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    Continuous delivery (CD) is a repeatable and automated process used in software development to expedite the launch of modified or new source code into production. Software developers can use continuous delivery to fix bugs, add new features, configure changes, and do several other types of improvements or modifications to software in a production environment. Learn more about continuous delivery and how it works with continuous integration (CI) to deliver DevOps results.

    What Is Continuous Delivery (CD)?

    A characteristic of continuous delivery is that software developers change the software in smaller increments and avoid any disruption to the user experience. Using continuous delivery in production, the updated software code is uploaded to a source repository, where extensive regression testing is performed to ensure the software is functioning as required. The code is then moved to a continuous deployment phase.

    Continuous Delivery vs. Continuous Deployment

    While continuous delivery focuses on software release strategy and preparing the changes, continuous deployment focuses on the actual automatic deployment of updated software. The deployment can be used to automatically install and distribute modified software across different clusters or environments.

    With the use of continuous deployment, software developers can complete the deployment phase quickly and reliably. As the entire process is automated, any manual steps are eliminated, allowing software developers to fully automate the software pipeline from delivery to deployment. As is the case with continuous delivery, continuous deployment emphasizes testing to make sure automated processes don’t disrupt the usability of updated software.

    Why Is Continuous Delivery Important for DevOps Teams?

    The typical DevOps team comprises IT operations and software developers that work collaboratively throughout the software lifecycle. Continuous delivery is important for DevOps teams, as it allows them to set up a repeatable, reliable, and automated process to deliver updates to software. This helps boost efficiency and productivity for the DevOps team and reduces the chances of inadvertent errors. Continuous delivery also helps streamline workflows to boost regulatory compliance and operational confidence.

    What Is CI/CD?

    CI/CD is short for “Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery.” Continuous integration (CI) allows software developers to integrate updated code into a shared repository automatically. A new build is triggered as soon as the new code is merged into the existing repository. 

    The continuous delivery (CD) happens at the end of the continuous integration (CI) cycle to move updated code from development to the production stage. Some of the advantages of using CI/CD include faster testing and analysis, increased speed of deployment, repeatable processes, increased code coverage, and automated deployment to the production cycle.

    Top CI/CD Tools

    Jenkins

    Jenkins Logo

    Jenkins is one of the most popular CI/CD tools, often rated #1 on software review websites. It is an open source tool that offers a powerful set of features to automate different phases of the product life cycle, including building, testing, deployment, integration, and release. 

    Jenkins is available on Windows, UNIX, and macOS. The solution has a broad plugin ecosystem that allows the application to work with other familiar technologies. However, integrating the plugin can be a complex process.

    GitLab

    GitLab Logo

    GitLab is another top CI/CD tool that offers an open source platform with several useful features, including repository management, code reviews, milestone settings, and activity feeds. 

    The easy-to-use interface of GitLab makes it ideal for beginners or professionals. It can be used as a SaaS or on-premise solution.

    Bamboo

    Bamboo Logo

    Bamboo is a feature-rich CI/CD tool by Atlassian. It has a user-friendly interface with a wide range of plugins available. It easily integrates with other Atlassian products as well. 

    Users appreciate the easy setup and customizable environment. However, some users have faced issues when integrating Bamboo with different technologies.

    Learn about other helpful CI/CD solutions in this Top Continuous Delivery Tools guide.