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Streamlining DevOps Operations: The common challenges in Automated CI/CD Pipeline—and how to meet them

Automating the CI/CD pipeline is regarded as the best practice in an agile software development environment where faster software release is mandatory to meet dynamic customer needs. It streamlines the entire software development & delivery process while maintaining quality assurance. Although the automated CI/CD pipeline entails numerous advantages, DevOps teams often face challenges in implementing these tools. For example, a smooth automated process requires a series of successful events in a standard scenario. Still, most times, a few issues arise while setting up the automated CI/CD pipeline, affecting software quality and performance.

Commonly, the CI/CD challenges result from different development requirements, delivery challenges & roadblocks in risk compliance & team collaboration. Therefore, it is crucial to understand developers\’ key challenges while implementing the automated CI/CD pipeline. It will help in analyzing & avoiding the possible obstacles in CI/CD implementation.

So, let’s get started:

Common Pitfalls in Automating CI/CD Pipeline

Selection of Appropriate Tool: Many CI/CD tools are available for DevOps teams to automate the pipeline. Each tool has a wide range of features & capabilities that must be weighted to meet business requirements. The customization features, costing criteria, expertise level, and upgrade requirements of CI/CD tools must be considered to ensure it meets business goals.

Security Vulnerabilities: Even though the automated CI/CD pipelines have many benefits, there are security vulnerabilities that enable hackers to target specific codes & manipulate certain components to locate loopholes in the pipeline. Therefore, developers must be vigilant regarding security parameters while using the CI/CD pipeline.

Upgrade Costs: To maintain security & relevancy for CI/CD pipeline, the tools & other infrastructure need to be updated. But these updates involve costs like a software license, maintenance of internal resources, or professional services to administer updates & confirm compatibility. These factors must be considered before choosing the tool that aligns with business goals and project requirements & offers flexibility in completing different projects.

Integration Challenges: An agile organization needs to adhere to multiple testing environments, data sets, & end users, therefore necessitating the CI/CD pipeline to have the capability to integrate into complex and dynamic scenarios. The DevOps team should clearly understand the tool\’s integration capabilities to avoid any future challenges.

Skills & Expertise Needed: Automating CI/CD pipeline streamlines the software development cycle, but a skilled & experienced team is needed to handle the entire process effectively. In a scenario where distributed teams collaborate & that too across different time zones, it can be challenging if immediate updates are needed. Therefore, having continuous communication among distributed teams is crucial to accelerate the SDLC process.

Pricing: Automating the CI/CD process involves cost, as tools & infrastructure need to be maintained for smooth operations. It includes licensing fees or subscription costs, particularly for the enterprise level. In addition, the cost involved in infrastructure like cloud or server resources adds to the total cost of maintaining the entire infrastructure.

Scaling Complexities: Organizations with large codebases or experiencing frequent deployments must consider the scalability & performance of CI/CD tools. You need to evaluate whether the tool can bear a load of work & scale as per requirement. Furthermore, you must ensure the tool can deliver build & deployment within the required time to help you meet dynamic market needs.

Testing Complexities: A comprehensive test coverage in diverse environments is crucial to maintain the reliability of the testing process. The proper selection & prioritization of tests in the development, testing & deployment stages is critical to maintaining a balance between test coverage & execution time. Moreover, ensuring test reliability, parallel testing & seamless integration with SDLC processes is also crucial to managing all testing complexities.

Compliance Challenges: When using automated CI/CD pipelines, there is a need to ensure that all compliance regulations are followed. It becomes more challenging in regulated industries while working with distributed teams & diverse environments. Critical measures in this direction include following secure coding practices through vulnerability scanning & regular performance audits that must be adhered to avoid pitfalls.

Regular Monitoring: The key objective of an automated CI/CD pipeline is to avoid human error & expedite the development & delivery cycle. Even if the build, test & deploy environments are automated in the pipeline, monitoring the pipeline is crucial. It would help identify any loopholes in performance & a timely alert is diverted to the required team to take corrective action. If regular monitoring is not conducted, it leads to performance leakages & defaults.

Version Control: A CI/CD pipeline comprises various components, processes & resources to streamline the entire process. Once a CI/CD pipeline is ready & functioning smoothly, all the processes get automated & work on a stable version. But in a scenario where any process gets updated unexpectedly, it can affect the deployment process of the pipeline. Therefore, a lot of time & resources are spent on version control. If the new version doesn’t integrate well with the existing CI/CD pipeline, then the entire architecture of the deployment process needs to be restructured. Thus, having a careful analysis of the version updates can help to save time & resources.

Flawed Automated Testing: A CI/CD pipeline can impact software quality when a defective testing mechanism is used. It can affect the build quality with the deployment of incorrect codes & affect the overall quality & performance of the software. Therefore, analyzing the tools is critical before they are implemented for usage. But resorting to model-based testing and taking prompt actions on red flags can reduce the impact of flawed testing scenarios.

Complicated Debugging Reports: There is a dependency on reports for improving the product release velocity. But when the reports are too complex to be comprehended by the developers, the release time of software could be longer, delaying the time to market. It also affects the credibility of the development team & company’s reputation to bring products faster to market that are safe, quality-driven & reliable in terms of performance & quality. So resorting to visualizations in reports helps the DevOps team to act faster & deliver better results.

Deploying AI has its challenges.

Resorting to AI-powered process implementation enables a business to sustain market disruptions, but bringing AI into processes has its set of challenges-

  • Training a large set of data
  • Implementation & integration challenges
  • Need of specialized skills
  • Understanding bias, fairness & explainability in the AI models

A technical partner can help businesses optimize the smooth deployment of AI into business processes to accelerate their process efficiency & productivity levels. It results in improving overall product/service quality with reduced operational costs.

Conclusion

To sum up, by adopting an automated CI/CD pipeline, developers can streamline the software development cycle & push the code changes directly from staging to the production environment, accelerating the whole process. But, the CI/CD challenges are real, and there is a need to consider all factors carefully before choosing the right tools & infrastructure for fast-tracking your SDLC lifecycle. Moreover, having the right QA partner can help to ensure CI/CD pipeline that is secure, reliable & faster. We help our customers with a robust automation strategy enabling them to reduce costs & timeframe in SDLC & ensure quality parameters with expert QA services.

Leverage an agile CI/CD pipeline with an expert team to boost your product development cycle.

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Streamlining DevOps Operations: The common challenges in Automated CI/CD Pipeline—and how to meet them