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For many, Azure’s Continuous Deployment may be just another buzzwords that come along the DevOps trend. In reality, it is one of the aspects of Azure that make it stand out as the best in the cloud. Unfortunately, many enterprises fail to utilize the full benefits of continuous deployment capabilities of Azure and end up spending more time and money on the deployment phase. Not to mention, lack of understanding also makes them vulnerable to the many pitfalls.
We always emphasize on Azure training to help enterprises make the most out of their move to the cloud. It is these concepts like continuous integration, deployment, and app testing that make distinguish the giants like Azure from other cloud services and platforms. To give you a better understanding of Azures CI/CD pipeline and app testing capabilities, let’s start with the basic concept of continuous deployment in the cloud.
The first misunderstanding we need to clear before we move on to the technicalities is that Continuous Deployment, Continuous Integration, and Continuous Delivery are not interchangeable terms. They are, in fact, stages of the same frame of work.
Continuous Integration is more relevant to development and testing. Apps and codes are tested and integrated automatically as they are developed. There is an immediate feedback regarding any integration error, which allows developers to fix all integration issues as they go. It is precisely how app testing is automated in Azure. Not only in decreases development time, but it also prevents post-migration issues regarding app functionality in the cloud.
Now, Continuous Integration paves the way to Continuous Delivery. As soon as the apps are tested and accepted in the previous stage, they are released to be used. Any issues that were overlooked during the automated testing are identified by the users and developers get an immediate feedback. The loop continuous unless the app is seamlessly integrated without an error.
Continuous Deployment is the stage where the code accepted and tested in the previous two cycles is seamlessly pushed into the production. The benefits of CI/CD cycle isn’t limited to the developers alone. It accelerates and enhances the overall delivery of value to all the users involved.
Now that the concepts are clear, let’s talk about the possible app testing and continuous deployment pitfalls your team can avoid with Azure certification such as Azure Fundamentals and Developing Azure Solutions.
Lack of understanding leads to confusion, and confusion may have dire consequences. Enterprises often fail to understand the difference between continuous delivery and continuous deployment. Many falsely assume that continuous delivery is synonymous with continuous deployment and fail to reap the benefits of the latter. We have covered the differences in the previous section but it serves to explain that continuous delivery’s scope is limited to the pipeline and the nonproduction environment. It is to ensure that the code is always ready for release. Continuous deployment is more about releasing the code into the production environment.
One important thing to remember is that CI and CD are two different elements of phases of the same pipeline. They need proper coordination and collaboration. It might take developers some time to create that seamless link between the two. This is one thing where the knowledge and expertise of your staff are more important than Azure’s technical features. Almost everyone from the development team to QA and even end users must collaborate to create an effective coordination. It is something no platform, at least the ones currently existing, can automate for you.
Therefore, avoiding this pitfall falls purely on your staff’s shoulder. Proper training can prepare them for this.
What are automation errors for Azure? When enterprises move from a regular environment to the automated ones, they often face the dilemma of which process they should automate first. Adoption of continuous deployment and automated app testing is a process that may involve several iterations. It is extremely important to take a systematic approach in selecting which processes should be automated first and which ones can wait.
Ideally, it is best to automate the code compiling process first. However, the priority list largely varies from enterprise to enterprise. Keep in mind that complete CI/CD automation should be the ultimate goal. When I come to Azure, over-automation is just a myth. With the right knowledge, your team can achieve maximum test and deployment automation.
It helps to remember that continuous integration and deployment means continuous resource utilization. You need to balance that equation. Too many CI jobs will waste too much time, money, and resources. Sometimes developers fail to break the code in small enough components and end up with a choked pipeline. You need to keep the pipeline running fast and smooth.
With Azure, there are many ways to improve the CI and resource utilization balance. However, it takes a certain level of expertise to make sure those features are fully utilized by your team.
Remember, Azure App Service allows for continuous deployment with repositories for services such as BitBucket and GitHub. It is easy to deploy continuously from these services through Azure App Service app page. However, if your repository exists anywhere else and isn’t covered by the Azure portal, you will need to manually configure CD for it.
Azure’s Continuous Deployment and Continuous Integration pipeline, if utilized properly, has numerous benefits for any enterprise. However, there are many pitfalls that must be avoided to ensure maximum advantage. With lack of technical knowledge and understanding of the CI/CD pipeline, your team is likely to fall for these pitfalls. This may result in a loss of time as well as money. It is counterproductive as the whole purpose of continuity is to save time and reduce cost. Azure certification courses covering Continuous deployment, app testing, and integration is one way of ensuring that your staff is ready to tackle all challenges in this regard.
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