As enterprises have embraced a complete digital transformation over the years, DevOps has clearly been the superior methodology of choice among developers. This makes complete sense when we consider the proven efficiency, high velocity, transparency and a culture of better coordination between teams that DevOps offers when it comes to producing new applications.
In this well-oiled and wel-functioning world of software technology dominated by DevOps enters GitOps. Born out of the need for faster innovation, GitOps tries to stand tall besides DevOps. But, in a supposed battle between the bigwigs, will GitOps steal the thunder? Let’s try to answer this by exploring the two methodologies in today’s post.
A brief introduction to GitOps
GitOps is a cloud-native, DevOps-focused operating model that leverages Git repositories to allow users to manage their infrastructure. Git repo acts as the only source of truth for declarative infrastructure and is used for creating and updating system architecture. GitOps provides consistency across any cloud and any on-prem environment. It is developer-centric. focuses on CI/CD and is used in a lot of container-based development as well.
The four principles of open GitOps:
- It is declarative – all the configuration is written as a set of facts instead of as a set of instructions, directly into the source code on Git.
- Versioned and immutable – the declarations are stored in a version-controlled system that serves as the single source of truth.
- Approve changes automatically – any and all changes to the declared state in Git needs to be automated so that you don’t require credentials every time you need to make changes to your system.
- Use software agents – they help alert you when there is a divergence in the state of your declared system kept under version control. This further ensures that your system is self-healing.
Declarative, versioned, and immutable are all concepts that have existed before as they resemble previous operating models and previous paradigms. The third and fourth principle is where GitOps brings a unique perspective and a lot of its value resides there.
A brief introduction to DevOps
DevOps is a methodology that brings together development and operations to enable organizations to produce applications at a faster pace. It is a culture that facilitates efficient collaboration and streamlined feedback loops to eliminate silos. DevOps creates and maintains a disconnect between steps associated with development and operations. It relies on scripts that need to be managed and involve a comprehensive toolchain. DevOps combines technical and cultural practices in order to enable developers to release new products at a high velocity.
GitOps vs DevOps
GitOps and DevOps are not mutually exclusive but are very much interrelated. GitOps is an operating model that helps organizations looking to adopt or accelerate the deployment part of their software delivery pipeline. When people think of DevOps, they just focus on CI/CD or automation but DevOps is about other intangible things as well. DevOps is about organizational change, culture change, and about continuous improvement. There are many aspects of DevOps that are not entirely technical, they are more organizational and practical.
While we understand how GitOps and DevOps function side by side and even overlap in certain places, let’s look at some clear differences between the two.
|DevOps is about how a team should function irrespective of what tools they use. It's more about culture and methodology than about tools and techniques.
|GitOps is about quickening and automating the deployment part of software pipelines. It is not tool-dependent but has tools as a key part of the approach.
|DevOps is culture-oriented. It focuses on supplying best practices that can be easily applied to every team in an enterprise.
|GitOps is process-oriented. It focuses on employing Git pull requests to manage and deploy ‘everything’ automatically with the sole objective to quicken deployments.
|DevOps focuses less on correctness. It can be weak when it comes to issues like configuration drift
|GitOps is essentially designed with correctness in mind. Being declarative and fighting configuration drift is a key objective of GitOps.
|DevOps accepts both declarative and prescriptive approaches, thus enabling its model to easily be applied to containers, VMs, and bare metal.
|DevOps takes a declarative approach rather than a prescriptive one. It too can be used on any infrastructure. However, it is more closely tied to the cloud-native, Kubernetes world.
|DevOps aims to break silos between teams, and automate tasks. It champions an open culture.
|GitOps strives to achieve rapid development by minimizing manual updates to production clusters.
GitOps brings a specific operating model into the picture that allows organizations to do DevOps faster and better. It is basically an operating model that can be shared across stakeholders of an organization and can be used for security, operations, and development. When it comes to GitOps, you are essentially looking at the very same objectives that DevOps is looking at, which are: higher deployment frequency, better reliability, improved security, and more. GitOps, as an operating model, helps to achieve all of these DevOps objectives in a more pragmatic way. Therefore, GitOps and DevOps are very tightly intertwined and the former helps organizations do DevOps better, faster and easier.
So, to answer the question raised at the beginning of the article: GitOps will not necessarily steal DevOps’ thunder. This is because GitOps can accessorize the preexisting DevOps strategies to significantly improve productivity and create highly reliable and consistent products. The two methodologies have similar toolsets and similar principles but are not codependent. The existence of one doesn’t necessitate the other. In a nutshell, GitOps improves rather than competes with the DevOps process.
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