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5 GitOps Best Practices Worth Knowing

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5 GitOps Best Practices Worth Knowing
Author: DuploCloud | Tuesday, June 25 2024
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To streamline development, increase efficiency, and improve reliability, developers should take to heart these fundamental GitOps principles

Git is one of today’s most popular development tools, so it’s no surprise that GitOps has taken root as an effective strategy for modern dev teams. But not all Git repositories are (or should be) created equal. To harness the full potential of GitOps as a subset of any DevOps approach, it’s important to design detailed workflows that play on Git’s many strengths. In this article, we’ll look at how to enhance efficiency, reduce errors, and achieve more reliable and scalable deployments using GitOps best practices.

Dig deeper into GitOps best practices, tools, and more with What is GitOps? A Guide for Developers.

Understanding Foundational GitOps Principles

GitOps employs the power of Git as a version control tool to help automate and streamline application development and operations. With its emphasis on security, observability, and collaboration, GitOps keeps data safe and teams aligned around a clear record of every change or update that has ever been made. These are the fundamental GitOps principles all developers should understand: 

  • Leverage a single source of truth: Git should serve as the unified single source of truth for all code and configuration files.
  • Maintain declarative infrastructure: Defining the desired infrastructure state with declarative language ensures that every change is aligned with that state.
  • Ensure continuous integration/deployment: Automating CI/CD pipelines means that every change is built, tested, and deployed toward the desired infrastructure state.

These foundations are what enable the automation benefits and streamlined workflows that make GitOps so appealing. To learn more about how DuploCloud can help your team speed up cloud application deployment by a factor of 10, read our free whitepaper:

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5 GitOps Best Practices Devs Need To Know

#1: Separate code and configuration repositories

Keeping your code and your configurations in separate repositories serves a few critical purposes. The first is that it allows you to make configuration changes without automatically triggering a full application rebuild (unless the application code has also changed and that rebuild is called for). Maintaining separate repositories also respects the fact that in many organizations, there are separate teams working on code and configuration files across different lifecycles. Waiting for approval on a single change or waiting for siloed teams to coordinate and agree on a proposed merge can slow down development and gum up the works of automated CI/CD pipelines. 

#2: Use directories instead of branches

Tracking environmental branches is difficult, and promoting changes across branched environments is complex. That’s because changes to one environment shouldn’t always be merged into every other branch. As branches proliferate, pushing changes one at a time (sometimes called cherry-picking) takes a huge amount of manual effort that is both slow and seriously error-prone. The more an application evolves, taking this kind of manual approach also introduces exponential code drift that can quickly become untenable. Using development directories instead of branches keeps each environment’s unique configuration details separate and intact. 

#3: Take a trunk-based approach to development

In order to adhere to GitOps principles, the best way to apply branches is within a trunk-based development model. Instead of creating endless branches that have to be individually configured and maintained, the trunk-based model avoids unnecessary complexity by creating branches, merging them, and then deleting them. A single branch serves as the trunk in question, and development plays out on a branch from that trunk. After a pull request and all the appropriate approvals are complete, the branch is merged into the trunk and deleted completely.

#4: Build security rules and policy management protocols

The reason branches are so popular among developers is that they distribute the risk potential. If something goes wrong, for example, it only impacts that one branch instead of the entire environment. But taking a GitOps approach, complete with trunk-based development practices, means there is essentially a single branch underlying the application as a whole. That’s why security and policy management are some of the most important GitOps best practices. Implement basic branch protection rules that keep the trunk secure by preventing unintentional or unapproved changes from reaching the public environment. And employ security basics like regular code reviews and vulnerability scanning to ensure you identify any issues before they become breaches.

#5: Distribute approvals across all impacted teams

With a trunk-based development model, the risks of mistakes are more concentrated in that single core branch. That’s why it’s important to ensure that any team or department whose work is impacted by a change is given the chance to approve that change. Some GitOps teams intentionally assign a minimum number of approvals to every proposed merge, but in truth any and every affected team should get the chance to review requests. Then go one step further by implementing role-based access control (RBAC) and assigning specific individuals the responsibility of implementing those fully approved changes.

Introduce GitOps To Your CI/CD Pipelines with DuploCloud

As a powerful subset of any DevOps strategy, GitOps is a great way to optimize development pipelines and improve the efficiency and reliability of deployments. But it’s important to understand that just like with DevOps, there isn’t a single platform that dev teams can implement to achieve GitOps. To streamline automation, increase traceability, improve security, and encourage collaboration, you need to be able to unite all the critical development tools your team already uses.

DuploCloud can help your team adhere to GitOps best practices by connecting your Git repository directly to a robust CI/CD automation pipeline. Integrations with all the leading Git and GitOps tools make DuploCloud easy to implement and use straight out of the gate, and industry-leading security certifications and top-tier support teams ensure that you have everything you need to succeed from day one. Ready to learn how DuploCloud’s low-code/no-code DevOps platform accelerates infrastructure provisioning by a factor of ten and helps modern dev teams effectively implement GitOps principles? Contact us today for a free demo.

Author: DuploCloud | Tuesday, June 25 2024
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