Once upon a time, in the not-so-magical world of IT, professionals toiled day and night, grappling with clunky deployment processes, elusive configuration files, and the ever-present fear of breaking the system. It was a time of chaos and confusion, where developers and operations teams clashed like titans, and the sacred runbook held the key to survival. But fear not, for this is a story of triumph and redemption, as we explore why GitOps principles emerged to bring order, collaboration, and a newfound sense of humor to the realm of IT.
GitOps is a natural evolution of DevOps principles, and its growing popularity in the IT industry is no laughing matter. The benefits it brings, like increased efficiency, reliability, and collaboration, have transformed the way we manage and deploy infrastructure. However, to truly appreciate the magic of GitOps, let us take a stroll down memory lane and relive some of the real-world struggles IT professionals faced before GitOps came to the rescue.
The Game of Deployments
Ah, the good old days when deploying new applications or updates felt like participating in a high-stakes game show. "Will the script work or wreak havoc?" was the million-dollar question. In those dark times, without the safety net of GitOps, IT teams would often find themselves battling the fallout of a single missing semicolon that brought the whole system to its knees.
The Great Configuration Mystery
Once upon a time, managing infrastructure configurations was the IT equivalent of solving the Da Vinci Code. Multiple environments, teams, and a tangled web of folders with names like "config_final_v2" or "config_super_final_REALLY_THIS_TIME" were the norm. Oh, how we don't miss the days spent hunting down the ever-elusive "latest" version!
The Sacred Runbook
In the pre-GitOps era, the sacred runbook was the holy grail for IT professionals. But alas, these runbooks were often plagued by outdated instructions, leaving teams to perform the IT version of a rain dance, hoping the gods of technology would reveal the secret sauce that made everything work. And when the runbook's author departed (it happens so often nowadays!), their successor would have to embark on a quest to decipher the cryptic knowledge left behind.
The Clash of Devs and Ops
Before GitOps bestowed harmony upon the IT realm, developers and operations teams were engaged in an ongoing fight. Each side blamed the other for every failed deployment or system hiccup, with developers insisting, "It worked on my machine!" and Ops countering that the Devs must have messed up. GitOps, like a wise and patient mediator, stepped in and taught these teams the value of collaboration, transparency, and perhaps most importantly, a single source of truth.
And so, with humor and hindsight on our side, we can truly appreciate the transformative power of GitOps. As we journey through the rest of this blog post, we will delve deeper into the world of GitOps, exploring its principles, applications, tools, and potential for creating a brighter, more efficient future for IT professionals everywhere.
What is GitOps?
In this section, we'll dive into the world of GitOps, unraveling its mysteries and revealing its delightful key principles and benefits. We'll show you how GitOps has transformed the lives of developers, operations teams, and even security professionals, creating a harmonious and efficient environment for managing infrastructure.
GitOps is a methodology (the official v1.0 principles defined by CNCF GitOps working group) that is gaining popularity in the IT industry due to its ability to streamline and automate the management of infrastructure and application deployments. By leveraging the powerful capabilities of Git, a distributed version control system, and DevOps practices, GitOps promotes consistency, reproducibility, and transparency in managing infrastructure. Its focus on declarative infrastructure and application configurations ensures that teams have a single source of truth for managing changes, enabling them to easily track and audit any modifications made to their systems.
GitOps allows organizations to achieve a higher level of operational efficiency by automating deployments, reducing manual intervention, and eliminating human error. Its ability to maintain an audit trail of all changes ensures that organizations can meet regulatory requirements and maintain high-security standards. Additionally, GitOps promotes collaboration and knowledge-sharing across teams, enabling them to work together seamlessly towards a common goal. But, how?
Fig – high level diagram of GitOps-driven operations in Modern apps environment
Let's dig deeper into some of GitOps' superpowers derived from its principles and understand how they can help organizations streamline their infrastructure management and application deployments.
• Declarative Infrastructure: GitOps enables teams to create infrastructure blueprints using declarative configuration files that are reusable and human understandable (i.e., the Hashicorp Configuration Language (HCL) and Kubernetes Manifests). This approach allows for greater control and consistency in managing infrastructure, reducing the risk of configuration drift, and promoting system stability.
• Version Control: GitOps champions Git as the single source of truth for managing all infrastructure and application configuration files. By providing complete traceability and audibility of every change, GitOps ensures accountability and makes it easier to revert to previous known-good versions when necessary.
• Automated Continuous Delivery: With GitOps, organizations can automate the deployment of infrastructure and applications using Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) pipelines. By drastically reducing the need for manual intervention, GitOps minimizes human error and increases operational efficiency.
• Observability and Feedback Loops: GitOps emphasizes the importance of monitoring, logging, and alerting to provide teams with actionable insights and feedback on infrastructure and application health. This approach helps teams maintain system stability, respond to incidents quickly, and continuously improve system performance.
By adopting GitOps, organizations can enjoy a range of benefits, including improved reliability, faster deployments, enhanced security, better collaboration, and simplified infrastructure management. With these benefits, GitOps can help organizations manage their, not only cloud infrastructure, but also on-premises and edge infrastructure more effectively, allowing teams to focus on more critical tasks and achieve business goals more efficiently.
Beyond Cloud, GitOps for On-premises and Edge Infrastructure
In this section, we'll take a serious look at the wide-ranging applications of GitOps for infrastructure management in cloud, and, especially, on-premises, and edge environments. By leveraging the superpowers of GitOps, organizations can achieve significant benefits in efficiency, scalability, and security, transforming even the most (legacy) daunting systems into well-oiled machines.
While GitOps has often been associated with the cloud, its capabilities can be extended to on-premises and edge infrastructure (even in air-gapped environments) as well. This is especially relevant for companies adopting hybrid architecture to address data gravity and provide a faster and smoother user experience where efficient, scalable, and secure infrastructure management is crucial.
Implementing GitOps for on-premises and edge infrastructure is like casting a powerful spell, using the same declarative, version-controlled, and automated approach to manage infrastructure configurations and deployments as in the cloud. This allows organizations to maintain a consistent and unified workflow across all infrastructure types, making it easier to monitor, troubleshoot, and scale their systems. In a real-world example, CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, uses GitOps to manage their massive infrastructure through their IT department's platform called the CERN Web Service Portal (WSP - a central platform for managing and deploying services across the entire organization's infrastructure) injunction with ArgoCD and other GitOps tools to deploy services and ensure that all changes to the infrastructure are version-controlled and auditable.
Here are some key aspects of how CERN uses GitOps that we have learnt from public information:
Fig – screen shot take from YouTube
· Infrastructure as code: CERN manages its infrastructure as code, meaning that all infrastructure is defined in code and stored in Git repositories. This allows for version control and audibility of changes, and ensures that the infrastructure can be easily replicated and automated.
· Continuous integration and delivery: CERN uses continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD) pipelines to automatically build, test, and deploy infrastructure changes. The CI/CD pipelines are triggered by changes to the Git repositories.
· GitLab as the central platform: CERN uses GitLab as the central platform for managing Git repositories and CI/CD pipelines. GitLab is integrated with other tools used at CERN, such as Prometheus for monitoring and Grafana for visualizing metrics.
· Security and compliance: CERN has strict security and compliance requirements, and GitOps helps to ensure that these requirements are met. For example, all changes to the infrastructure must be approved through a review process before they can be merged into the master branch of the Git repository.
Overall, GitOps principles and tools have allowed CERN to manage its massive infrastructure more efficiently and with greater visibility into changes. The use of infrastructure as code, CI/CD pipelines, and a central Git repository has enabled CERN to automate many of the tasks associated with managing infrastructure, and to quickly respond to changes and incidents.
By adopting GitOps for infrastructure (virtual and physical) management, organizations can enjoy a treasure trove of benefits, including:
• Consistency: GitOps ensures that infrastructure configurations are consistent across development, staging, and production environments, bolstering system stability and mitigating the risk of configuration drift.
o Example: An e-commerce company with separate development, staging, and production environments wants to ensure a smooth user experience. By adopting GitOps, they can store their infrastructure configurations as code and use Git to synchronize these configurations across environments. This way, they can prevent errors caused by configuration inconsistencies and provide a seamless shopping experience for their customers, reducing cart abandonment rates and enhancing overall satisfaction.
• Scalability: GitOps enables organizations to scale their infrastructure with ease, automating the deployment and management of new resources and applications, which is especially important for edge and on-prem systems.
o Example: An organization is expanding its operations to include edge computing and on-premises systems to better serve customers in remote locations. By implementing GitOps, they can manage the infrastructure for these new systems more accurately and effectively, rapidly deploying and scaling resources as needed to meet changing demand and ensure optimal performance.
• Auditability: With GitOps, every change made to the infrastructure is recorded in Git, providing a clear and transparent audit trail that helps organizations meet regulatory requirements and maintain high security standards.
o Example: A healthcare company needs to comply with strict regulatory requirements like HIPAA. They adopt GitOps to maintain a transparent audit trail of all infrastructure changes, giving them a comprehensive view of how data is segmented and secured. This allows them to demonstrate compliance during audits and maintain high security standards, protecting sensitive patient data and building trust with their clients.
• Faster Recovery: In the face of failures, GitOps enables organizations to roll back to a previous known-good state quickly, minimizing downtime and reducing the impact on business operations.
o Example: A gaming company releases an update to their platform that inadvertently causes server crashes, affecting players worldwide. With GitOps in place, they can easily reset the crashed servers (if not physically damaged…) or automatically provision new resources for reverting to a stable configuration, reducing the impact on their users, and avoiding revenue loss. This quick recovery also helps maintain the company's reputation for reliable service.
• Reduced Operational Complexity: GitOps simplifies infrastructure management by using a single set of tools (find out more in the next section!) and processes across all environments, making it easier for teams to collaborate and maintain complex systems like a well-rehearsed orchestra.
o Example: A company with a complex microservices architecture wants to streamline their infrastructure management to increase efficiency and reduce the potential for human error. By adopting GitOps, they can use a single set of tools and processes across all environments, making it easier for their teams to collaborate and maintain the system. This unified approach allows them to focus on delivering high-quality services and features to their customers, driving business growth.
By leveraging GitOps principles for on-premises and edge infrastructure, organizations can streamline operations, enhance reliability and security, and transform their infrastructure management capabilities into those of a true GitOps champion! So, let's explore the wonderful world of GitOps further and discover its real-world applications for various infrastructure realms.
In this section, we'll explore the world of GitOps tools and how they can help organizations embrace GitOps principles to streamline their infrastructure management processes. Our guide on this journey will be ArgoCD, a popular and powerful tool that has gained widespread acclaim in the IT community.
The world of GitOps tools is vast and diverse, with a variety of tools available to help organizations automate their infrastructure management processes. Some of the most commonly used GitOps tools include:
• ArgoCD: An open-source tool used by organizations like IBM, Intuit, and Ticketmaster to automate the process of syncing application code and configurations from Git repositories to Kubernetes clusters. It enables continuous delivery, ensuring that applications are always running the most recent and desired configurations.
• Flux: An open-source GitOps tool favored by organizations like Weaveworks and Microsoft that monitors Git repositories for changes and automatically updates the Kubernetes cluster to match the desired state defined in the repository. Flux simplifies the process of keeping the cluster in sync with the desired state and supports multiple environments and namespaces.
• Jenkins X: An automated CI/CD tool popular among companies like Pivotal, CloudBees, and Accenture that supports GitOps and enables developers to build, test, and deploy applications on Kubernetes. Jenkins X provides environment promotion, preview environments, and automated pipeline creation, streamlining the development and deployment process.
• Spinnaker: A continuous delivery tool adopted by organizations such as Netflix, Waze, and Target that supports GitOps workflows and allows organizations to manage deployments across multiple cloud providers and infrastructure types. Spinnaker provides advanced deployment strategies, such as canary deployments and blue-green deployments, enabling organizations to minimize risk when updating applications.
• Kustomize: A Kubernetes-native tool used by companies like Red Hat to simplify the customization of Kubernetes resources using a declarative approach. Kustomize allows users to create and manage multiple environments with ease, using a base configuration and applying environment-specific changes on top of it.
• GitLab: A complete DevOps platform chosen by companies like Siemens and Goldman Sachs that incorporates GitOps principles for managing infrastructure and application deployments. GitLab offers built-in CI/CD, Kubernetes integration, and powerful automation features, making it a comprehensive solution for organizations looking to adopt GitOps.
These tools are widely adopted by organizations of various sizes and industries to improve their ability to manage infrastructure and application deployments, providing consistency, scalability, auditability, faster recovery, and reduced operational complexity. To find out more GitOps tools, you may want to check this curated list on GitHub.
To illustrate how organizations can assemble a single set of GitOps tools for their respective goals, here's an example of how these commonly used GitOps tools could be combined into a single set:
1. Version Control: Git remains the common core of any GitOps workflow, serving as the single source of truth for infrastructure and application configurations.
2. Infrastructure Management: Kustomize can still be used to handle the customization and management of Kubernetes resources using a declarative approach, streamlining the management of multiple environments with different configurations.
3. Continuous Integration and Deployment (CI/CD): Jenkins X or GitLab can be utilized to automate the CI/CD pipeline, offering built-in support for Kubernetes deployments, environment promotion, preview environments, and automated pipeline creation.
4. Deployment Automation and Synchronization: ArgoCD or Flux can be used to continuously monitor Git repositories for changes and automatically apply the desired state to Kubernetes clusters, ensuring your infrastructure is always in sync with your Git repository.
5. Observability and Monitoring: You can use Prometheus and Grafana for monitoring and observability. Prometheus is a powerful open-source monitoring and alerting toolkit designed for reliability and scalability, while Grafana is a popular open-source visualization and analytics platform that allows you to create insightful and customizable dashboards. Both tools can be easily integrated with Kubernetes and provide valuable insights into the performance and health of your infrastructure.
In this example, a combination of Git, Kustomize, Jenkins X (or GitLab), ArgoCD (or Flux), and Prometheus and Grafana provides a comprehensive and cohesive set of tools that cover various aspects of GitOps workflows. By integrating these tools, organizations can achieve better collaboration, simplified infrastructure management, and improved deployment processes while adhering to GitOps principles. The exact combination of tools can vary depending on an organization's unique needs and preferences.
Spotlight on ArgoCD and OpenShift GitOps: Features, Benefits, and Use Cases
Fig – Argo CD is one of the four components under Argo Project umbrella.
ArgoCD is an open-source, Kubernetes-native, continuous delivery tool that is highly regarded for its implementation of GitOps principles. It has gained significant popularity in the IT community due to its robust features, ease of use, and integration (also the funny Orange Octopus!) with various cloud-native tools and platforms. OpenShift GitOps, built on the solid foundation of ArgoCD, provides an even more robust and enterprise-ready solution for organizations looking to implement GitOps at scale.
Our team has recognized the potential of these powerful tools and has decided to utilize ArgoCD and OpenShift GitOps for the development of our new products for modern app infrastructure. Let's take a closer look at the features, benefits, and use cases of ArgoCD and OpenShift GitOps:
- Declarative and version-controlled management of Kubernetes applications and resources.
- Automated synchronization of application state with the desired state defined in Git repositories.
- Support for multiple configuration management tools, including Kustomize, Helm, and Jsonnet.
- Detailed visualization of application deployments, health status, and resource usage.
Fig – ArgoCD in action at CERN
- Access control and security features that promote collaboration between development and operations teams.
- Enhanced enterprise support, security, and scalability provided by OpenShift GitOps.
- Increased consistency and reliability of application deployments by ensuring that they are always in sync with their Git-defined configurations.
- Faster recovery from failures and reduced downtime by enabling rollbacks to previous known-good states.
- Improved auditability and traceability of application changes, as all modifications are tracked and version-controlled in Git repositories.
- Enhanced collaboration and streamlined workflows between development and operations teams by using a unified set of tools and processes.
- OpenShift GitOps leverages the robustness of ArgoCD while providing additional enterprise features, making it an ideal choice for large organizations with complex requirements.
- Managing multi-cloud and hybrid cloud Kubernetes deployments with a consistent and unified GitOps approach.
- Automating the deployment and scaling of microservices-based applications on Kubernetes.
- Implementing a secure and compliant infrastructure management process that meets the demands of regulatory requirements and industry standards.
- Facilitating collaboration between development and operations teams in large organizations with complex infrastructure.
- Creating GitOps enabled products using OpenShift GitOps and/or ArgoCD to provide a seamless and efficient deployment experience for customers.
By incorporating GitOps tools like ArgoCD and OpenShift GitOps into their infrastructure management processes, organizations can streamline their workflows, improve system reliability, and foster better collaboration between development and operations teams. With these tools, managing infrastructure can be as simple and magical as a wave of a wand!
Hitachi Vantara Products WIP with GitOps
The implementation of GitOps principles in infrastructure management is an exciting development that offers a wealth of opportunities for IT organizations to improve their processes and capabilities. In this section, we have explored some innovative products WIP that utilize GitOps to enhance the management of databases, automate infrastructure provisioning, and manage service meshes:
- “GitOps-enabled automated database management” offers organizations the ability to manage their databases with ease, reliability, and scalability. By storing declarative configurations in Git repositories and using GitOps tools like ArgoCD, IT teams can automate the deployment and management of their databases while self-service database management becomes feasible. This approach simplifies management, enhances reliability, and facilitates scalability.
- “Zero-touch provisioning, or GitOps ZTP,” is a powerful automation spell that can be cast on bare-metal edge and on-premises clusters as well as Kubernetes Clusters in the cloud. By using GitOps to define infrastructure configurations in Git repositories and employing GitOps tools to automate provisioning and configuration processes, organizations can enjoy faster deployments, reduced human error, and improved efficiency.
- “GitOps-enabled service mesh management” is another exciting product idea that can simplify the management of this complex infrastructure layer. By using Git as the single source of truth and automating the deployment and management of service mesh components with GitOps tools like ArgoCD, IT teams can navigate the service mesh labyrinth with ease, ensure consistent configurations, and enhance observability. This approach improves consistency, simplifies management, automates incantations, and enhances observability.
In summary, GitOps offers a powerful approach to infrastructure management that can transform the way IT organizations operate. By adopting GitOps principles and exploring innovative product ideas like those discussed in this section, IT teams can enjoy simplified management, enhanced reliability, improved efficiency, and better collaboration (and more time for coffee, not for caffeine!). Thus, GitOps continues to shine as a beacon of hope for the realm of IT infrastructure management.
As we reach the end of our lighthearted journey through the world of GitOps, let us recap the importance of GitOps in modern IT infrastructure management. We've seen how GitOps principles have revolutionized the way we manage and deploy infrastructure, bringing harmony and collaboration to teams while enabling innovative product ideas to flourish. But before we part ways, let us share a few more humorous stories to remind us of the brighter, friendlier world GitOps has created for IT professionals.
The Serenity of Sleep
Once upon a time, IT professionals lived in constant fear of the dreaded midnight phone call, alerting them that the system was down, and it was their job to save the day (or night). Thanks to GitOps and its automated, reliable deployment process, these nocturnal heroes can now enjoy uninterrupted, peaceful slumber, knowing that GitOps has their back.
The Tale of the Two Environments
In the dark days before GitOps, developers and operations teams were like two ships passing in the night. Their environments were so different that deploying code felt like sending it into the Bermuda Triangle, never to be seen again (or at least not in the same state). But with GitOps, we now have a single source of truth, making it easier for everyone to navigate the once-treacherous waters of deployments.
The Coffee Break Chronicles
Before the advent of GitOps, the once-simple act of enjoying a coffee break became a race against time, with IT professionals gulping down their caffeine fix, fearing that an unexpected deployment disaster was lurking around the corner. Today, thanks to GitOps, these professionals can savor their coffee breaks, reveling in the knowledge that their infrastructure is in safe hands.
As we bid farewell to the chaos and confusion of the past, let us embrace the bright and friendly world GitOps has created. We hope that these humorous stories and insights have inspired you to consider adopting GitOps principles for your on-premises and edge infrastructure, unlocking the potential of GitOps-based product ideas to improve your infrastructure management. So, here's to a future filled with confidence, collaboration, and the joy of knowing that GitOps has our backs!