DevOps Pipeline

What is DevOps Pipeline?

DevOps pipeline is a practice where both the development and the operations team use this method to build, test, and deploy the software faster. The goal of using a pipeline is to remain focused and organized during the software development life-cycle (SDLC).

Generally, before releasing any application, developers have to write code and they also ensure that the code is error-free and it will not cause any harm to the application. To avoid any failure they involve various kinds of tests to find out the mistakes. And once they are satisfied with the code or the outcome, they release the code for the user.

Components of DevOps Pipeline

To ensure that the code moves from one stage to the next seamlessly, DevOps teams need to understand the crucial components of the DevOps pipeline that are:

  • Continuous Integration: In the continuous integration method, developers add small chunks of code and submit it to the code repository. This repository is shared by other developers as well. The advantage of continuous integration is that developers can easily catch the bugs. Previously software developers had to wait for a longer period to find out whether the code is error-free or not. Now a developer can submit their code daily, which reduces the chance of assessment delay and helps identify bugs at the early stages.
  • Continuous Delivery: Continuous delivery is the advanced stage of continuous integration. It includes the speeding up of the release process by encouraging developers to release code to production. Once the code passes the continuous integration stage, the code build is moved to a separate area in your pipeline. Here, it is for the developers to decide whether the code should be posted for production or held there for further evaluation. It is advisable that to take maximum advantage of continuous delivery, developers should add code more frequently.
  • Continuous Deployment: Continuous delivery and continuous deployment are connected in some ways yet there are some differences. The continuous delivery method enables development teams to deploy software features and codes manually while continuous deployment handles the process of the entire release cycle automatically. Continuous deployment enables the software developer to add updates and features automatically without any manual interventions.
  • Continuous Testing: Continuous testing involves frequent tests at every stage of the development process so that the issues can be detected before reaching the production environment. The benefit of implementing a continuous testing strategy is it lets you quickly evaluate the business risk of a specific release candidate in the delivery pipeline. To effectively integrate continuous testing in your DevOps pipeline, you should prefer covering functional and non-functional tests.
  • Continuous Operations: The continuous operation strategy ensures that maximum apps or features are available in the environment and users should not be worried about the frequent updates or changes. This strategy prevents downtime and availability issues during the code release. But to take the maximum advantage of continuous operations, an organization should have robust automation and orchestration architecture that can monitor the performance of server databases, containers, networks, services, and applications continuously.

Various Stages of DevOps Pipeline

DevOps pipeline has a standard procedure that incorporates the right order of each stage. If you want to know how you can make your DevOps pipeline, then take a look at the different stages of the DevOps pipeline below:

  • Plan: This stage covers everything that happens before the developer even writes the code. Product managers or project managers gather the requirement from stakeholders and customers. Based on the requirement, they build a product roadmap to guide future development. There are lots of tools that can help this task such as Jira, Azure DevOps, etc. Once the product roadmap is built, it can be broken down into epics, features, and user stories, and based on the task or backlogs they can be used to plan the sprints, and the development team can begin to develop the application based on the allocated task.
  • Code: This is the stage where development truly starts and the team writes code using a standard set of plug-ins to ensure consistency of the code styling throughout the development process. This stage helps teach developers to practice good coding while ensuring collaboration while providing consistency to the codebase. The tools that are used to write code also help developers to find errors in the pipeline, which also helps to achieve fewer failed builds.
  • Build: Once the developer writes a piece of code, they commit this code to a shared code repository. Usually, to add the code to the repository they use a pull request. In a pull request, another developer reviews the changes that have been made by the developer, and once they find out that there are not any issues, they approve the pull request. If the code fails, the pull request also fails and the developer is notified to resolve the issue. By continuously checking the code and build, the test issues can be minimized.
  • Test: After succeeding, the build is automatically deployed to the staging environment to go through a deeper evaluation. The staging environment can be an existing hosting service or it could provide a new environment as a part of the deployment process. The automatic provisioning of a hosting environment is known as Infrastructure as Code. The build is posted to this environment, where various manual and automated tests are performed. Manual testing is a kind of user acceptance testing, where users use the software as a customer and highlight the issues if there are any. And at the same time, certain automated tests are also performed like load testing, etc.
  • Release: By this stage, a build goes through different series of tests: manual and automated. This is the stage where the build is deployed into the production environment. Developers can use flag features so that customers can’t see the new changes until they are ready for action. In a pipeline, you can also automate the release process but some organizations also have a manual approval process to make a certain person responsible for the outcome.
  • Deploy: Finally, the build is released into the production stage using different tools and processes to make sure that the release is reliable and there are no outages. The same infrastructure as the code environment is also used for the production environment. When the new environment is built, it remains with the existing production environment. Once the new environment is ready, the hosting service points all the requests to the new environment. If there is any issue found with the new environment, you can simply tell the hosting service to point all the requests back to the old environment until issues are fixed.
  • Operate: The new release is now up and is used by the customers. Based on the configuration of the hosting service, only the environment can automatically scale when the load varies. The organization can build a mechanism so that customers can provide feedback for service. Getting feedback from the customer is really important because it helps you improve the quality of your application. Rather than putting many hours in testing, you should focus on getting customer feedback to improve the application.
  • Monitor: This is the final phase of the DevOps cycle that monitors the environment based on customer feedback provided in the operation phase or by collecting data and analyzing the customer behavior, performance, errors, and more. Monitoring can also be done within the DevOps pipeline itself to find the potential bottlenecks that are causing frustration and productivity of the development and operation teams. Once the data is gathered, it can be sent to the product manager and the development team.

Tools to create DevOps Pipeline

DevOps pipeline helps you achieve speed and accuracy. And knowing about the processes, strategies, and various phases of it won’t help you unless you use the right set of tools to create your DevOps pipeline. Here is a list of tools that will help you create your pipeline.

  • Jenkins: It is an open-source automation server where a central build and continuous integration process take place. It is a self-contained Java-based program with packages for Windows, macOS, and other Unix-like operating systems.
  • CircleCI: It is a CI/CD tool that supports rapid software development and publishing. It automates the user’s pipeline, from code building, testing to deployment.
  • TeamCity: It is a build management and continuous integration server.
  • Bamboo: It is a continuous integration server that automates the management of software application releases by creating a continuous delivery pipeline.
  • GitLab: It triggers builds, runs tests, and deploys code, with each commit or push.
  • Buddy: It is a CI/CD software that builds, tests, deploys websites and applications with code from GitHub, Bitbucket, and GitLab.
  • Travis CI: It automatically detects new commits made and pushed to a GitHub repository and runs tests.
  • Codeship: This hosted platform supports early and automatic software releases multiple times.
  • GoCD: It is an open-source tool to build and release software that supports modern infrastructure on CI/CD.
  • Wercker: This tool is for developers who are working with or are considering starting a new project based on Docker.
  • Semaphore: It is a hosted CI/CD service, used for testing and deploying software projects.
  • Nevercode: It supports CI/CD for mobile apps and builds, tests, and releases both native and cross-platform apps faster.
  • Spinnaker: It is a multi-cloud continuous delivery platform that supports releasing and deploying software changes across different cloud providers, including AWS EC2, Kubernetes, Google Compute Engine, Google Kubernetes Engine, Google App Engine, etc.


DevOps pipeline includes several processes that are triggered one after another. Usually, the process starts from writing the code and finishes when it reaches the production stage. To make an effective DevOps pipeline you also need to integrate various automation tools so that the test can be performed continuously and rapidly. Automation tools also help in the continuous integration of the small chunks of code and the release of the final build. However, some manual intervention is also needed to ensure the reliability of the application.