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Utilizing CI/CD Pipelines for Infrastructure Configuration and Administration

Steady Integration/Steady Supply, or Steady Deployment, pipelines have been used within the software program improvement business for years. For many groups, the times of manually taking supply code and manifest recordsdata and compiling them to create binaries or executable recordsdata after which manually distributing and putting in these functions are lengthy gone. In an effort to automate the construct course of and distribution of software program in addition to carry out automated testing, the business has constantly advanced in the direction of extra complete pipelines. Relying on how a lot of the software program improvement course of is automated, pipelines will be categorized into totally different teams and levels:

  •  Steady Integration is the apply of integrating code that’s being produced by builders. On medium to massive software program tasks is widespread to have a number of builders and even a number of groups of builders work on totally different options or elements on the identical time. Taking all this code and bringing it to a central location or repository is frequently accomplished utilizing a git primarily based model management system. When the code is merged right into a department on an hourly, day by day, weekly or regardless of the cadence of the event crew is, easy to advanced checks will be setup to validate the modifications and flush out potential bugs at a really early stage. When carried out in an automatic vogue, all these steps consist in a steady integration pipeline.
  • Steady Supply takes the pipeline to the following degree by including software program constructing and launch creation and supply. After the software program has been built-in and examined within the steady integration a part of the pipeline, steady supply provides further testing and has the choice to deploy the newly constructed software program packages in a sandbox or stage setting for shut monitoring and extra consumer testing. Much like steady integration, all steps carried out within the steady supply a part of the pipeline are automated.
  • Steady Deployment takes the pipeline to its subsequent and final degree. By this stage, the applying has been built-in, examined, constructed, examined some extra, deployed in a stage setting and examined much more. The continual deployment stage takes care of deploying the applying within the manufacturing setting. A number of totally different deployment methods can be found with totally different threat components, value concerns and complexity. For instance, within the fundamental deployment mannequin, all utility nodes are up to date on the identical time to the brand new model. Whereas this deployment mannequin is easy it is usually the riskiest, it’s not outage-proof and doesn’t present straightforward rollbacks. The rolling deployment mannequin because the identify suggests takes an incremental strategy to updating the applying nodes. A sure variety of nodes are up to date in batches. This mannequin supplies simpler rollback, it’s much less dangerous than the essential deployment however on the identical time requires that the applying runs with each new and outdated code on the identical time. In functions that use the micro-services structure, this final requirement should be given additional consideration. A number of different deployment fashions can be found, together with canary, blue/inexperienced, A/B, and so on.


The CI/CD pipeline element of GitLab CE

Why use CI/CD pipelines for infrastructure administration

Primarily based on the necessities of the event crew, software program improvement pipelines can take totally different kinds and use totally different elements. Model management programs are normally git primarily based nowadays (github, gitlab, bitbucket, and so on.). Construct and automation servers equivalent to Jenkins,, Travis CI, to call just some, are additionally fashionable elements of the pipeline. The number of choices and elements make the pipelines very customizable and scalable

CI/CD pipelines have been developed and used for years and I feel it’s lastly time to contemplate them for infrastructure configuration and administration. The identical benefits that made CI/CD pipelines indispensable from any software program improvement enterprise apply additionally to infrastructure administration. These benefits embody:

  • automation on the forefront of all steps of the pipeline
  • model management and historic perception into all of the modifications
  • in depth testing of all configuration modifications
  • validation of modifications in a sandbox or take a look at setting previous to deployment to manufacturing
  • straightforward roll-back to a recognized good state in case a difficulty or bug is launched
  • chance of integration with change and ticketing programs for true infrastructure Steady Deployment

On this sequence of blogs, I’ll show the way to use Gitlab CE as a foundational element for a CI/CD pipeline that manages and configures a easy CML simulated community. A number of different elements are concerned as a part of the pipeline:

  • pyATS for creating and taking snapshots of the state of the community each prior and after the modifications have been utilized
  • Ansible for performing the configuration modifications
  • Cisco CML to simulate a 4 node community that may act because the take a look at infrastructure


Easy community simulation in Cisco CML

Keep tuned for a deeper dive

Subsequent up on this weblog sequence we’ll dive deeper into Gitlab CE, and the CI/CD pipeline element. You probably have any questions or feedback, please go away me a remark within the part under.

Within the meantime, if you need to study and apply among the newest methods, please go to our Cisco Modeling Labs and the CML Sandbox. A world of community simulation awaits!

Meet me at Cisco Dwell in Las Vegas, June 13 to 16

I’ll be within the DevNet zone and on the following periods:

  • BRKDEV-2883 – Prism of Prospects with Cisco DevNet’s Community Programmability & Automation
  • DEVNET-1530 – NetAcad Session
  • DEVNET-2653 – Cisco ACI administration with Smartsheet
  • DEVNET-2806 – Construct customized safety advisory notification programs utilizing Cisco PSIRT APIs
  • DEVWKS-2367 – DevNet Workshop – Customized OpenAPI implementation for Cisco SD-WAN


We’d love to listen to what you assume. Ask a query or go away a remark under.
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