GitOps Workflows Expanding Beyond Kubernetes Clusters

Now that the open source Flux version control software has officially graduated to become a mature project with the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), the pace at which organizations embrace GitOps best practices should accelerate.

GitOps, at its core, defines a declarative approach for pulling software from a repository in a way that is both continuously reconciled and immutable. In that context, GitOps is an opinionated instance of a DevOps workflow that unifies both software deployment and the provisioning of infrastructure using code to create reusable templates.

Most of the adoption of GitOps thus far has coincided with adoption of Kubernetes clusters that expose a standard set of application programming interfaces (APIs) that make it simpler to deploy code. Many of the IT teams that have adopted Kubernetes are using dedicated continuous delivery (CD) platforms along with Flux’s version management capabilities to manage software delivery rather than extending a continuous integration (CI) tool to deploy software.

Weaveworks CEO Alexis Richardson said the next GitOps frontier would be to integrate the controllers within platforms such as Flux with other controllers to make it simpler to employ the same platform and processes to deploy software and infrastructure-as-code (IaC) templates on platforms other than just Kubernetes clusters.

For example, Weaveworks has worked to integrate Flux with Terraform controllers to unify the management of IaC and application delivery. Now the same approach is being used to integrate Flux with other IaC tools such as Pulumi and the Argo CD platform, notes Richardson.

At the other end of the spectrum, more work must be done to make GitOps workflows accessible to developers directly from within the integrated development environments (IDEs) they use to create software, he adds.

It remains to be seen how long it might take for GitOps workflows to be extended beyond Kubernetes environments, but as the number of those integrations increases Weaveworks is betting there will more demand for an enterprise edition of a GitOps platform based on Flux.

The challenge, of course, is that while many organizations regularly make use of CI to construct a build of an application, the number of organizations that have successfully implemented CD remains relatively small. By more loosely coupling CI and CD processes it should, in theory, become easier for more organizations to automate the delivery of software.

Of course, the rate at which applications are currently being constructed will force the CD issue within many organizations. The current manual processes used to install software on platforms today simply doesn’t scale. There’s no doubt there’s a GitOps learning curve but, like it or not, most organizations are not going to allow a growing backlog of applications waiting to be deployed.

In fact, organizations simultaneously realize just how dependent they are on software to drive digital processes and that the amount of time it takes to install applications and deliver subsequent updates has a material impact on both the top and bottom line.

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.

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