As DevOps practices are sprawling across the SaaS business landscape, more and more companies are adopting continuous deployment tools, as part of their CI/CD pipeline. After all, this is a surefire way to ensure a smooth deployment process.
In this article, we’ll walk you through some of the most popular continuous deployment tools, to keep you in the know. But, before we get there, let’s examine what continuous deployment is, and how it’s related to the CI/CD process.
What is continuous deployment?
In software development, continuous deployment is the practice where the development team automatically releases changes made to an application’s code into the production environment. To put it another way, continuous deployment is the automated production deployment of every code change.
To explain the importance of automation here, the team runs a series of predefined tests. If the new code passes these tests, it’s considered to be approved, and it’s instantly deployed to production. While continuous deployment depends on automation, at the same time, it takes automation a step further, by helping remove the need for human intervention.
Continuous integration vs continuous delivery vs continuous deployment
During continuous integration (CI), development teams use automation tools to build and test the new code and, ultimately, achieve a seamless merging. To point out, when the developers make changes in the code, they merge them with the source code to identify bugs, as early as possible in the process.
After the continuous integration stage is completed, the continuous delivery (CD) stage begins. Here, the team releases the code in short cycles — making it easier to manage — while focusing on frequency.
It should be clear, at this point, that continuous deployment is not the same as continuous delivery; although the two are often interchangeably used — and, sharing the same acronym (CD) certainly doesn’t help. In fact, continuous delivery is the link between continuous integration and continuous deployment; with the latter being the final stage of a well-designed CI/CD pipeline.
In this respect, continuous deployment is the natural outcome of continuous delivery — when executed flawlessly. This means that, after a certain point, continuous delivery naturally becomes continuous deployment, in the succession of events. In combination, these three practices minimize the risks involved in the application deployment process.
Why do you need continuous deployment tools?
Building and deploying high-quality updates requires using the right deployment tools for establishing effective DevOps practices. This can be a game changer since these tools can help streamline the communication between development and operations teams. As a result, the teams can collaborate better toward minimizing — even eliminating — errors in the CI/CD pipeline.
9 continuous deployment tools to add to your research list
Before we begin with our continuous deployment tools list, we’d like to clarify that this is not a product endorsement effort. We’ve simply found these tools relevant and useful in the work we do here at Cycleops; and, we thought that this might be the case for you, too. By all means, we encourage you to do your research before choosing your continuous deployment toolkit.
So, there are certainly many continuous deployment automation tools to choose from, but few can really take a DevOps team’s efforts up a notch. Some of them include:
- Ansible — A suite of open-source tools that allows teams to automate application deployment, continuous delivery, configuration management, and other IT processes.
- Kubernetes — Another open-source tool that enables continuous deployment, and facilitates containerized applications management.
- Terraform — An open-source service that allows DevOps teams to automate various infrastructure tasks and implement continuous deployment.
- Docker — An innovative solution that allows teams to deploy applications in a sandbox (container) to securely test the new code.
- AWS CodeDeploy — An Amazon service that, among other things, enables fast releases, and helps avoid downtime during deployment.
- Google Cloud Deploy — A tool that enables teams to set up and run continuous delivery and deployment to a Google Kubernetes Engine environment.
- Chef — An open-source system for deploying applications on IT infrastructure.
- Cloud66 — A service that enables continuous deployment by allowing teams to commit their code and push it into production in a matter of minutes.
- Buddy — A CI/CD platform to build, test, and deploy applications fast.
Choosing the right continuous deployment tools for your CI/CD pipeline
When building your own CI/CD pipeline, choosing the right continuous deployment tools for your company will get the most out of the DevOps approach. The right tools will allow you to enjoy all the benefits of building, testing, and deploying your software automatically. As a result, you get to increase product quality and accelerate time-to-market. Hopefully, the above list will assist in your quest of putting together the right toolkit that can take your product to the next level!