DevOps World 2022: Cloud-Native Will Force CI/CD Issue

It may have taken longer than anyone initially expected, but the cloud-native era for building and deploying applications has finally arrived. Nearly every major application development initiative being launched today is based on a microservices architecture that runs natively on platforms such as Kubernetes.

Organizations, however, are not taking the time, money and effort to build these modern applications out of any deep-seated love for computer science. Rather, the most powerful motivator is, as always, self-interest. Organizations that are building cloud-native apps are not just making it easier to add new capabilities to the applications that have become the lifeblood of the business; they are also able dynamically scale applications up and down more efficiently to reduce total infrastructure costs. IT advances capable of improving both the top and bottom lines of an organization are rare indeed.

Making the transition to cloud-native applications based on microservices, however, is still not easy. The underlying platforms are still evolving along with the tools provided to developers. But what is certain is that DevOps workflows will need to mature as microservices based on containers that are constantly being ripped and replaced move through the software development life cycle, said Mitch Ashley, principal analyst for Techstrong Research, an arm of Techstrong Group, publisher of Container Journal. “You will need to evolve,” he said.

At the upcoming CloudBees DevOps World conference, the extent of that transition will be made clear. Continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) platforms are rapidly evolving in ways that make it possible to build, deploy, secure and maintain modern microservices-based applications alongside legacy monolithic applications. The simple truth, however, is that DevOps teams do need to make a decision. They can continue to employ existing CI/CD platforms such as Jenkins to build and deploy applications or they can transition to platforms that run natively on the same Kubernetes clusters that their modern cloud-native applications are destined to be deployed on. Staying with the current platform is certainly less disruptive, but the latter approach affords all kinds of opportunities to finally realize the promise of continuous delivery using a set of consistent application programming interfaces (APIs) defined by the open source Kubernetes community.

“It’s all about scalability, resiliency and complexity,” said Ashley.

As is often the case in IT, opting to not make a decision is, in fact, making a choice—especially given how dependent organizations are on legacy CI/CD platforms. It’s probable many organizations will deploy a CI/CD platform designed to run natively on Kubernetes alongside the CI/CD platform they have been using to build monolithic applications. Others will continue to build microservices and monolithic applications using the CI/CD platform they already have installed. A brave few will transition entirely to Kubernetes and do so early but, over time, most other organizations are going to follow their lead. The DevOps professionals that have those cloud-native skills will, of course, command higher salaries; ultimately, compensation will play a role simply because more DevOps professionals will prefer to work on more modern platforms.

Regardless of the approach, the future of software development in the form of microservices has arrived but, as always, it’s unevenly distributed. The only constant is that some type of CI/CD platform for building and deploying applications at increasingly faster rates of speed is still a prerequisite for success.

Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist with over 25 years of experience. He also contributed to IT Business Edge, Channel Insider, Baseline and a variety of other IT titles. Previously, Vizard was the editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise as well as Editor-in-Chief for CRN and InfoWorld.

Mike Vizard has 1634 posts and counting. See all posts by Mike Vizard