The Next Big Thing in DevOps – What is GitOps?


Technology was built on our search for fulfilling our demands. We want our demands to be fulfilled as fast as our demand is growing every day. So, technology had to catch up with the pace of our demands to fulfill them with speed. This is where speed and efficiency came into the picture of technology. Almost every development done by technology is built to provide speed, efficiency, and convenience. Now, as we are discussing speed, we are ought to ask what is GitOps and what is it used for, and what are the benefits of GitOps? Before we splash the idea of GitOps, let’s discuss the core of it i.e., Git.

In the world of programmers, Git works as the cafeteria in which local gossip is passed on every morning with a cup of coffee. Well, to be precise, Git is software that tracks changes in any set of files that programmers use to cordially build software. As developing software requires different sources of codes, it takes a bunch of programmers having different niches of development to build software. Therefore, Git helps in tracking the changes in any set of files that all the programmers have access to regarding the software being developed. Git is another example of technology built to speed up the software development process and ensure efficiency.

Coming to the repository of Git i.e., GitOps. Here, we are going to answer all the questions asked in the above paragraph following a couple more to clear the concept of GitOps.

What is GitOps?

  • GitOps was pioneered in 2017. It uses Git as the single source of truth for declarative infrastructure and applications. It is a way to do Git deployment, Kubernetes cluster management, and application delivery.
  • One can identify the divergence between Git and what’s running in the cluster with the help of GitOps. If there is any difference found between the two, it is automatically updated in the cluster. It all depends on the case if the difference is found or not.
  • The developers are fortunate enough to use familiar tools to make pull requests to accelerate and simplify the deployment and operation task to Kubernetes as Git is the main body for the delivery. Therefore, the entire state of the system can be under the control of the version as GitOps will track down all the changes made with committer information, commit IDs, and time stamps.
  • Hence, we can audit both the application and infrastructure as they are under the control of the version. They are audited using the gold standards of software development and delivery.

You must now have a clear idea about what is GitOps and what is it used for. Keep reading to understand GitOps vs DevOps and the benefits of GitOps. There is another question that is needed to be answered to completely understand GitOps i.e., what is the GitOps model? You must be wondering if both are the same or is there any difference? Let’s clear it first.

Understand the GitOps Model

A GitOps model is nothing but an operating model for building cloud-native applications and delivery. Git and Kubernetes are combined by GitOps which now serves as an operating model for developing and delivering Kubernetes-based infrastructure. Therefore, GitOps becomes an operating model when it combines Git and Kubernetes.

GitOps vs DevOps

  • In the most lucid language, if we discuss the difference between GitOps and DevOps then we can put it down this way, DevOps is about the environmental or cultural changes in software development. It is a way in which the developers can work collaboratively to develop and deliver cloud native applications.
  • GitOps, on the other hand, provides tools and frameworks to make DevOps practice possible. The benefit is that GitOps provides tools with which the developers are familiar, therefore, it reduces the time taken in applying multiple changes in a day and executing those changes in the software development.
  • The practices that DevOps is used to perform include collaboration, CI/CD, and version control. In the end, DevOps applies them to infrastructure automation and application deployment.

Although GitOps and DevOps, both hold the same principles, differences make them ideal in their fields. Let’s discuss their differences based on their pipelines. IT will help you understand the difference better and make everything clear to you.

DevOps Pipeline includes more steps than those in GitOps. DevOps pipeline is as follows:

  • Multiple developers commit the code: It means the foremost step in the development of software through DevOps is committing the code which is done by multiple developers. This is a point to be highlighted because multiple developers will require coordination to function efficiently.
  • Build: Here the software is built. It means the manual committing of code is completed by this stage.
  • Unit and integration test: Under this, the software goes for testing the integration of the code committed in the previous stages. The developers run the code and make the required changes in the application.
  • Create application or service image: To have a unique identity, it is required to create an image for the application or the service developed.
  • Functional testing: Under this step, the final testing of the code and the application as a whole is done. It is tested if the purpose of the application is being justified through this code or not.
  • User acceptance testing: Under this, it is tested if the code is easy enough for the users to use the application or service that has been developed. It is tried to make it as user-friendly as possible to fulfill the purpose in a greater way. It will have a stronger impact on the user if it’s easy to use and fulfills the purpose as a whole.
  • Configuration automation: Once the development is done, to make the application automated and easy to use, the configuration is automated for further ease of the application.
  • Load testing: This is a small but very important step of application development through DevOps. It is necessary to test the load that the code is generating on the software for the smooth functioning of the application. It is often seen that the application is user-friendly, easy to use, fulfilling but it hangs and ruins the whole user experience in a go. Therefore, testing the load is necessary.
  • Deployment: The final stage of application or service development is its deployment. Here, we can start using the application and publish it on the software for others to make use of it and fulfill their very own purposes.

Let’s understand the pipeline of GitOps to know the difference between GitOps and DevOps. The following points will also give you an idea about the benefits of GitOps as it includes fewer steps than DevOps and is more fulfilling.

  • Write code: The first step is the same in both the Ops as it is the base of the development process. The developers design the code in a way that fulfills some purpose.
  • Version control repository: This step highlights one of the uses of GitOps. We know that GitOps uses Git as its single source of truth and deploys it. All this happens in this stage. The changes made are automatically updated and the time taken for the development is reduced by automating the version control.
  • Automated testing: This is not a step. It is the task that is performed simultaneously. It is automated to maximize the software development process by minimizing the time taken for the development and deployment through automation.
  • Image repository: Since the tools provided by GitOps are familiar to the developers, they use those tools in a faster way to complete one of the tasks of creating an image for the application.
  • Deployment: The final stage is the deployment. It took only four steps to complete the process of software development.
  • Kubernetes: This stage highlights the software that has been developed in the above stages. This step states that the software is ready to use.

Now that we are aware of the technology GitOps, let’s highlight some of its benefits that will surely convince you to use GitOps for the development and deployment of cloud native applications.

Benefits of GitOps

The benefits of GitOps go beyond familiar tools. Here are some mind-blowing benefits of GitOps:

  • Increased Productivity: Continuous deployment automation speeds up the mean time of deployment. The developing team can ship around 30-100 times more changes per day leading to the increased productivity of the business.
  • Enhanced developer experience: With the presence of familiar tools like Git, even the new developers can get quickly up to speed and be productive.
  • Improved stability: Since the tasks are automated, there is more stability in the development process. The increased speed of the development process doesn’t affect the stability of the project it leads to greater productivity.
  • Higher reliability: Again, as the tasks are automated, there is more reliability on achieving the targets of the project on time. Also, the automation provides reliability to the project itself as it doesn’t require human assistance once developed.
  • Consistency and standardization: Since GitOps provide a single model for making infrastructure, apps, and Kubernetes additional changes, it stays in the flow and provides consistency to the project development and deployment process.
  • Guaranteed stronger security: The strong cryptography used to track and manage the changes in any set of files used by the developers provides stronger security to the software.

Hope this article clears the idea of GitOps for you. Let us know your views on GitOps technology and what you think about its usage.