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5 Tips for CI/CD Optimization and Best Practices
Continuous integration and delivery is an effective method for pushing code changes to development as quickly as possible. It will help your team cut down mean time to resolution, avoid issues in code integration and ensure that essential fixes reach customers quickly.

However, the nature of CI/CD also creates significant room for error. Because code is being continually integrated into a larger code base and staged for deployment, the method can take a lot of effort to maintain.

Here are five tips your organization can use to optimize its CI/CD pipeline.

1. Track the Metrics That Matter

The right metrics will act as a key performance indicator for your CI/CD. Cycle time, mean time between failures and mean time to recover are three commonly-tracked CI metrics and an excellent place to start. Following these numbers will help you track the efficiency of your pipeline over time. Long cycle times, for example, can reveal considerable dead times and inefficiencies that you may be able to manage with parallel builds or by running unit tests.

2. Coordinate Integration and Delivery

Code should be passed off and moved down the pipeline without the need for major discussion or indecision. For effective CI/CD, devs, QA and other staff members must know exactly what their responsibilities are, and who they should deliver code to once they've played their part.

If your CI/CD pipeline isn't entirely in the cloud - which is likely, as just 39 percent of organizations plan on having the bulk of their data and software on the cloud by 2020 - massive amounts of data or code may need to move from local storage to the cloud or vice versa.

This process will require effective automation and excellent communication between team members and structures that help facilitate coordination. These structures and relationships won't necessarily be easy to build, but they will help ensure that the CI/CD pipeline is highly efficient once established.

3. Practice Regular Logging

If code fails a test during the delivery process, exhaustive logging will be the best way to isolate and identify the cause of the failure. 

Your team will need to balance logging against performance, as logging can quickly get resource-intensive. An advanced logging framework that adjusts the amount of information being logged - depending on triggered flags for certain failure events, for example - can help your team manage resource use while still recovering essential information.

4. Approach Automation Incrementally

Moving from manual processes to automated ones can be tricky business. Often, companies that pivot to using a CI/CD pipeline don't know where to start with automation. 

The best place to start with test automation is by finding ways to save your team the most time possible. Tests that your team runs frequently will make better candidates for automation than the tests your team runs rarely, for example. Tests that require specialized experience or knowledge are also excellent, as you can ensure that they won't be bottlenecked by the availability of a few developers or quality assurance specialists.

Once you and your team are comfortable with this initial step, you can automate additional tests, freeing up more time and speeding up the CI/CD pipeline.

5. Make Security a Top Priority

A CI/CD pipeline can create new security vulnerabilities. As a result, your team may need to take a new approach if you want to keep your code secure. 

Many workers, for example, don't have access to automated security testing tools, which can significantly slow down the pipeline and make testing more cumbersome than it needs to be.

Optimizing Your CI/CD Pipeline

CI/CD is a powerful approach for dev teams wanting to cut down on the time it takes for an idea to reach production. However, CI/CD can also be hard to implement well. Tracking the right metrics, logging extensively and making coordination between team members a priority can go a long way toward optimization.


About the Author

Kayla Matthews 

Kayla Matthews is a tech-loving blogger who writes and edits Follow her on Twitter @productibytes to read all of her latest posts! 
Published Tuesday, June 16, 2020 7:52 AM by David Marshall
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