As DevOps and cloud architectures evolve, so too do the processes and tools facilitating infrastructure management. GitOps is one such emerging DevOps trend, and it has become increasingly popular as a methodology for managing and automating infrastructure deployments.
In this article, we’ll define the GitOps concept and explore the primary challenges DevOps teams face when adopting a GitOps model. We’ll also offer recommendations for automating and streamlining GitOps models.
What is GitOps and What Does It Do?
GitOps is a modern operational framework that extends the principles of DevOps to infrastructure automation by using Git as a single source of truth for declarative infrastructure and applications.
This allows DevOps teams to manage infrastructure as code and automate deployment and updates using Git repositories. By enabling continuous delivery and continuous deployment, it can lead to faster software releases, more reliable deployments, and increased collaboration between development and operations teams.
One of the key benefits of GitOps is the ability to push changes faster and more effectively. By using Git as the source of truth for both application and infrastructure code, DevOps teams can ensure changes are deployed automatically as soon as they’re pushed to the repository, reducing the time to get new features and updates into production.
Since they provide one source of truth, GitOps tools also have an auditable history of all changes made to the system, making it easier to track down and resolve issues.
GitOps also enables a more collaborative and streamlined workflow between development and operations teams. By using Git as the central location for managing infrastructure changes, teams can use their familiar software development tools to manage application and infrastructure changes in a single location. This reduces the time it takes to provision and manage infrastructure and allows teams to work together more efficiently and effectively.
Finally, GitOps allows for greater agility and flexibility in infrastructure management. By using Infrastructure as Code (IaC) and Kubernetes, teams can easily provision and manage infrastructure in a repeatable, automated manner. This reduces manual work and helps to keep infrastructure consistent regardless of the environment in which it’s deployed.
How Are GitOps and DevOps Different?
DevOps and GitOps are important methodologies in modern software development and infrastructure management. While there are significant overlaps, there are also notable differences between the two methodologies.
DevOps emphasizes collaboration, automation, and continuous improvement between development and operations teams. This can help teams release software faster and with greater reliability.
GitOps, on the other hand, manages infrastructure using Git as the source of truth. It leverages the power of Git to version control application code and Infrastructure as Code and deployments.
While both DevOps and GitOps emphasize automation and collaboration, GitOps emphasizes collaboration and communication, while DevOps emphasizes automation and tooling. Also, DevOps can be used with any type of application, while GitOps is typically used with containerization technologies like Kubernetes.
So, in essence, GitOps is a subcategory of DevOps, which uses Git repositories for infrastructure and application code deployment.
The Challenges of Adopting a GitOps Model
GitOps can offer significant benefits to teams that embrace it, but there are several challenges to adopting a GitOps model. Some of these challenges include:
Adopting GitOps requires discipline and commitment from all team members, with a focus on documentation and collaboration. The “change by committee” approach can be time-consuming and tedious, but it’s essential for success.
Some key technical challenges in GitOps include:
- Automating Git commits may create conflicts when multiple processes clone the same repository
- Managing multiple Git repositories can increase the management burden and access control requirements
- Limited visibility can make navigating and managing larger, more complex environments difficult
- Managing secrets requires a separate, secure, and centralized data store outside of the Git repository
- Insufficient auditing can make it harder to answer certain questions about the deployment history or to get a full picture of the system.
Despite these challenges, GitOps has the potential to streamline software development and infrastructure management.
Recommendations for Streamlining GitOps Models
Automating GitOps processes can make it easier to manage the complexity of multiple environments, ensuring changes made to the Git repository are automatically reflected in all relevant environments without manual intervention.
Besides automation, drift detection and resolution processes can also reduce the risk of configuration drift, which can lead to performance issues, security vulnerabilities, and other problems.
Governance is another important aspect of streamlining GitOps models, as it can help ensure consistent and standardized configurations, prevent errors, ensure compliance, and provide greater visibility into the infrastructure and application lifecycle.
Quali’s Torque platform connects to the users’ Git and automates the delivery and management of the infrastructure defined in its’ IaC and Kubernetes resources.
This helps to enhance a GitOps approach by:
- Orchestrating and normalizing environments consisting of multiple IaC and/or Kubernetes resources from the Git into reusable, continuously managed environments
- Setting role-based access controls to democratize developer access to environments while protecting the configurations in the Git resources
- Setting notifications about configuration drift and other unexpected changes to Git resources
- Enforcing custom policies defined in rego files from the Git to govern configurations and costs in IaC resources
- Scheduling workflows to power-on and power-off the Virtual Machine resources defined in the Git
- Forecasting and monitoring costs for environments built using resources defined in the Git
Torque users take advantage of automation to use their existing IaC and Kubernetes tools more efficiently.
As applications evolve, DevOps and platform teams need to find ways to manage their infrastructure more efficiently and effectively. That’s where GitOps comes in—it can help automate deployment and streamline management of the infrastructure powering complex applications.
A GitOps approach can help to achieve more consistent, secure, and efficient infrastructure management. Learn more about how Quali’s Torque users automate their GitOps approach here.