, and released to production.

Continuous delivery not only lets you build, test and release code more quickly, it reduces costs and risk because you're shipping smaller, more reliable batches. As tomorrow's cloud technologies continue to emerge and evolve, DevOps teams need to adopt a cloud-native approach to delivering code to containers and other cloud-related infrastructure.

Continuous delivery = competitive advantage

Who’s adopting cloud continuous delivery for cloud-native applications?

The right cloud-native CD workflow and tools can increase the IT agility of your developers and operations teams, lower the time to value of infrastructure and software via an iterative process, and create business agility from analysis of key metrics and insights.

Here are two types of teams that benefit most:

  • DevOps teams at enterprise scale that need to move to cloud-native and are being asked to adopt containers, programmatize its utilization, and standardize practices across the organization.

  • Cloud-native and hybrid infrastructure teams with core developers utilizing cloud service providers who need a stronger way to enforce state across their entire IT estate and standardize CD workflows at an enterprise scale.

How is continuous delivery (CD) different than continuous integration (CI)?

Continuous integration is the automated process of integrating code into a central repository multiple times a day. A continuous delivery pipeline grabs all of that work and orchestrates the building, testing, and delivery of software in an automated way.

Continuous delivery processes aren’t just for applications. Learn more about how Puppet empowers DevOps teams to use CD practices to manage infrastructure.

What about continuous deployment?

For the more agile, iterative teams, continuous deployment is the addition of automation that allows code to ship to production if it passes required quality assurance tests along the way. This level of deployment and automation requires strong fundamental CI/CD processes, culture, and tooling.

How is continuous delivery different for the cloud or a hybrid infrastructure?

With containers rapidly becoming the de facto standard for application delivery in the cloud, traditional CI/CD methods can bottleneck software delivery performance. It requires a stronger unification of developer and operations workflows with cloud-native tooling.

When developers and operations teams collaborate during the build phase of an application, bugs and issues are found sooner. There’s less wasted effort throughout the DevOps process.

Addressing an increased focus on managing and orchestrating containers

Adapting continuous delivery for cloud-native workflows doesn’t mean abandoning existing DevOps toolchains and practices. Common IT processes and tooling like configuration management systems, log aggregation systems, and monitoring systems don’t disappear: these systems evolve and adapt to cloud-native requirements.

Configuration management systems are still used to deploy and manage the life cycle of core distributed systems, such as the container orchestration system, its delivery pipeline, and other dependencies (like data management systems that aren’t running in containers).

In a cloud-native workflow, there’s still a focus on log aggregation systems to provide data for audits, forensics, and predictive analytics. Operations teams must now intake and parse logs that come from the container orchestration system and the container delivery pipeline.

Evolving the infrastructure delivery pipeline with Dev and Ops

Another critical component is the container delivery pipeline. These systems and processes automate the build and test workflows for every code check-in. They also automate the deployment of successful check-ins into the container orchestration system.

The biggest shift in the operations workflow is to move core aspects of the infrastructure delivery life cycle, such as remediating vulnerabilities within infrastructure, out of the runtime monitoring of production systems and into the build pipeline.

For example, instead of patching a vulnerable package on the running container, the ops team needs the ability to flag a vulnerable package version using container inspection tools, trigger a rebuild of the container image, scan the image for vulnerable packages as part of the CI/CD pipeline, and only deploy images that pass these scans from a build perspective.

This shift from reacting in a runtime scenario to proactively remediating issues within every iterative build requires a continuous delivery solution with a cloud-native focus. This solution should be a bridge in unifying workflows between Dev and Ops teams.

Build competitive advantage through cloud-native continuous delivery

An iterative cloud-native approach to continuous infrastructure delivery is part of every organization’s DevOps transformation. Enterprise-standard container orchestration system and container delivery pipeline unlocks the agility to experiment and learn from their customers faster, and ultimately enforce reliable, secure infrastructure no matter where it lives. This means less time wrangling infrastructure and more time focusing on your users.

Continuous delivery with Puppet

Jez Miller, the infrastructure architect at Heartland Payment Systems, talks about how Puppet Enterprise's treatment of infrastructure as code turned deployment duration from about 10 hours to 10 minutes.

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Without Puppet, I don't see any way that we could have been able to continuously deliver releases in a consistent, reliable fashion to a million developers in the cloud, on premise, and in our embedded product within our other software providers.
Brad Micklea, COO, Codenvy

Related blog updates

Puppet joins the new Continuous Delivery Foundation

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