Outdated or obsolete applications make up nearly a third of the typical organization’s software portfolio, increasing the risk of cyberattacks, data loss, and operational failures. Poor software quality costs U.S. businesses more than $2 trillion a year, according to the Consortium for Information & Software Quality.
To address these levels of risk and cost, many organizations launch application modernization initiatives to streamline software development, testing, and deployment. However, the process often introduces unexpected challenges.
The DevOps methodology is a popular approach for delivering better software faster. A key element of this approach is the development of continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipeline. This method uses automation to make rapid app updates and get new code into production as quickly as possible.
In the promise, CI/CD pipelines will save time and reduce manual errors. Although in practice, these complex environments can create unexpected bottlenecks which hinder modernization efforts. Here are three common challenges with CI/CD pipelines:
The CI/CD pipeline supports the frequent development of small, incremental code changes that are rapidly tested, added to a version-control repository, and automatically put into production. Considering that most projects involve multiple teams simultaneously working on different elements of the same application, these continuous processes can tie up plenty of local computing resources. Bottlenecks also occur when developers try to implement too many changes in a single release. Rapid-fire updates can overwhelm the system, triggering failed tests or other problems.
End-to-end automation of the software delivery process is one of the great benefits of a CI/CD pipeline, but it can also create workflow challenges. If too many processes are automated at once, it can result in low-priority processes interrupting more critical processes and degraded workflows. Additionally, automated system updates can create cascading changes throughout the pipeline and break the entire process. If a critical update is incompatible with the pipeline’s existing processes, developers may have to restructure the entire pipeline.
Automated testing is key to moving code into production quickly. Still, many organizations test all code changes manually because they don’t fully trust the process. That can create significant bottlenecks as developers must test changes one at a time, slowing feedback and delaying updates. Adding to the delay, developers usually have to build dedicated test environments that mimic the end-user environment. Manual tests are valuable in some circumstances, but automated testing is essential for speeding the development lifecycle. Automated testing allows developers to run concurrent tests to save time, and automatic provisioning makes it possible to set up test environments with a few mouse clicks.
Cloud-based CI/CD pipelines help resolve many of these challenges by providing elastic, scalable, and resilient infrastructure. This allows IT teams to build, test and deploy apps across hybrid and multi-cloud environments without monopolizing limited, on-premises computing resources.
A cloud platform also makes it easier to use containers in the CI/CD pipeline. With containers, applications, their dependencies, tools, and scripts are bundled in lightweight and scalable packages which can run in any environment. This makes it easier for developers to build and deploy applications because all the necessary elements are packaged and ready to run.
Containerization can also isolate pipeline processes. For example, all testing tools and scripts can be packaged separately from the build and deployment processes. Testing within the containerized environment eliminates the need to build dedicated test environments and improves testing processes by removing environmental factors that could affect results.
The software development experts at Rahi can help you evaluate your CI/CD pipeline to determine if it is meeting your application modernization requirements. We can work with your team to review your existing environment, tools, and processes and determine if a cloud migration might enhance your efforts. Contact us to schedule an appointment.
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