Benefits of GitOps & Why GitOps Is Important

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If you’ve been considering implementing GitOps as part of your digital transformation strategy, chances are that you’ve been looking for a way to streamline your internal production environment processes. In this piece, we’ll introduce you to the benefits of GitOps and how it can help your teams properly delegate workflow responsibilities while increasing transparency throughout the development process. 

Originating in 2017, GitOps was initially developed as an operational framework tool to better enhance collaboration and productivity within companies. Using Git repositories, GitOps acts as a single source of truth for application deployments.

Introduction to GitOps

In the past, many organizations were plagued by a number of challenges when it came to handling cloud infrastructure management. Furthermore, internal processes were fueled by inefficient deployment pipelines containing antiquated manual processes, causing massive delays and extensive integration problems. 

Application code changes, firewall updates, and system architecture modernization all were delayed due to long lead times and widespread inefficiencies. Subsequently, development teams were forced to undergo continuous change cycles that required extensive amounts of deploying, testing, and retesting in each pre-production environment.

Companies are now beginning to implement Continuous Deployment for cloud-native applications with the help of GitOps. In fact, GitOps can help software development teams simplify deployments of cloud-native applications in real-time as a single source of truth for declarative infrastructure and workloads. As an operational framework that utilizes DevOps, GitOps was created as a DevOps best practices tool used for improving infrastructure automation. 

If your team is looking for a developer-centric process that can help streamline and automate the Continuous Deployment process, GitOps may be the right choice for your organization.

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What Is GitOps?

As a single source of truth, Git helps developers manage operations through infrastructure as code and by initiating merge requests. Leveraging Git as a core hub for modifying infrastructure, GitOps uses Git pull requests to automatically integrate changes. 

For more information, please visit our guide to GitOps

Why Is GitOps Important?

GitOps is considered a developer-centric experience that allows team members to manage and control the internal capabilities of cloud-native applications. It provides developers with an application development strategy that can be used to initiate pull requests as a means of accelerating and simplifying infrastructure changes. GitOps functions as a tool to help businesses deliver new features by automating the Continuous Delivery of cloud-native applications.

The core foundational principles of GitOps include:

  • Declarative infrastructure: Allows software development teams to focus on application development, as opposed to manually handling the logistics of deployment and dealing with excessive runtimes. The declarative nature of GitOps means configurations can be written as a set of facts directly within source code in Git as a “single source of truth.” The approach is predicated around how the system can be used to seamlessly achieve the intended desired state without being overburdened with manual issues. If errors or mishaps occur, apps can be simply rolled back.
  • Version control: Using Git as a single source of truth makes it easier to make adjustments and changes as needed. Declarative infrastructure can be stored in a single location within version control systems to improve development collaboration. Operations teams can either spin up prior versions of applications or perform easy rollbacks to previous states if necessary.
  • Automate change approvals: Changes to the application or system infrastructure modifications are automatically deployed. These feedback control loops can then be integrated into your Continuous Deployment pipeline, allowing you to initiate and automate deployments.
  • Use software agents to ensure correctness: Software agents can automatically reconcile potential issues that occur when the desired state doesn’t match the system’s actual state. When systems malfunction or potential failures occur, software agents provide feedback to software development teams. As a result, entire systems act in a self-healing manner, alerting teams to problems resulting from systemic issues or simple human error.    

GitOps allows delivery pipelines to seamlessly roll out changes to infrastructure initiated through Git. The GitOps strategy focuses on using a set of practices designed to compare production states to entire applications and alerts users when clusters don’t match the real world.

Although developers already utilize Git as the main source code of an application, GitOps extends collaborative software development to include configuration, infrastructure design, and various other components.

How Does GitOps Benefit CI/CD?

The beauty of the GitOps operating model lies in its ability to implement new changes, such as deployments within a system’s cloud infrastructure. The GitOps workflow allows changes to application environments to be initiated through pull requests to Git repositories containing Kubernetes files. 

Using Git as a version control system has become a cornerstone of CI/CD, with large organizations utilizing a single CI/CD pipeline for individual projects. Most commonly, projects are designated to separate Git repositories with different teams being allowed to work on projects in various CI/CD pipelines. 

The importance of GitOps is that it works around a single source control system that allows teams to properly distribute workloads amongst one another. Through automatic infrastructure updates, Git workflows are able to handle Continuous Delivery, allowing code to be pushed from repositories to CI/CD pipelines for change initiation. New releases are then rolled out within GitOps workflows using pull requests in Git that change from the current state to the declared state. Changes can be approved and merged before being automatically applied within the deployed infrastructure. 

After changes are merged, they are applied to a system’s cloud infrastructure. Engineers can compare the desired state in the repository to the actual state in deployed infrastructure. Differences between the actual state and repository that occur  due to human error or other issues can be reconciled. Developers can continually use standard workflow practices to initiate integration and delivery practices day by day. Let’s dive deeper into the benefits of GitOps. 

What Are Major GitOps Benefits?

GitOps uses declarative paradigms to help empower developers to implement tasks that may fall under the purview of IT operations. Using GitOps can help development teams solve a number of systemic issues through the implementation of new infrastructure configurations. Teams can experiment with small changes and revert to the prior state of a Git repository using Git history if needed. 

GitOps workflows provide more access control through the automation of CD tooling. The main reason GitOps is so useful is due to the fact that it allows people to contribute while simultaneously maintaining a perpetual audit history of all changes that occur. 

Some of the main GitOps advantages include:

  • Improved security and compliance: GitOps allows teams to use a single platform for infrastructure change management. As a result, downtime and outages are minimized, allowing developers to continue working without compromise. 
  • Increased collaboration and productivity: GitOps best practices are incorporated by software development teams in a manner that optimizes CI/CD pipelines. GitOps works by simplifying processes and improving oversight. Each and every team member can work from the same system and understand the status of individual processes. The single Git repository fosters collaboration amongst team members by assigning tasks to individuals and deploying code from each person as necessary.
  • Decreased manual oversight: GitOps helps increase automation allowing software teams to focus on development and application delivery rather than spending exorbitant amounts of time on manual and remedial tasks. As a result, downtime is decreased due to rollback functionality. 
  • Faster deployments: GitOps best practices allow teams to use open source technology to perform continuous integrations for expedient deployments. Quicker releases allow teams to be more flexible when responding to customer needs with minimal delays.
  • Increased reliability: Teams can collaborate with one another to easily identify and correct errors within a given time. Each change can be accounted for using merge requests allowing for rollbacks if new versions don’t work. GitOps allows teams to roll back to the previous state if newer versions experience errors. As a result, teams can implement updated features in stable environments.

How Can GitOps Change Your Workflow?

GitOps allows developers to single-handedly manage application infrastructure and configurations. As the single source of truth, GitOps provides developers with familiar tools that help improve automation and productivity. Using these simple GitOps practices allows developers to best optimize application development and enhance collaboration. With an expedited approval process, teams can focus on employing a developer-centric experience when developing cloud-native applications.

As an operational framework that uses DevOps best practices, GitOps is one of the best tools for improving the developer experience. Be sure to check out our webinar where we dive into how your team can best scale GitOps for the enterprise.

Conclusion

If you’re looking to begin your GitOps journey, we’re here to help. The important thing to remember is taking the first step today can result in positive changes for your organization’s future tomorrow. If you would like to see GitOps being used in action with Harness, feel free to reach out to us. We’d love to help your team tackle the challenges of today to help build a better tomorrow. Request access to our GitOps Beta today!

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