Now that cloud-based solutions are nearly ubiquitous, companies are looking for ways to achieve more autonomy and decouple from cloud-based providers. Serverless CI/CD is a technology practice that addresses the challenges and dynamics of tight coupling with a provider and integrating new code.
This guide defines serverless CI/CD, explains the working principles, and examines why it is rising in popularity.
What is serverless CI/CD?
To understand serverless CI/CD, it is helpful to define serverless and CI/CD separately and then examine what the terms mean together.
In the context of app development, serverless refers to the standard paradigm in which app development happens natively in cloud services and all infrastructure requirements are abstracted from the developer. Serverless abstracts the provider-specific details from application-specific deployment scripts and affects the management of CI/CD.
CI/CD stands for continuous integration and continuous delivery or continuous deployment. In the CI/CD pipeline, the development and operations teams work together with agility in a DevOps approach. CI/CD introduces ongoing automation and continuous monitoring throughout the lifecycle of apps and smooths and streamlines the development process.
Serverless CI/CD is a service in Serverless Framework Pro, and it is also a term that applies broadly to many other products that help companies easily deploy cloud services. Serverless Framework Pro is a commercial version of the free-open, source Serverless Framework platform that provides users with access to CI/CD tools and more. It is distinct from traditional CI/CD because it is optimized for serverless architectures and does not require configuration. In serverless CI/CD, there are usually multiple environments so that the app can be coded, pushed, tested, built, and deployed without workflows interrupting one another.
How does serverless CI/CD work?
There are several phases in the serverless CI/CD process.
Planning – In this first phase, developers can prioritize tasks through a Scrum, or plan with a mix of workflow solutions.
Code Storage – Code needs to be stored, and the flow needs to be controlled. Companies can decide between monolithic repositories that store all project versions in a single place or multi-repositories that create multiple storage and workflow locations.
Linting – Linting is a mandatory step that involves formatting the code, running a static type checker, and conducting static analysis. Conducting the linting process as early as possible in the development lifecycle is the best practice.
Orchestrating – The orchestration phase involves internally orchestrating the code deployment to keep the various dependencies out of sight.
Writing Tests – Create unit tests that run locally, integration tests on the provider environment, dedicated CI environment, and end-to-end testing.
Staging – Staging allows for lead time to scan and identify bugs before a solution is fully launched. To conduct staging, use an internal system as an environment to set up the software development kit (SDK).
Gating – Gating is the process of merging the written code with the master. The code needs to pass through several “gates” or review junctions before the code is live. The gates can be automated, including unit testing, linting, integration tests, end-to-end testing, security tests, and code coverage.
Monitoring – In serverless solutions, the monitoring process must track the flow of events across all microservices, and this can become quite complex as the number of microservices increases. Thus, it is best practice to automate monitoring and leverage AI and ML tools to ensure the process is thorough and complete.
Principles of Serverless Development
There are three key principles of serverless development.
The serverless-first principle establishes that everything that is not a core business practice should be outsourced, everything that can be outsourced should be outsourced, and only the things that cannot be outsourced should be developed in-house.
Real Testing Environments
Serverless development requires testing on real environments. Each developer needs their testing environment to avoid accidentally interfering with each other’s work.
Developers are Responsible
With serverless, developers retain full control over their products. They can design, code, test, deploy, and monitor without requiring additional dependencies.
Why Serverless CI/CD is on The Rise
The cloud enables complete focus on implementation and removes the need for companies to focus on infrastructure because large platforms provide scalable infrastructure as-service, or larger enterprises can build their own in container environments. In these cloud environments, app deployment mechanisms are tightly coupled with the environment provider.
Serverless CI/CD presents an alternative to tight coupling with an environment provider. With serverless CI/CD, provider-specific mechanisms are organized in the backend, and the complexities are abstracted away from the developers. Developers can access an intuitive dashboard where all applications and providers can be managed. Ultimately, with serverless CI/CD, developers can create apps without worrying about infrastructure.
As companies continue to scale and search for agile solutions that enable full autonomy and dynamic collaboration, serverless CI/CD will continue to rise in popularity.
Serverless CI/CD and Encora
Fast-growing tech companies partner with Encora to outsource product development and drive growth. We are deeply expert in the various disciplines, tools, and technologies that power the emerging economy, and this is one of the primary reasons that clients choose Encora over the many strategic alternatives that they have.