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What is Continuous Delivery? Everything You Need to Know

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11th Jun, 2023
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What is Continuous Delivery? Everything You Need to Know

If you’re learning about DevOps, you must’ve heard of Continuous Delivery too. It can be a little confusing, also as there are many similar terms, such as Continuous Deployment. Learn more about difference between continuous delivery and continuous deployment. But don’t worry because, in this article, we’ll be discussing Continuous Delivery, its different software testing methods, and its benefits. 

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What is Continuous Delivery?

In DevOps, when you make changes to your product, such as modifying configuration or adding new features quickly and safely by keeping the code in a deployable state all the time, we call it Continuous Delivery. 

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Continuous Delivery makes deployments routine affairs. The deployments could be of an embedded system or an extensively distributed system. In this process, the changes in your code get automatically prepared, tested, and built. You do so by removing the hardening, testing, and integration phases that are usually present in ‘dev complete.’ 

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How does it work?

You know the concept, but without understanding how it works, it would be too challenging to comprehend this topic thoroughly. Here’s a brief explanation of its working:

  • First, the automated build scripts detect changes in the SCM (Source Code Management)
  • Then, the system deploys the source code to a dedicated build server. It does so to ensure that the build isn’t failing. Moreover, it provides that all the integration tests and test classes are okay.
  • Then the system deploys the build application on the test server for the UAT (User Acceptance Test). The test servers at this stage are the pre-production servers. 
  • In the end, you deploy the application manually on the production servers for the release. 

What Does Continuous Delivery Pipeline Enable?

The Continuous Delivery pipeline is a series of automated steps and tasks that streamlines the transfer of code updates from development to production. It acts as the foundation of the software delivery process. It ensures that each change goes through several quality tests before being implemented in real-world settings. 

The pipeline consists of several tools, technologies, and methods that all work together to automate and improve the procedures for delivering software. The components of this pipeline include the following: 

  1. A version control system, like Git, enables programmers to control and monitor changes to the codebase.
  2. The pipeline’s initial step involves converting the source code into an executable form, such as binaries or bytecode. 
  3. Tools and frameworks for test automation help run these tests and produce reports to find any errors or regressions.
  4. Linters, code formatters, and static analysis tools examine the codebase for potential flaws, security holes, and compliance with coding standards.
  5. Artifact repository makes ensuring that they are accessible, versioned, and can be regularly distributed to various environments.
  6. The deployment stage entails automating the deployment procedure to several settings, including development, staging, and production. 
  7. Tools for continuous monitoring gather data on application availability, performance, and user activity in real-time. 

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Kinds of Software Testing Methods

 It’s essential to know the different software testing methods, so you understand Continuous Delivery better. Mainly there are two kinds of software testing:

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Whitebox Testing

Whitebox Testing focuses on the internal mechanisms of the system. Other names for this testing method are glass box testing and structural testing. We use it to verify the software. Two types of software testing fall under this category

Unit Testing

When you test an individual unit or a group of related units, it’s called unit testing. Programmers perform unit testing to see whether their implemented unit is generating the expected output or not. 

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Integration Testing

Integration testing is when you combine a group of parts to produce the required output. You also test the interaction between hardware and software to see if those components are related in any manner. Integration testing can fall in both categories, i.e., it could be under white box testing as well as black-box testing. 

This brings us to the other prominent kind of software testing, which is black-box testing. 

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Blackbox Testing

Blackbox testing is when you ignore the internal mechanisms of a system and only focus on the execution of the system and the generated output. Another name for black-box testing is functional testing. We use it to validate the software. Following are the kinds of testing that fall under black-box testing:

Beta Testing

The end-users, those who are outside the development team, perform beta testing. You can release a full pre-version of your product and term it as a beta version for this purpose. It helps in finding any unexpected errors. You must’ve seen many app and game development companies release beta versions of their products before the official release. 

Stress Testing

Stress testing helps you in evaluating how your product acts (or behaves) under stressful conditions. 

System Testing

System testing is when you put your product in various environments and see how it performs in those conditions. 

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Functional Testing (or Acceptance Testing)

Functional testing helps you in making sure that the required functionality in the system requirements of your product works. It also helps you in analyzing whether your product meets the needs of your customers or not. If your product wouldn’t match the expectations of your customers, it would surely be a disappointment. Functional testing helps you in avoiding the same. 

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Continuous Delivery vs. Integration vs. Deployment

Continuous Integration, Continuous Deployment, and Continuous Delivery aim to improve software delivery procedures. The difference between them is:

Continuous Integration

Continuous integration is routinely integrating code alterations made by several developers into a common repository. The primary objectives of CI are to identify integration problems and guarantee the efficient operation of the codebase. The continuous integration entails: 

  1. CI uses automated procedures to create the program and run tests on the integrated code.
  2. With the use of CI, developers may find and fix errors before they begin the development process. This lessens the possibility of significant problems.
  3. CI promotes developer collaboration by delivering early feedback on the viability of their code improvements.

Continuous Deployment

Continuous Deployment extends the concepts of CI by streamlining the Deployment of code improvements in production settings. Continuous Deployment aims to minimize personnel involvement in the deployment process and ensure new features and problem fixes are given to end customers as quickly as possible. It includes the following functions: 

  1. Continuous Deployment depends on automated deployment pipelines that allow code changes to be transferred smoothly from development to production environments.
  2. It supports regular and continuous releases, allowing companies to swiftly provide users with new features and issue solutions. 
  3. Continuous Deployment strongly emphasizes continuously gathering feedback and performance metrics from deployed applications.  

Continuous Delivery

Continuous Delivery is a methodology that guarantees that software can be reliably moved to production at any given moment. Incorporating continuous integration and Deployment, CD emphasizes the value of keeping the program in a deployable state across the development cycle. Continuous Delivery includes the following:

  1. It entails automating the development, testing, and deployment procedures in order to ensure a dependable and reproducible release procedure.
  2. CD encourages the usage of feature toggles, which let production businesses easily enable or disable functionality.
  3. CD strives to empower businesses to decide when and how to roll out new features by coordinating software development with business needs. 
  4. It offers flexibility in choosing the right deployment window while preserving a solid, release-ready codebase.

Benefits of Continuous Delivery

Many people think that the fast and frequent deployment software in Continuous Delivery leads to low levels of reliability and stability. However, research says otherwise. High-performance teams can deliver products and services faster than their little performing competition without compromising with security or safety. 

Continuous Delivery helps you in availing the following benefits:

  • Fast Delivery

The testing and integration phases of conventional software delivery can take up months. With this method, you don’t need to worry in this regard. Your teams would work together to provide the environment and automate deployment. You have the choice to add integration and testing into the daily operations of software deployment.

This way, you wouldn’t have to wait until the last moment to perform integration and tests. And as a result, you’d get to save a lot of time you might’ve wasted on redoing stuff. 

  • Low Risk

Continuous Delivery ensures that you get zero-downtime in your deployments. The deployments remain painless, and you can work on them at any time according to the users’ demand. Due to these reasons, the risk remains low. 

  • Low Cost

When you invest in the automation of build, deployment, environment, and test, you reduce the costs of the operation considerably. You also reduce the cost of making incremental changes to the product by removing the fixed costs of a release process. 

  • High Quality

Automated tools help you in finding regressions within minutes. This gives your team a substantial amount of time to focus on other more critical aspects of product development, such as high-level testing or user research. A deployment pipeline makes sure that your product remains of top-notch quality all the way through.

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Conclusion 

Continuous Delivery is undoubtedly one of the essential topics of DevOps. We hope you found this article useful. If you want to learn more about DevOps and Continuous Delivery, you can go to our blog and find multiple resources related to the same. 

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Kechit Goyal

Blog Author
Experienced Developer, Team Player and a Leader with a demonstrated history of working in startups. Strong engineering professional with a Bachelor of Technology (BTech) focused in Computer Science from Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1What exactly is DevOps?

The words development and operations are combined to form the term DevOps. DevOps aids in the faster delivery of apps and services. It enables businesses to provide better service to their clients and increase their market competitiveness. To put it simply, DevOps is better communication and cooperation between development and IT operations. It implies a culture in which association between the action, processes, and business teams is valued as an essential journey component. DevOps in a business produces continual value for consumers, so it's not just about the technologies. Along with people and procedures, one of its foundations is tools. DevOps improves an organization's capacity to offer high-quality solutions quickly. It automates an application's whole lifecycle, from development to deployment.

2What are the benefits of DevOps?

DevOps can help create a collaborative atmosphere in which developers and operators come together to achieve targets. The establishment of continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) is an important achievement in this approach. DevOps has a decreased failure percentage in new versions. It allows for a quick recovery if a new version crashes or disables the program. In DevOps, versioning the builds or code allows prior versions to be recovered if needed. It aids in the resolution of infrastructure issues and increases the quality of application development. DevOps is built on agile programming, which allows big codebases to be broken down into smaller, more manageable portions.

3What would you be asked to do as a DevOps professional?

DevOps professionals have a lot of responsibilities. As a DevOps specialist, you should be able to execute system troubleshooting and problem-solving across platform and application domains. It would be best if you also understood how to efficiently manage projects using open, standards-based systems and how to improve project visibility through traceability. With cooperation, you'll be able to enhance quality while lowering development costs. You'll also be expected to analyze, create, and test automation scripts and systems. Finally, you should choose the best cloud security solutions services to assure quick resolution of system difficulties.