Earlier this month, the Linux Foundation announced the formation of Continuous Delivery Foundation (CDF) – a new foundation that joins the likes of Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) and Open Container Initiative (OCI).
Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) has become an essential building block of modern application lifecycle management. This technique allows business to increase the velocity of delivering software to users. Through CI/CD, what was once confined to large, web-scale companies became available to early-stage startups and enterprises.
Even though CI/CD is possible with traditional IaaS, it becomes more efficient with the shift to containers. The rise of containers and microservices enabled developers and operators to ship software at a much rapid pace. CI/CD acts as the glue that connects the dots across multiple stages involved in coding, testing, packaging, deployment and managing the software. By securely integrating source control management with build management software and a release management tool, the engineering teams automate the process of rapidly iterating through the build and release phases of software.
The increased adoption of CI/CD based on containers resulted in a new breed of software. CloudBees, the company that owns the most popular and widely used CI/CD system called Jenkins, created JenkinsX, a unique flavor of Jenkins that targets containers and Kubernetes. JenkinsX extended the power of Jenkins to the cloud native ecosystem. Meanwhile, Netflix collaborated with key cloud platform vendors including AWS, Google, and Microsoft to build Spinnaker – an open source cloud native release management tool. More recently, Google invested in creating Tekton, an open source CI/CD tool that’s a part of Knative, an event-driven platform based on Kubernetes.
The projects such as JenkinsX, Spinnaker, and Tekton offer similar features with little reuse and integration. There are many other open source and commercial projects available in the crowded DevOps market. This fragmentation led to confusion in using the best of the breed toolchain for bringing CI/CD to modern applications.
With the launch of CDF, Linux Foundation has taken the first step in bringing the most popular CI/CD tools under the same roof. This would enable key contributors such as CloudBees, Netflix, Google, and other members to collaborate rather than duplicating the efforts. The foundation would encourage members to contribute to critical areas of software delivery with an increased focus. This immensely helps the ecosystem in adopting the best of the breed tools and the best practices of implementing CI/CD pipelines. Ultimately, there would be a standardized mechanism for CI/CD that removes the fragmentation of tools.
Though Google, IBM, and Alibaba represent the public cloud ecosystem, it’s a matter of time before AWS and Microsoft join the CD Foundation. AWS has a parallel DevOps and CI/CD toolchain in the form of CodeCommit, CodeDeploy and CodePipeline that compete with Github, Jenkins and Spinnaker. Microsoft has redesigned its legacy ALM suite, VSTS, as Azure DevOps to implement CI/CD on its private and public cloud platforms. Github, which is now a part of Microsoft, plays a crucial role in Azure DevOps offering. Google has also been working on Skafflod, Kaniko, and Knative to deliver CI/CD pipelines on Kubernetes.
If CDF defines standard mechanisms and artifacts to declare the build and release stages that are adopted by cloud vendors and key DevOps vendors, customers will benefit from portability and reuse of toolchains. A tool that’s used in an existing pipeline may be easily swapped out with no changes to the workflow.
During the launch, CDF has participation from prominent industry players including Google, IBM, Huawei, SAP, Red Hat and Alibaba Cloud. CapitalOne and Netflix represent the enterprise community while startups like Armory.io, ATOS, and Rancher have joined as general members.
The launch of CDF from Linux Foundation underscores the growing importance of agile software delivery. The success of this foundation depends on the participation of public cloud players and traditional DevOps companies who are committed to working towards the standardization of CI/CD pipelines.
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