Using Kubernetes to Run CI/CD Pipelines in Large-scale, Cloud-native Applications

Faster time-to-market and optimizing resources require developers to shorten the software development lifecycle. The traditional, waterfall approach is time-consuming and costly, because of which the adoption of DevOps has found favor with developers. One indication of this popularity is that the DevOps market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 25.2% between 2020-2025 to reach $12.5 billion by 2025.

One of the key elements enabling DevOps is CI/CD, which refers to Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery. In this, the development and operational processes are combined into one single, collaborative workflow.

In CI, the newly created app is integrated with the existing one, tested, and pushed ahead. In CD, developers build the project step by step, with each step ready to be delivered whenever required. This breaks away from the monolithic approach to development and instead takes a microservices route. One of the popular cloud platforms that helps automate the operations and deployment of cloud-native applications is Kubernetes, also known as Kubes. An open-source platform, it enables container orchestration by managing the container lifecycle in dynamic environments.

Key Features of Kubernetes

The two key features of Kubernetes architecture that fit in with the modern-day need for speed and accuracy are fault tolerance and high availability with auto-scaling. Further, Kubernetes offers stability and responsiveness needed for IoT, big data, machine learning, and AI applications. Kubernetes enables scheduling jobs, nodes, and pods efficiently because of its declarative structure and customizability. It is portable, extensible, and scalable.

When tools for CI/CD are used to deploy cloud-native applications, Kubernetes streamlines the development as well as the deployment phases. You can make applications built for the cloud much more robust if you integrate their development with the CI/CD approach.

Read more about: DevOps Role in Cloud Deployment

In traditional VM deployments, an entire application has to be stopped to make changes or updates. With Continuous delivery in Kubernetes, the app can run uninterrupted as it is being updated.

Continuous and seamless software delivery is enabled by the coordination and automation of the following four components of a CI/CD pipeline in a Kubernetes-based environment:

● Version control system

● CI system

● Docker Registry

● The Kubernetes cluster

If you would like to leverage Indium’s expertise in running CI/CD pipelines on Kubernetes for the development of large-scale cloud-native applications

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CI/CD Tools and Platforms for Kubernetes

Kubernetes can run several containerized CI/CD platforms at any given time, thereby allowing scale quickly. A few CI/CD platforms that work well with Kubernetes include:

Jenkins: A popular and stable CI/CD platform, its ecosystem and extensibility have won several customers from around the world. JenkinsX is a plugin meant for cloud-native platforms such as Kubernetes, with which it operates harmoniously and integrates well with features such as GitOps, Automated CI/CD, and Preview Environments.

Spinnaker: This is a CD platform that can be installed using a relevant Helm Chart and is meant for scalable multi-cloud deployments.

Drone: A versatile, cloud-native CD platform with many features can work on Kubernetes using Runner.

GoCD: Offering a variety of workflows and features, this can run in Kubernetes as a Helm Chart and is apt for cloud-native deployments.

Helm: An open-source package manager for Kubernetes, creates YAML files for Kubernetes deployment when a chart is called from the command line and adds them to the cluster. ‘Chart’ refers to a Kubernetes package and other dependencies needed for the app.

Ksonnet and Jsonnet: A configuration management tool built on Jsonnet, the JSON templating language, Ksonnet enables packaging Kubernetes resources. At the time of deployment, this can be used to create the required configuration files.

Draft: A build and deployment tool from Microsoft, Draft helps in creating cloud-based applications on Kubernetes. It can also generate Docker images once the code has undergone Continuous Integration.

CircleCI: A cloud-based, CI/CD tool, it has an API that allows automatic Kubernetes deployment.

Travis: A commercial CI tool, it can be used to sign up, link the repository, build, and test applications. It can also be integrated with other cloud repositories such as Bitbucket and GitHub.

Gitlab: A web-based, open-source CI/CD pipeline, it brings a repository of wikis, code review, issue tracking, and a CI/CD deployment tool. Designed to handle 25,000 users on a single server, it has in-built auto-deployment Kubernetes components and can support Helm charts.

Benefits of Running CI/CD Pipelines on Kubernetes

The purpose of CI/CD workflows is to shorten the development cycle, optimize software quality, and maintain its operability. From the time of coding to production, CI/CD automates the steps involved. These goals align with the goals of Kubernetes, which is to automate container deployments on different infrastructure environments and optimize resource utilization. Running CI/CD pipelines on the Kubernetes platform, therefore, helps developers achieve their goals of speed and optimization.

This is made possible by integrating GitLab, with a built-in container registry, with Kubernetes. It can be deployed to Kubernetes as part of the CD stage; it can be run on a Kubernetes cluster; or, batch job executions linked to a GitLab instance can be managed by Kubernetes.

Indium Expertise

Indium Software brings to the fore several years of expertise and experience in offering CI/CD Services for DevOps. We emphasize the adoption of automated workflows and the use of customizable infrastructure that can be constantly improved. This is made possible by using CI/CD pipelines to shorten the development time while enhancing the product’s quality by detecting bugs and incidents as and when they arise. In addition to CI/CD, we also use Continuous Monitoring Solutions to seamlessly streamline mission-critical applications within Docker, Kubernetes, etc.

We provide End-to-End CI/CD capabilities:

Continuous Testing to enable faster and frequent delivery of updates.

● Continuous Integration with a high level of collaboration across teams using tools such as Jenkins, Bitbucket & Github.

Continuous Feedback System through continuous communication, facilitating greater collaboration on priority areas between the development and operational teams.

From a customer perspective, our value proposition is extremely clear:

● 2X times shorter GTM time

● 50% shorter development cycles

● 3X increased team efficiency/ productivity

● 40% increased reusability

● 35% reduced failures and rollbacks

● 25% increased customer experience

Author: Indium
Indium Software is a leading digital engineering company that provides Application Engineering, Cloud Engineering, Data and Analytics, DevOps, Digital Assurance, and Gaming services. We assist companies in their digital transformation journey at every stage of digital adoption, allowing them to become market leaders.