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What Is GitOps? A Guide for Developers

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What Is GitOps? A Guide for Developers
Author: DuploCloud | Monday, July 1 2024

Learn how to leverage Git’s version control capabilities to provide a single source of truth for modern application development

When it comes to version control systems, Git is king. Over 93% of developers use the repository service to manage their project files, according to a 2022 poll on Stack Overflow. Its ubiquity has led some to adopt Git as a central component of their development processes. They’ve taken DevOps philosophies and used Git as the foundation, ultimately coining the term “GitOps” to describe this evolution in application development.

If you’ve ever asked “What is GitOps?” or wondered how to implement it for your team, we’re here to help. Our guide will explain the core ideas behind the GitOps philosophy, the basic workflow, and GitOps best practices that will help you make your development pipelines more efficient.

What Is GitOps?

GitOps is a series of software development processes that rely on Git repositories to enhance and streamline infrastructure provisioning, continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) pipelines, quality control, security, and other aspects of modern application development. 

Like DevOps, GitOps takes a holistic approach to code creation and management. Individual elements ultimately feed into the whole product, meaning developers must consider all links in the product chain to improve quality for the end user. 

GitOps, however, uses Git's centralized nature and version control capabilities to provide a framework for meeting DevOps goals. Git is easily integrated into projects and can track code changes from anyone on the team, making it an effective tool that provides a single source of truth for Infrastructure-as-Code (IaC) and product updates. 

Developers that use GitOps tactics to apply DevOps philosophies can see massive improvements to developer efficiency while reducing cloud operating costs — especially when paired with the DevOps automation platform DuploCloud. Read our whitepaper to discover how to deploy cloud-native applications up to ten times faster.

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The GitOps Workflow

The GitOps workflow operates similarly to the standard DevOps workflow. The main difference is what acts as the brains of the CI/CD pipeline, whether that’s the CI processes or the Git repository.

The CI/CD pipeline is a linear process in a DevOps workflow. Developers write code and check it into version control. Once the CI processes determine that the code is free from bugs and security errors, they push the code into the repository and then further push these changes into production.

In the GitOps workflow, the process is generally the same: developers release code into Git, where CI processes determine whether the code is healthy enough to push into the repository. However, once the code is updated in Git, automated tools scan both the production environment and the Git repository. If they detect changes to the container or infrastructure, they pull these updates from the repository and update the necessary files.

This change ensures that Git remains the single source of truth for everyone involved in updating and maintaining software. A GitOps workflow also reduces the manual interaction required to keep software operating smoothly and reduces the friction to rapid deployment. If a code update breaks during a standard DevOps workflow, developers must manually investigate and rebuild the infrastructure. A GitOps workflow more closely aligns infrastructure and product development to speed up development without reducing quality.

Learn more about the GitOps workflow by reading Understanding the GitOps Workflow Model.

GitOps Best Practices

Transitioning to a GitOps mindset requires a new way of thinking that reframes development and operations workflows around your Git repository. Here are a few GitOps best practices that will keep your cloud-native applications humming along with minimal downtime.

  • Keep product code and configurations in separate repositories: This change leverages the GitOps workflow by allowing automated tools to easily pull configuration changes without triggering a full application rebuild. It also facilitates larger organizations that often have teams dedicated to product development and operations, allowing them to update their work without causing additional bottlenecks for other departments.
  • Rely on development directories over branches: Branches can quickly grow out of control with each change. Sometimes, branches need to be merged, while others don’t, and manually cherry-picking pushed updates is complex, time-consuming, and can easily introduce errors into your codebase. Instead, rely on directories when managing multiple environments to keep configuration details distinct.
  • Employ automated security and policy management protocols: As you shift to reliance on a central repository, you need to prevent unintentional updates from causing unforeseen security or performance consequences. Implementing security and policy management protocols ensures that updates only occur when they are properly scanned and vetted.

Discover other ways to make your GitOps pipelines more efficient by reading 5 GitOps Best Practices Worth Knowing.

Choosing the Right GitOps Tools

Like DevOps, GitOps is more of a philosophy than a specific set of technical requirements. This approach allows organizations to develop processes that fit their unique needs while leveraging Git to its fullest capabilities. 

There are a variety of tools that facilitate optimal Git usage, but finding the right one requires understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your current infrastructure. Here are a few considerations to make when looking for GitOps tools that work best for your team:

  • Integration: Your tools should integrate with your current tech stack as much as possible — this will allow you to leverage its capabilities without losing time or resources to refactoring your infrastructure.
  • Ease of use: Any new tool will come with a learning curve. You can reduce the amount of time onboarding takes by looking for tools that come with high-quality tutorials or streamlined interfaces that simplify complex operations.
  • Collaboration: Transparency is a significant benefit of GitOps, as version control provides ways to track and monitor numerous changes over time. Look for tools that take advantage of Git’s unique capabilities with enhanced communication and collaboration features.
  • Support: Tech support comes in various flavors, including robust documentation, online communities, and even a direct line to the platform team. Choose a support option that best aligns with your development and budgetary needs.

Read The 5 Best GitOps Tools for Modern Devs for more suggestions on optimizing your GitOps workflows.

DuploCloud Automates and Streamlines GitOps Processes

Automation is the key to integrating successful GitOps workflows into your CI/CD pipeline. It will help your team reduce mistakes, speed up deployment times, and reduce developer workloads so they’ll have more time to develop better products. And there’s no better tool for developing highly automated and compliant infrastructure than DuploCloud.

Our comprehensive automation platform integrates with Git and other tools you’re already using to streamline operations with out-of-the-box provisioning and deployment capabilities. You’ll also gain robust security and compliance coverage based on industry-standard control sets, as well as deeper insight into GitOps workflow performance with 24/7 monitoring and notification tools. Request a free demo today and discover how DuploCloud can help your product reach its full potential.

Author: DuploCloud | Monday, July 1 2024