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DevOps Automation Leveraging GitLab CI/CD


DevOps Automation GitLab CI/CD

Organizations have embraced modern Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC) strategies such as DevOps that streamline the organizational, process and tooling workflows to push quality software features to end-users faster and effectively. The concept of automation in DevOps is intended to facilitate agility and effective collaboration between all members of the DevOps organization.

Deployment Pipeline is an automated system in CI/CD which automates the testing of incremental builds that are available on the server. Here we are automating the entire process, therefore overall Turn-around time is considerably lesser when compared to manual testing. In a Continuous DevOps process, change in software is continuously taking place from Development to Testing to Deployment.

Some of the advantages of using automation testing in CI/CD pipeline are:

  • Faster bug closing – Issue Finding -> Issue Fixing-> Issue Closing.
  • Efficient utilization of overall resources in hand i.e. testers, testing infrastructure, etc.
  • Ability to execute tests in parallel.
  • Consistency in test planning and execution.
  • Minimum requirement of technical skills required for automated test-case execution.

GitLab CI/CD – Bringing Automation into DevOps 

GitLab CI/CD is a powerful tool built into GitLab that allows you to apply all the continuous methods (Continuous Integration, Delivery, and Deployment) to your software with no third-party application or integration needed. With less manual work, DevOps teams work more efficiently and with greater speed. An automated workflow also, reduces the chance of human errors which improves overall operational efficiency. GitLab is a single application for the entire DevOps lifecycle and fulfills all the fundamentals for CI/CD in one environment.

GitLab is a web-based DevOps lifecycle tool that provides a Git-repository manager and a powerful complete application for software development. It has an user-and-newbie-friendly interface which allows you to work effectively, both from the command line and from the UI itself. It’s not only useful for developers, but can also be integrated across your entire team to bring everyone into a single and unique platform.

People know that Git is a distributed version-control system for tracking changes in source code during software development. GitLab is getting more popularity in recent times. One of the reasons for its popularity is that it combines the source code repository and CI server. Generally, GitLab is composed of source code repository and Runners (open source project which is written in “Go” language). Runners are light-weight agents that trigger the jobs assigned to them with the help of Dockers.

Overview of GitLab Pipeline

The below diagram depicts how the automation scripts trigger as a pipeline when the developer commits the developer code into the repository. Below is a picture of the overall flow.GitLab Pipeline

This happens with help of .gitlab-ci.yml file (YAML). It is a configuration file that you can create on your project’s root. This file automatically runs whenever you push a commit to the server. This triggers a notification to the runner and then it processes the series of tasks you specified in the YAML file. The following are some important configuration parameters in the .gitlab-ci.yml file.

  • image: use docker images. Telling to docker agent that image going to use for execution.
  • stages: define stages (jobs) in a pipeline.
  • stage: defines a job stage (default is test).
  • before_script: override a set of commands that are executed before the job.

Test Automation plays an important part of the overall test strategy, however it has to be planned and executed in a defined manner. We have to identify the different aspects of test automation where we can clearly use the resources in hand without investing in-house testing infrastructure. Cloud-based testing could reduce the overall test automation strategy due to the reliability and scalability aspects. Gitlab CI/CD can be an important tool for integration and implementation. We require quick and correct delivery of the code and that’s why this tool was created. GitLab gives you complete control over your repositories and give you the flexibility to make it public/private/free.

Click here to delve deeper into ‘Automation in DevOps using GitLab CI/CD’ and know more about its step-by-step configuration.

Sanoj S
Test Architect, RapidValue

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