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The DevOps cycle: The relationship between continuous integration, delivery, and operations


Think of a Slinky. In your mind, you see a spring made of tight, repeated circles. The circular motion never ends, and yet the entire mechanism moves forward. Think of DevOps in the same way.


DevOps is a series of repeated cycles. The cycles keep spinning and the entire mechanism moves forward incrementally.


When you understand how continuous delivery, integration, and operations work together, you can harness the true power of DevOps.


Process automation enables the continuous delivery, continuous integration, and continuous operations cycles of the DevOps process.What's the point of DevOps?

The point of DevOps is to remove friction, lower risk, and increase speed of release in the IT environment. Three cycles—continuous integration, delivery, and operations—make that happen.


The DevOps movement started as a conversation. Development and operations teams asked, "How can we work together to improve the business and do it faster?" Though initially the domain of startups and web-based companies, it wasn't long before other enterprises saw the benefits.


What is continuous integration and testing?

Continuous integration is a development practice in which developers integrate new code into a shared repository many times a day. This integration is checked in and verified through automation. This frequent integration allows teams to find and fix problems quickly. Continuous testing is an automated process of testing performance, security, and integration with other elements.


What is continuous delivery and deployment?

Continuous delivery allows development and operations teams to release software into production at any time. Gone are the days of large pushes and software releases. Continuous delivery pushes executables into test production environments and then on to real-world environments. Continuous deployment is the follow-on step of continuous delivery. When the small software changes work in the test environment, they're immediately deployed into production.


What are continuous operations?

Continuous operations means that software and hardware changes happen so they don't disrupt your users. With continuous operations, your customers can keep working as if nothing is happening. Old versions provide service until new versions are successfully tested and deployed in both test and work environments.


What moves the DevOps cycle forward?

DevOps cycles repeat. However, assessment keeps the cycles spinning. You make a move and then assess the change. Did it work? Did the users like or even notice the change? What could make it better? Could the process be more automated? Could the process become invisible? You answer these questions as you assess. It's the answers that start the next round in the DevOps cycle.


Do you want to dive deeper into continuous delivery and the DevOps process? You can read more in Ralph Loura's post, DevOps: The IT Tale of the Tortoise and Hare.



About the author

Ronda SwaneyRonda Swaney


Content marketer focusing on IT, technology, and healthcare for CXOs, consultants, and entrepreneurs. Ronda advises clients on how to best communicate their messaging by taking complex material and simplifying it to engage both tech geeks and the uninitiated.

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