Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery & Continuous Deployment

This blog is basically about understanding the key concepts involved in automating the Software development process. Here, we will discuss the various terminologies like Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery and Continuous Deployment. These terms are very common when it comes to automating our systems to ease and accelerate the software development process.


The implementation of these methods help us to automate the currently used Agile model of Software Development cycle. In Agile model, developers develop software and release it with small incremental changes from the previous, which are tested in each iteration. The code is tested and if any issue is detected in the code, it is acknowledged to the developers to fix the issue. The software is tested throughout manually using various test conditions and in environments similar to production, before finally deploying it to production. These involves various manual tasks which result in delays in feedback of the test results. There is a significant wastage of time and effort due a large number of steps involved in testing, acknowledgement and deployment. This can be reduced significantly by automating these processes. To automate the process, Continuous integration, Continuous Delivery and Continuous Deployment can be implementing in the Software Development process. Let us understand these terms one by one.


Continuous Integration :

  • It is a process that allows Developers to easily and frequently integrate their code to a shared central repository.
  • In practice, the systems are automated to build the code and run robust test conditions or test suits to automatically test and notify the developers with test results.
  • This helps the early detection of any integration issues and conflicts between the new and existing code-base.
  • It allows the developers to confidently code further after knowing if the new code meets the requirements of the existing code-base.
  • Generally repositories used here provide version control to revert back any changes in the done in code to any previous state.
  • Whenever developer pushes codes to the repository, the automated system initiates build of the new code and run test conditions to check if any integration problems has occurred.  If any of the build or the tests fail, the related team is notified.
  • The goal of Continuous integration is to ease the process of integration and early detection of issues and ensure a smooth work-flow with accelerated collaborative development environment.


Continuous Delivery:

  • It is the extension of Continuous Integration.
  • It is a process of reducing the complexity and automating the steps that are involved to build code and release the code safely at any point of time.
  • It focus on automating software delivery process without performing complex tasks.
  • Continuous delivery uses deployment pipeline to automate the deployment and testing process.
  • A deployment pipeline is an automated system that runs increasingly rigorous test suites against a build as a series of sequential stages.
  • At each stage, the build either fails the tests which notifies the team through alerts or passes the test which automatically promotes it to the next stage.
  • As the build moves through the pipeline, the later stages deploy the build to environments that are similar or mirror the production environment.
  • In this way, the build, the deployment process and the environment are tested in a sequence.
  • The pipeline ends with a build that can be deployed to production environment at any time in a single step.


Continuous Deployment :

  • Continuous Deployment is an extension of Continuous Delivery.
  • It automatically deploys each build that passes the full test cycle to production without waiting for someone to decide what and when to deploy in production.
  • A Continuous Deployment system deploys everything that has successfully passed the deployment pipeline.
  • It also ensures early feedback regarding defects and unhelpful implementations by making it immediately available to the users.
  • In this process, to deploy code without a final manual verification, developers must take responsibility for ensuring that their code is well-designed and that the test suites are up-to-date.
  • However, some organizations may not feel fully reliable to use the automated deployment process as they lose the control over what gets deployed. While for the other organizations, it may prove beneficial by following best practices and ensuring throughout testing of code in a production like environment.
  • This process on one hand may be beneficial and time saving for the organizations while on other hand it may limit the control of when to deploy the code to production.


The implementation of these processes in development and operations may help to minimize the time taken to build a software. It can reduce the complexity and manual involvement  in handling these process. It may also reduce human errors by following the best practices to avoid errors and achieve desired results. A well-designed and proper use of these automated systems may lead to huge benefits to the organization.


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