The Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) pipeline has evolved as a cornerstone in the fast-evolving world of software development, particularly in the field of cloud computing.

This blog aims to demystify how CI/CD, a set of practices that streamline software development, enhances the agility and efficiency of cloud computing. We’ll look into the main components that make CI/CD pipelines indispensable in today's cloud-centric software landscape, from cloud-native testing frameworks to automated builds and deployment tools. Through this, we hope to create a deeper understanding of the importance of the CI/CD pipeline in the cloud industry.

What is Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery and Continuous Deployment (CI/CD)?

The software development lifecycle is made simpler by a set of protocols known as Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD).

CI/CD is an essential part of the software development lifecycle, assisting teams in responding to market needs and effectively delivering high-quality software. Before Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery, the software development process was characterized by long development cycles, high error rates, and inconsistent releases. CI/CD is now widely accepted as best practice among teams for quickly releasing changes, automating testing, and merging code conveniently.

Your code modifications can be combined with CI into a single repository for testing and CI. CI produces more dependable and resilient code by assisting in the early detection of integration problems. Conversely, Continuous Deployment (CD) automates the release of code to production after it has passed many automated tests, guaranteeing that new features and bug fixes reach end users promptly and reliably.

CI/CD devops

Introduction to Continuous Integration (CI)

In software development, several systems and applications are created, tested, and delivered several times a day. Even in small organizations, most software projects will have numerous features being developed by various team members. The complexity involved in the software development lifecycle is reduced by Continuous Integration. Continuous Integration (CI) is categorized by a series of events in a DevOps lifecycle.

The DevOps lifecycle describes the processes by which an idea, such as a new software feature, an enhancement request, or a bug correction, gets from development to deployment in a production environment where these new features will reach the end users.

Continuous Integration is a software development practice that involves regularly integrating code into a common repository. This is done by developers several times a day each time they update the codebase. Each of these integrations can then be tested automatically. In a team, a set of rules and procedures are required for successful Continuous Integration, they include automating builds, automating testing, a single source code repository, visibility of the entire process, and real-time code access to everyone in the team. For a seamless CI in DevOps teams, it's always best for developers in the team to push their updates to the main branch a little bit at a time. This is effective for easily resolving issues and predicting releases.

Feature flags also enhance CI in software development. With Feature flags, you can enable or disable specific configurations in your software, ensuring safe testing of software in production by separating code deployment from future releases. Another important practice to enhance seamless CI in teams is the use of labels to manage different activities or stages of an ongoing project. Labels such as Planning, In Progress, Staging, Reviewed, and labeling deployment fails help in working on a stage effectively. These labels can be replaced or removed when a stage is completed.

The importance of CI in DevOps teams

CI is important in teams because it quickens the feedback process, and organizations make revenue on features they deploy without waiting for manual code checks. Additionally, studies done by DevOps Research and Assessment (DORA) have shown that DevOps practices lead to improved business outcomes in the following metrics known as the DORA4 metrics:

  • Lead time: Build/test automation and early feedback assist in reducing the amount of time it takes to get code from commit to successfully operating in production.
  • Deployment frequency: Automated builds and testing are a need for automated deployment.
  • Time to restore service: By accelerating the deployment of patches to production, automated pipelines lower the mean time to resolution (MTTR).
  • Change failure rate:The number of faults that reach production is substantially decreased by early automated testing.

An Introduction to Continuous Delivery/Continuous Deployment

Continuous Delivery (CD)

Continuous Delivery (CD) involves automating the process of application release after the codebase has passed the CI stage.

Continuous Delivery is a DevOps practice that bridges the gap between developers and operation teams. This process involves all the steps in the production cycle which includes building, testing, configuring, and deploying. When the codebase has been built and tested, Continuous Delivery takes charge of the software release stage to ensure low risk and reliability.

In Continuous Delivery, the environment for deployment can include a Kubernetes cluster, public cloud instance, or private, on-premises data center. The Continuous Delivery process usually starts with a trigger that kicks off the pipeline process. A trigger can be manual or automated in the CI/CD pipeline.

Continuous Deployment (CD)

Continuous Deployment involves the automated delivery of code changes from the repository to production, where they may be used by customers. It tackles the issue of overburdening operation teams with labor-intensive manual procedures that delay the delivery of software. The only thing that will stop a new change from being sent into production is a failing test.

Continuous Delivery differs from Continuous Deployment in that code may be deployed at any time, whereas Continuous Deployment can only occur after Continuous Delivery is implemented first.

Continuous deployment relieves the team's scheduling burden and quickens the feedback loop with your consumers. Teams can then concentrate on developing software, and shortly after they've completed it, they can witness their work go live.

The importance of Continuous Delivery/Continuous Deployment in DevOps teams

Continuous Delivery provides a lot of benefits to development teams. These benefits include:

  • Automation of the software release process.
  • Lower testing costs because of multiple tests being run in seconds.
  • Bug issues are quickly identified and resolved.
  • The release time of the software is faster to reach the market through continuous testing and development.
  • In cloud environments, Continuous Delivery allows teams to manage cloud resources effectively.
  • Improved accessibility and communication in teams.

On the other hand, Continuous Deployment provides a lot of benefits to teams when integrated into a pipeline. These benefits include:

  • Faster development and releases because deployment pipelines are triggered automatically for every change.
  • Releases are less risky, and bugs are easier to fix as you deploy small batches of changes one at a time.
  • Customers can see continuous improvements and quality in software over a period of time.


CI/CD in cloud environments

Key aspects of CI/CD in Cloud Environments

Software development nowadays is radically different because of Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD), which have become essential elements of software development. Scalability, flexibility, and dependability provided by cloud settings are used by CI/CD in cloud computing. Let's examine how these elements make software development lifecycles more effective.

Scalability in cloud-based CI/CD

Cloud systems are excellent at facilitating scalability in CI/CD processes through the following ways:

  • In response to the changing requirements of the software development pipeline, cloud systems provide a dynamic environment where resources can be supplied and de-provisioned.
  • Scalability guarantees that CI/CD workflows can grow without the need for human involvement.
  • In cloud-native testing environments, several tests can run in parallel, cutting down on the amount of time needed for thorough testing.
  • Scalability guarantees that applications can be deployed to multiple environments in a CI/CD pipeline.

Flexibility in cloud-based CI/CD

Flexibility is important when working on software development. Cloud environments offer you flexibility in various ways:

  • Cloud environments offer you the ability to choose instance types and configurations that align with your project's needs.
  • Cloud environments offer you the ability to work on software development projects involving several technologies and frameworks.
  • Kubernetes also plays a crucial role in CI/CD because of the container orchestration demands Kubernetes meets within cloud platforms, as compared to the traditional way of using virtual machines for build and deployment processes.
  • A wide range of computing and storage choices are provided by cloud providers, so you can choose the best resources for your project.

Reliability in cloud-based CI/CD

Data redundancy safeguards critical information used in CI/CD processes through the following ways:

  • Cloud platforms are valuable for continuous testing, building, and deployment in CI/CD due to the fully operational services and infrastructure.
  • Modern cloud providers offer disaster recovery and load-balancing services. This guarantees that CI/CD components can handle fluctuating workloads without reduction in performance, and that backup and recovery plans are in place to restore configurations and data in cases of interruptions.
  • Service Level Agreements (SLAs) offered by cloud providers guarantee uptime and performance levels due to data centers spanning multiple regions. This adds resilience by reducing the impact of regional outages and network disruptions.

Key components of a CI/CD pipeline in cloud computing

cicd pipelines

Various components make up the CI/CD pipeline in cloud environments. These components include:

  1. Source Control: Cloud-native source control repositories like GitHub and GitLab offer you the ability to store, version, and manage your source code with ease. The cloud's role in source control extends to the security and accessibility of code. They integrate with CI/CD pipelines, triggering automated workflows when code changes are pushed to the repository.
  2. Build: The build phase in a CI/CD pipeline automates the process of converting source code into executable artifacts. This method provides on-demand resource access in the cloud, enabling you to rapidly develop and assemble code for various project sizes. Code compilation and artifact creation take less time because of cloud computing, which guarantees that numerous build agents can execute concurrently.
  3. Test: Microservices, mobile apps, and web apps can all be tested in specialized settings with cloud-native technology. Because of its adaptability, you can evaluate your program in any environment. Testing time is decreased, and parallel test execution is made possible by cloud testing environments. Comprehensive testing is made possible by the cloud's capacity to replicate various user loads, network circumstances, and device types, which results in quality software.
  4. Deploy: In a cloud-native CI/CD pipeline, deployment benefits from automation and cloud-specific advantages. Cloud orchestration services like Kubernetes offer sophisticated deployment strategies, enabling zero-downtime releases, rolling updates, and canary deployments. Cloud platforms provide infrastructure as code (IaC) tools that allow you to codify your deployment configurations, ensuring that deployment environments can be recreated consistently.
  5. Monitor & Feedback: Cloud platforms give you real-time analysis of the health of your applications and cloud infrastructure through advanced monitoring tools and services. Cloud-based monitoring creates continuous feedback loops and guarantees that you get information on user behavior and application performance. Additionally, feedback data is incorporated into the CI/CD pipeline in cloud environments to affect subsequent development cycles.

Advantages of running CI/CD pipelines in the Cloud

Teams can optimize resource use in a cloud-native environment by considering workload needs. Seamless Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) workflow is made possible by this cloud-native integration, which also lays the groundwork for software development processes that are efficient, safe, and collaborative. In this section, we'll look at the benefits of using cloud-native environments for CI/CD pipelines.

Advantage Description
Cost-Effectiveness Cloud services offer you Pay-as-you-go to only pay for the processing and storage resources used in your CI/CD workflows. You can also scale resources up or down depending on the workload.
Speed Cloud platforms give you on-demand access to scale computing resources. It is possible to deploy extra resources, such as virtual machines or containers, in a few minutes, giving you the flexibility to manage growing workloads in parallel.
Collaboration Development teams can collaborate more effectively when using cloud-native CI/CD because of a common cloud repository, and development environment. To maintain organization and prevent conflicts between your development operations, ensure you create separate environments for each project.
Security Cloud environment offers identity and access management, data encryption, network security, and compliance certifications because of the difficulties in securely storing secrets such as API keys and database credentials in cloud environments.
Adaptability Cloud platforms offer you resources that make it easy to accommodate your varying workloads and pivot when needed. Also, containerization and serverless computing provide agility enabling you to pivot by altering application components or creating new serverless functions, and the impact of regional issues is reduced by the global presence of cloud environments.

Challenges of CI/CD pipeline

Although cloud-based CI/CD procedures have many benefits, several issues and concerns need to be taken into account.

Monitoring costs

Firstly, because cloud computing is dependent on usage-based billing, monitoring costs can be challenging because charges can mount up rapidly. Enabling automatic scaling and resource de-provisioning, optimizing settings, and closely monitoring resource consumption are all necessary to control cloud expenses.

In the field of cloud cost management, Civo is a major contributor. With Civo, you may avoid vendor lock-in by paying just for the resources you use, as well as receiving an upfront and transparent pricing and chargeable services overview.

Several tools can help you monitor cost in your pipeline. Tools such as Komiser or Kubecost give you a clear overview of the resource you're using and show you exactly where your money is going. You can also use Komiser to gather insights from multiple cloud providers and relay your relevant costs under one unified view. After that, these may be downloaded and stored as individual reports.

Protecting sensitive data

Protecting sensitive data while making sure CI/CD procedures adhere to legal obligations tends to be difficult. To address these issues, Civo offers secure credential management procedures, access control, and encryption. Also, the learning curve associated with new cloud-native CI/CD tools is addressed by Civo's dedication to educational resources and support, ensuring you quickly adapt to evolving cloud technologies.

Best practices for CI/CD

Several crucial best practices are followed when CI/CD is deployed in the cloud to guarantee reliable, secure, and efficient software delivery.

Infrastructure as Code (IaC)

IaC is a software development practice that involves defining and managing infrastructure elements, such as servers, networks, and databases, in a code format. Ansible and Terraform are some popular tools used in IaC. Some of the advantages of IaC include:

  • Repeatability.
  • Scalability
  • IaC offers you the ability to apply version control, testing, and continuous integration to infrastructure management.

Rollback strategies

In the case of deployment errors, quick restoration to a stable state is made possible by automated and pre-tested rollback procedures, which reduce risks and downtime. Git, Jenkins, and Terraform are some of the tools used for rollback strategies. Common rollback strategies include:

  • Red-Black Deployment: This strategy involves maintaining two production environments, The current version may be identified as "Red," and the new version may be identified as “Black.” After a new version is deployed and tested in the "Black" environment, the traffic will switch from "Red" to "Black." If issues arise, it switches back to “Red.”
  • Canary Releases: A new version is progressively made available to a select group of users or servers through a canary deployment. The deployment can be stopped or reversed if problems are found before it affects every user.
  • Rolling Back Database Migrations: It is essential to have scripts to undo changes made to a database schema in case a previous version needs to be rolled back.
  • Snapshot Rollback: Taking snapshots of your entire system, or of its critical components is important for restoring the system to its pre-deployment state.

Continuous testing and security integration

Continuous testing ensures the software's functionality and performance throughout the development cycle, while security integration in CI/CD focuses on integrating security into every phase of the software development cycle. Let's look more closely into what these processes entail.

  1. Continuous Testing: Continuous testing is the process of automatically testing software throughout its development lifecycle to ensure its quality, reliability, and performance. This process involves running automated tests at various stages of the development cycle, including unit testing, integration testing, system testing, and acceptance testing. Some tools that can be used to achieve these various tests include Selenium and TestNG.
  2. Security Integration: Security Integration involves integrating security practices into the CI/CD pipeline. In DevOps culture, DevSecOps is the core aspect that focuses on security. Security integration includes automated security testing, vulnerability scanning, and compliance checks. Tools used for security integration in CI/D pipeline include Veracode, SonarQube, and GitLab

Openness and communication in teams

Success requires openness and communication within teams. Ensuring that security and compliance are integrated into the pipeline guarantees that all parties are in agreement. Teams are better equipped to handle new threats when they get regular security training and knowledge exchange. Version control tools such as GitHub or GitLab can be used to achieve seamless openness and communication in teams.

Implementing CI/CD tools

CiCD tools

In the CI/CD pipeline, different tools have distinct functions that can be customized to match the needs of your project. Some of the tools available in the Civo Marketplace include:

Tools Description
Argo Project Argo project is a set of open-source tools that simplifies Kubernetes application deployment, scaling, and operational tasks. Some of these Argo tools include Argo Workflow, which allows you to use YAML configurations to enable the automation of tasks and dependencies. Argo CD, a GitOps tool that automates the deployment of applications by using the configurations stored in your repository. Finally, Argo Workflow Argo Rollouts which is used to perform canary releases and gradual delivery of new features for automated updates.
Chaos Mesh Chaos Mesh is a Chaos Engineering tool useful for Kubernetes deployments. Applications become more dependable and resilient when Chaos Mesh is incorporated into a CI/CD pipeline in cloud settings. When fault tolerance and resilience are critical factors, Chaos Mesh performs well. For example, Chaos Mesh can mimic network delay, pod failures, or other interruptions throughout the CI/CD testing process to make sure that the application operates reliably in unfavorable circumstances. This is especially important in cloud-native designs because dispersed and dynamic systems require more resilience.
Litmuschaos Litmuschaos is useful for Chaos Engineering in Kubernetes systems. Through the testing step of the pipeline, teams can simulate a range of interruptions, such as network outages, pod malfunctions, or resource constraints, in order to monitor applications in unfavorable circumstances. This assists teams in identifying and resolving problems rapidly in CI/CD pipelines.
Jenkins Jenkins is a particularly useful tool for development, testing, and deployment in cloud settings. Teams can use it to improve resources to suit project demands and optimize CI/CD processes. Jenkins is a versatile tool. You can work with a variety of languages and deployment situations.
Keptn With Keptn, you can automate every stage of an application lifecycle, from production deployments to automated testing. You can use Keptn to automate testing and deployment processes in CI/CD pipelines, increasing workflow efficiency. Because of its event-driven approach, which ensures that actions are initiated in response to specific events, Keptn is crucial to the automation of the whole application lifecycle. This flexibility and adaptability allow the automation process to be very versatile.
Tekton Building CI/CD pipelines is the focus of the Kubernetes-native framework—Tekton. Tekton is easily integrated into cloud systems since it is cloud-native and provides scalability and agility. Because Tekton performs well in Kubernetes settings, it is a good fit for organizations that have a significant investment in orchestration and containerized apps. Because it provides a wide range of connectors and extensions to meet different application development demands, Tekton is frequently utilized in scenarios requiring complex CI/CD workflows.

Testing strategies in the CI/CD pipeline

Automated testing in the CI/CD pipeline ensures that new code either passes the testing stage and moves to the next stage of production or fails. This ensures only valid codes make it to production, ensuring early detection of regressions, and vulnerabilities in the software delivery cycle.

As an application changes, it is also necessary to test the application. There are five testing strategies to incorporate into your CI/CD pipeline to improve the quality of software releases: API, Graphical User Interfaces (GUI), Non-Functional, Regression, and AppSec testing.

API testing

An API is a critical component of an application. Mobile devices, Internet of Things (IoT) technology, and applications depend on API. Tools like Soap UI, Swagger, and 3scale allow you to execute API tests directly from your pipeline.

Graphical User Interfaces (GUI) testing

GUI problems are usually difficult to troubleshoot when the software reaches production. Problems like the inability to access an application or some functionalities in the app are prevented by GUI testing. Tools like Selenium and Appium are used for GUI testing to simulate points or clicks like a real user would from their PC to execute an action.

Non-Functional testing

Non-functional testing involves exposing an application to adverse conditions such as network disconnection, upgrades, load, and stress in order to determine how the program will react in certain circumstances.

Regression testing

Regression testing helps in the early detection of bugs, and vulnerabilities in an application. A tool like Selenium can be used for regression testing. Three phases need to be considered when implementing Regression testing.

  1. QA testing: This phase focuses on end-to-end functionality.
  2. The second phase is when the regression testing is implemented into the CI/CD pipeline.
  3. In this last phase, the existing tests are maintained in the application for further changes in the application.

AppSec testing

Security scans in your CI/CD pipeline are essential for ensuring consistent security against vulnerabilities. Various aspects of security testing include:

  • Static Application Security Testing (SAST): This testing involves identifying potential vulnerabilities. Tools like SonarCube and Vercode can be used here.
  • Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST): This testing involves analyzing applications in the execution or running state. IBM Security AppScan and Invicti are tools that can used for these tests.
  • Container Testing: This testing is also another aspect of AppSec testing which involves analyzing container images to detect issues within components in the container. Tools like Aqua , Stackrox, and Blackduck can be used.


Effective software development methods are produced by combining CI/CD with cloud computing. The software delivery process is made more dependable and scalable by this dynamic synergy, which also quickens the development lifecycle. Development teams can tackle the changing landscape of contemporary software with unparalleled agility and accuracy by combining the strength of CI/CD automation with the adaptability of cloud resources in a seamless way.

Cloud-based CI/CD has several benefits. Every facet of the development process is improved by this partnership, including flexibility, security, and cooperation, in addition to speed and cost-effectiveness. To transform software development processes and guarantee the timely delivery of high-quality applications in a constantly evolving technological landscape, enterprises, and development teams must explore and use cloud-based CI/CD solutions.

Further resources

If you want to know more about CI/CD, take a look at these resources: