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Utilizing CI/CD Pipelines for Infrastructure Configuration and Administration

Steady Integration/Steady Supply, or Steady Deployment, pipelines have been used within the software program growth business for years. For many groups, the times of manually taking supply code and manifest recordsdata and compiling them to create binaries or executable recordsdata after which manually distributing and putting in these functions are lengthy gone. In an effort to automate the construct course of and distribution of software program in addition to carry out automated testing, the business has constantly developed in the direction of extra complete pipelines. Relying on how a lot of the software program growth course of is automated, pipelines could be categorized into totally different teams and levels:

  •  Steady Integration is the apply of integrating code that’s being produced by builders. On medium to massive software program initiatives is widespread to have a number of builders and even a number of groups of builders work on totally different options or parts on the similar time. Taking all this code and bringing it to a central location or repository is repeatedly finished utilizing a git primarily based model management system. When the code is merged right into a department on an hourly, each day, weekly or regardless of the cadence of the event crew is, easy to advanced checks could be setup to validate the adjustments and flush out potential bugs at a really early stage. When carried out in an automatic style, all these steps consist in a steady integration pipeline.
  • Steady Supply takes the pipeline to the subsequent stage by including software program constructing and launch creation and supply. After the software program has been built-in and examined within the steady integration a part of the pipeline, steady supply provides extra testing and has the choice to deploy the newly constructed software program packages in a sandbox or stage atmosphere for shut monitoring and extra person testing. Much like steady integration, all steps carried out within the steady supply a part of the pipeline are automated.
  • Steady Deployment takes the pipeline to its subsequent and final stage. By this stage, the applying has been built-in, examined, constructed, examined some extra, deployed in a stage atmosphere and examined much more. The continual deployment stage takes care of deploying the applying within the manufacturing atmosphere. A number of totally different deployment methods can be found with totally different danger elements, value issues and complexity. For instance, within the primary deployment mannequin, all software nodes are up to date on the similar time to the brand new model. Whereas this deployment mannequin is straightforward additionally it is the riskiest, it isn’t outage-proof and doesn’t present simple rollbacks. The rolling deployment mannequin because the title suggests takes an incremental strategy to updating the applying nodes. A sure variety of nodes are up to date in batches. This mannequin offers simpler rollback, it’s much less dangerous than the fundamental deployment however on the similar time requires that the applying runs with each new and outdated code on the similar time. In functions that use the micro-services structure, this final requirement have to be given additional consideration. A number of different deployment fashions can be found, together with canary, blue/inexperienced, A/B, and so on.


The CI/CD pipeline part of GitLab CE

Why use CI/CD pipelines for infrastructure administration

Primarily based on the necessities of the event crew, software program growth pipelines can take totally different varieties and use totally different parts. Model management techniques are normally git primarily based as of late (github, gitlab, bitbucket, and so on.). Construct and automation servers reminiscent of Jenkins,, Travis CI, to call just some, are additionally fashionable parts of the pipeline. The number of choices and parts make the pipelines very customizable and scalable

CI/CD pipelines have been developed and used for years and I feel it’s lastly time to think about them for infrastructure configuration and administration. The identical benefits that made CI/CD pipelines indispensable from any software program growth enterprise apply additionally to infrastructure administration. These benefits embrace:

  • automation on the forefront of all steps of the pipeline
  • model management and historic perception into all of the adjustments
  • intensive testing of all configuration adjustments
  • validation of adjustments in a sandbox or take a look at atmosphere previous to deployment to manufacturing
  • simple roll-back to a recognized good state in case a difficulty or bug is launched
  • risk of integration with change and ticketing techniques for true infrastructure Steady Deployment

On this collection of blogs, I’ll show how one can use Gitlab CE as a foundational part for a CI/CD pipeline that manages and configures a easy CML simulated community. A number of different parts are concerned as a part of the pipeline:

  • pyATS for creating and taking snapshots of the state of the community each prior and after the adjustments have been utilized
  • Ansible for performing the configuration adjustments
  • Cisco CML to simulate a 4 node community that can act because the take a look at infrastructure


Easy community simulation in Cisco CML

Keep tuned for a deeper dive

Subsequent up on this weblog collection we’ll dive deeper into Gitlab CE, and the CI/CD pipeline part. You probably have any questions or feedback, please depart me a remark within the part under.

Within the meantime, if you need to be taught and apply a few of the newest methods, please go to our Cisco Modeling Labs and the CML Sandbox. A world of community simulation awaits!

Meet me at Cisco Stay in Las Vegas, June 13 to 16

I’ll be within the DevNet zone and on the following periods:

  • BRKDEV-2883 – Prism of Prospects with Cisco DevNet’s Community Programmability & Automation
  • DEVNET-1530 – NetAcad Session
  • DEVNET-2653 – Cisco ACI administration with Smartsheet
  • DEVNET-2806 – Construct customized safety advisory notification techniques utilizing Cisco PSIRT APIs
  • DEVWKS-2367 – DevNet Workshop – Customized OpenAPI implementation for Cisco SD-WAN


We’d love to listen to what you assume. Ask a query or depart a remark under.
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