Continuous integration vs continuous delivery
In organizations that employ a DevOps approach to making and deploying software applications, continuous integration and continuous delivery are overlapping but distinct practices. In distinguishing continuous integration vs continuous delivery, we can start by asking "what is continuous integration?" Continuous integration is the practice of having a daily (if not more frequent) automated build that integrates all new and existing application code and tests the application to ensure that it functions properly. To compare continuous integration vs continuous delivery, continuous delivery includes continuous integration but goes further by ensuring that each build not only satisfies functional tests but could be successfully deployed to live production on short notice. Some organizations go further still and actually deploy each successful build to production – this is known as continuous deployment.
What is the difference between continuous integration and continuous delivery?
To further distinguish continuous integration from continuous delivery, we can look to some of the specific practices and tools associated with each. For example, CI starts with developers frequently checking in their code to a source control system (e.g. SVN, CVS, or Github). From there it is automatically pulled by a build server (such as Jenkins, Maven, or Ant) that builds the full application, triggers an automated test suite (created with continuous testing tools such as JUnit and Selenium), and notifies the application team of the build and testing outcome. In most DevOps organizations, developers are required to immediately fix any issues that cause build test failures – before doing any further new feature development.
To make sure that successful builds are production ready, continuous delivery best practices include checking in code in such a way that any incomplete features are disabled and invisible to users; using test beds that closely approximate the production environment; and for web applications, subjecting the application to synthetic testing that simulates common user behaviors. Continuous deployment tools like Puppet or Chef play a key role by automating and standardizing the deployment of application code and supporting resources into test, staging, or production environments.
Continuous integration vs continuous delivery: Dynatrace as a unifying APM framework
While distinctions can be made between continuous integration and continuous delivery and CI tools vs CD tools, there's one toolset that bridges these stages of the application deployment pipeline: Dynatrace APM. Dynatrace delivers deep application performance monitoring and actionable performance insights across the full application lifecycle, from the developer's IDE through to build testing, load testing, launch preparation, and live production.
Dynatrace helps today's DevOps organizations detect and correct performance and scalability issues early in the delivery pipeline, ensure launch readiness, and maximize the value that live applications provide to users and the business. Available as an on-premise system or a SaaS service, Dynatrace complements and elevates CI and CD practices in any on-premise or cloud environment including AWS continuous integration. Delivering unmatched application performance visibility throughout the application lifecycle and across all major development frameworks – including Java, .NET, and PHP -- Dynatrace helps thousands of DevOps organizations achieve their goal of making better software faster.
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