Unveiling the Meaning: What Exactly is GitOps?

As software development evolves with the acceleration of cloud-native technologies, there is a pressing need for new methods that reliably manage and deploy applications. One framework gaining traction in the IT industry is GitOps, a method that streamlines continuous deployment while mitigating risks. Market research shows that the GitOps industry is expected to grow at a CAGR of 19% through 2026. This glossary page aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of GitOps, its benefits, and how to use it effectively.

“GitOps – Operations by pull request. GitOps is a way of implementing Continuous Deployment for cloud native applications. It focuses on a developer-centric experience when operating infrastructure, by using tools developers are already familiar with, including Git and Continuous Deployment tools.” – Alexis Richardson

What is GitOps? Definition of GitOps

GitOps is an operational model, that combines devOps practices and Git – a version control system widely used in the software development process. It extends the use of Git repositories to manage infrastructure, application configuration, and deployment in a declarative manner. The core principle of GitOps revolves around utilizing Git as the single point of control for the entire application lifecycle – from development to production.

ℹ️ Synonyms: Continuous delivery, Infrastructure as code (IaC), DevOps, Version control, Automation, Continuous integration (CI)

How it Works

The GitOps model operates on three primary components: a Git repository, a deployment pipeline, and a reconciliation loop. The Git repository is the central hub for developers to collaborate, modify, and manage application code and configurations. They can submit changes as pull requests, where the changes can be reviewed and approved by peers.

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Once changes are merged into the repository, the deployment pipeline is triggered. This process uses tools like Kubernetes, Helm, or Flux to automate the deployment of applications and configurations to the targeted environment. It ensures that the desired state represented by the repository is the same as the actual state of the deployed resources.

The reconciliation loop serves as a continuous monitoring system, checking the consistency between the desired state (stored in Git) and the actual state (in the cluster). When discrepancies arise, the reconciliation loop can either update the infrastructure to match the desired state or alert the relevant team to act accordingly.

Benefits of using GitOps

  • Improved traceability and auditability: Git repositories provide a detailed history of code and configuration changes, making it easier to maintain compliance and track down errors.
  • Increased automation: By automating the deployment pipeline, human intervention is reduced, reducing the risk of human error and speeding up the deployment process.
  • Enhanced collaboration: GitOps allows for better collaboration between development, operations, and security teams, as everyone works from a single source of truth.
  • Greater reliability: By managing infrastructure as code, the stability and predictability of system deployments is improved.
  • Accelerated recovery: In cases of system failure, GitOps can quickly revert to a previous stable state to minimize downtime.

GitOps Use Cases

GitOps can be beneficial across a range of industries and system complexities. Some common use cases include:

1. Continuous Delivery and Deployment

Faster deployment and improved code quality are accomplished by automating the CI/CD processes using GitOps principles.

2. Infrastructure Management

GitOps extends beyond application deployment, making it simpler to manage and maintain infrastructure components (such as Kubernetes clusters and cloud resources) with version-controlled manifests and automated change deployment.

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3. Hybrid and Multi-Cloud Environments

Managing deployments across different cloud providers and on-premises data centers becomes more efficient and controlled by centralizing configurations in Git repositories.

Best Practices

While adopting GitOps, organizations should follow several key best practices. Starting with a well-structured Git repository and efficient branching model ensures that code and configurations remain organized and manageable. Implementing strong access control and approval workflows maintains security and avoids unintended modifications slipping through. Utilizing agents like Flux or Argo CD can simplify the deployment process and enable hands-off reconciliation. Finally, constant monitoring and proactive alerting system keep overall system health in check, paving the way for faster incident response and change management.

Most Recommended Books about GitOps

  1. “DevOps with Kubernetes: Accelerating software delivery with container orchestrators” by Hideto Saito, Hui-Chuan Chloe Lee, and Ke-Jou Carol Hsu.
  2. “Kubernetes Best Practices: Blueprints for building successful applications on Kubernetes” by Brendan Burns, Eddie Villalba, Dave Strebel, and Lachlan Evenson.
  3. “Kubernetes Patterns: Reusable Elements for Designing Cloud-Native Applications” by Bilgin Ibryam and Roland Huß.

Conclusion

In conclusion, GitOps offers an effective solution for managing complex application lifecycle and infrastructure. This IT industry trend provides improved traceability and auditability, enhances collaboration, and automates deployments. By applying best practices and understanding its use cases, organizations can leverage GitOps to optimize their software development process and drive exceptional outcomes.

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Back in 2013, I founded Echo with the simple business idea: "Connect great tech companies around the globe with the brightest software engineers in Eastern Europe." We've employed hundreds of talents so far and keep going.
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li-url Lou Reverchuk

IT Entrepreneur

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