Key Criteria for Evaluating CI/CD for Kubernetes Solutionsv1.0

An Evaluation Guide for Technology Decision-Makers

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. CI/CD for Kubernetes Primer
  3. Report Methodology
  4. Decision Criteria Analysis
  5. Evaluation Metrics
  6. Key Criteria: Impact Analysis
  7. Analyst’s Take
  8. About Don MacVittie

1. Summary

On the path to digital transformation, companies require continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) tools that support modern deployment methodologies. While these tools can control the build and release process, they must also control the deployment process if they are to be all-encompassing. 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 allows entire infrastructures to be packaged with an application, and since all of the application and its infrastructure are software, they can be managed in a manner very similar to the way code is managed. Kubernetes is also the portability panacea that IT has been searching for since the public cloud became a viable deployment point.

Kubernetes greatly enables extension of CI/CD from the “It’s ready to deploy” state, in which most CI/CD toolchains end, to “It’s deployed and running.” But Kubernetes is attempting to replicate the entire application hosting infrastructure, which makes it complex to work with from other tools.

This is where CI/CD for Kubernetes comes in. These are the tools that take a build all the way through to production in a Kubernetes environment. Most of them also support in-place upgrades on release cycles directly, though all of them enable rolling releases.

For IT, the key is extending the CI/CD process to be CI/CD/CD—ending in that final deployment. This implies automation, notifications, redeployment and/or rollbacks, and integrations with Kubernetes to make it a seamless part of the DevOps stack.

Neither CI/CD nor Kubernetes runs in a vacuum, though, and the ability to deploy to a variety of Kubernetes implementations (EKS and OpenShift, for example) and integration to critical IT systems like application monitoring are important to successful usage.

Increasing the complexity of the process, CI/CD tools that “could deploy to Kubernetes at the end” are not enough. The ability to integrate Kubernetes at both the CI step (testing, primarily), and after the CD step (deployment, generally) are both important.

There is no question that Kubernetes enables DevOps, and that rapid iteration is far easier in a purely containerized environment. The question is how well the tools available serve this need, which is what we intend to look at.

The GigaOm Key Criteria and Radar reports provide an overview of the CI/CD for Kubernetes market, identify capabilities (table stakes, key criteria, and emerging technology) and non-functional requirements (evaluation metrics) for selecting a CI/CD for Kubernetes solution, and detail vendors and products that excel. These reports give prospective buyers an overview of the top vendors in this sector and help decision-makers evaluate solutions and decide where to invest.

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.

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