Table of Contents
- Market Categories and Deployment Types
- Key Criteria Comparison
- GigaOm Radar
- Vendor Insights
- Analyst’s Take
- About Don MacVittie
Continuous integration and continuous delivery/deployment (CI/CD) enables more rapid development and deployment of applications. Historically, however, the CI/CD process is weakest at deployment. Creating and delivering application artifacts has always been its strength, but the last mile of the application lifecycle—getting the application into an environment, fully configured with the application services it requires—has been a struggle.
At the same time, Kubernetes provides software-defined infrastructure. Kubernetes is very strong at bringing virtualized software services like networking and storage together with dynamic application deployment. Given a description of what an application environment should look like, Kubernetes can then build that environment and deploy the application into it. This makes the ability to actually deliver applications (and fulfill the promise of DevOps) possible. The final step of CI/CD can be deployment: to a development environment, to a test environment, or to a production environment in a slow roll-out. These environments, complete with environment variables and definitions detailing how to hook in bits of infrastructure, like application monitoring and corporate reporting, can be automated to the point that deployment is as simple as code check-in. The process of formalizing and automating those target environments allows near-infinite repeatability and the ability to control changes to the environment.
One of the under-appreciated benefits of Kubernetes combined with CI/CD is portability. It used to be that a physical solution being replaced required every application that relied on it to be replaced at once. With Kubernetes’ graduated rollout and software-defined interfaces (if not solutions), applications can be shifted over one at a time, or even a few connections at a time, reducing the impact of the inevitable issues that replacing critical bits of infrastructure cause.
To take a modern view, if an organization has decided to move some applications from the cloud to the data center, CI/CD with Kubernetes makes this project simple, and if not painless, at least less painful. Given applications designed for Kubernetes deployment, portability between cloud and data center is assured. Although the difficulty will depend upon the number and depth of application services a particular app pulls from the cloud vendor, Kubernetes eases the worst of the retargeting misery because you are not actually retargeting, but only moving from one Kubernetes installation to another. With CI/CD tools, simply pointing at a new cluster will port any Kubernetes native solution. Depending upon the environment, there may be some networking issues to handle, but most of the networking will be at the Kubernetes install stage, not the application spin-up stage.
This Radar aims to assist evaluators in comparing solutions that combine CI/CD with Kubernetes. These vendors all offer specialized CI/CD tools that enable Kubernetes to handle the deployment portion of the solution. We will touch on infrastructure as code (IaC) and GitOps as logical extensions of the automation these tools offer, but this analysis primarily focuses on core CI/CD functionality. Evaluators for whom GitOps is a core requirement should consult our GitOps Radar.
This GigaOm Radar report highlights key CI/CD for Kubernetes vendors and equips IT decision-makers with the information needed to select the best fit for their business and use case requirements. In the corresponding GigaOm report “Key Criteria for Evaluating CI/CD for Kubernetes Solutions,” we describe in more detail the key features and metrics that are used to evaluate vendors in this market.
How to Read this Report
This GigaOm report is one of a series of documents that helps IT organizations assess competing solutions in the context of well-defined features and criteria. For a fuller understanding, consider reviewing the following reports:
Key Criteria report: A detailed market sector analysis that assesses the impact that key product features and criteria have on top-line solution characteristics—such as scalability, performance, and TCO—that drive purchase decisions.
GigaOm Radar report: A forward-looking analysis that plots the relative value and progression of vendor solutions along multiple axes based on strategy and execution. The Radar report includes a breakdown of each vendor’s offering in the sector.
Solution Profile: An in-depth vendor analysis that builds on the framework developed in the Key Criteria and Radar reports to assess a company’s engagement within a technology sector. This analysis includes forward-looking guidance around both strategy and product.