GitOps vs DevOps

GitOps vs DevOps; what does your organisation need?

GitOps and DevOps are two distinct methodologies, each offering its unique approach and set of tools for software teams.
Sanya Sawlani

Most developers would be more familiar with DevOps and less familiar with GitOps despite using Git, the source of truth of GitOps for managing repositories of the software development life cycle (SDLC). Hence, there is a need to study GitOps vs DevOps to ascertain which is suitable for your software development, delivery, and deployment. While both are designed to improve software processes, the two concepts; GitOps and DevOps are distinct in their approaches, guiding principles, and toolsets. Whether you are choosing GitOps or DevOps for your software processes, GitOps and DevOps are designed for various purposes and are best at their designated use cases.

This article will guide you beyond the fundamental differences and similarities between GitOps vs DevOps to providing a thorough understanding of how DevOps and GitOps methodology operate and what makes them uniquely valuable in modern software engineering. You would also learn how platform engineering portals like Atmosly make DevOps and GitOps better. 

Understanding DevOps and GitOps

What is DevOps For Developers?

Imagine a software development process where development and operations teams work in isolation, following the traditional waterfall methodology. DevOps emerges as the bridge that brings these teams together. DevOps, short for Development and Operations, represents a cultural shift, a set of practices, and a toolkit that fosters collaboration and communication between development (Dev) and IT operations (Ops) teams. Its primary goal is to reduce the software development lifecycle, increase software release frequency, and elevate the quality of delivered software products.

What is GitOps For Developers

GitOps is a relatively new idea in DevOps, using Git, as the source of truth. It originates as a more developer-centric DevOps approach to automate tasks and improving communication between developers and operators on a version control system called Git. Instead of integrating another layer to manage changes, GitOps essentially allows organizations to operate software using the same version control techniques used for code changes, enabling teams to achieve continuous delivery capabilities, improved visibility, audibility, flexibility, and scalability in less time.

Key Differences Between GitOps vs DevOps

The two seem to have lots of similarities, however, there are differences between DevOps and GitOps. The points below allow you to choose whether you need DevOps or GitOps for your software processes. 

Aspect GitOps DevOps
Version Control vs. Scripting Leverages Git for version control. Provides better visibility and traceability within Git. Relies on scripts and automation tools for managing infrastructure and applications outside Git.
Procedural vs. Declarative Takes a declarative approach. Defines the desired system and lets automation tools handle it. Follows a procedural approach where developers specify a series of steps to achieve a goal.
Manual vs. Automated Synchronization Integrates automated synchronization. Changes in Git repositories trigger automatic adjustments to the live environment. Often involves manual interventions, even with automation.
Change Approval Process Integrates change management into the Git repository workflow. Changes are reviewed, approved, and tracked within the system. Relies on ticketing systems and human approvals for change management.
Ecosystem and Tooling Maintains a focused toolkit with specialized tools for Git-centric workflows and declarative infrastructure. Offers a wide array of practices and tools, including CI/CD pipelines and configuration management solutions.

How GitOps Works: Simple and Streamlined

GitOps keeps it simple and efficient. Here's how it works:

  • Version Control: Git is everything in GitOps. All configurations, from infrastructure settings to application code, reside in a Git repository. It's your one-stop master document.
  • Declarative Configuration: No need for complex scripts as seen on DevOps. In GitOps, you declare what your system should look like, you tell it what you want, all on the Git
  • Automation: CI/CD pipelines continuously monitor the Git repository for changes. When they spot something new, they automatically apply it to your live system, just like a robot following instructions.
  • Self-Healing Systems: GitOps systems are intelligent. If they notice a discrepancy between reality and your "desired state" in Git, they automatically fix it. Your system stays on track.
  • Immutable Infrastructure: GitOps encourages the use of "immutable infrastructure." When changes are needed, the entire infrastructure is replaced with a new, improved version. It's like upgrading your entire home instead of fixing a leaky faucet.

How DevOps Works: Collaborative and Agile

DevOps brings people together for a harmonious software development dance. Here's how it unfolds:

  • Collaboration: Developers and operations teams work side by side. No more silos. It's like a well-coordinated dance routine where everyone knows their part.
  • Automation: Automation is the superhero. DevOps tools automate tasks such as building, testing, and deploying code. It's like having a magical assistant that takes care of repetitive work.
  • Continuous Integration (CI): Developers regularly merge their code changes into a shared repository. Automated tests run to catch any issues early, like having a diligent friend double-check your work.
  • Continuous Delivery (CD): Code changes are automatically deployed. It ensures your code is always ready to go live. No more last-minute rushes!
  • Monitoring and Feedback: DevOps teams use monitoring tools to keep an eye on applications and infrastructure. If something goes wrong, they quickly receive feedback, like having a guardian angel watching over your creations.

GitOps vs DevOps Toolset: Choosing Your Arsenal

Top GitOps Tools:

The toolsets below comprise Continuous integration, delivery, deployment, containerization, security, monitory, and various tools that power GitOps for developers. They include in no order as follows; 

  • Argo CD: Declarative, GitOps continuous delivery tool for Kubernetes.
  • Flux CD: Automates Kubernetes resource deployment using Git.
  • Jenkins X: Automated CI/CD for Kubernetes using Git.
  • GitOps Engine: Implements GitOps practices in CI/CD pipelines.
  • Weave GitOps Core: Automates Kubernetes application deployment.
  • Atlantis: Automates review and merge of Terraform code changes.
  • Autoapply: Automatically applies Git changes to a Kubernetes cluster.
  • Bedrock: Automates Kubernetes application deployment.
  • Flagger: Provides automated canary releases for Kubernetes applications.
  • Kustomize: Customize Kubernetes applications using Git.

Top DevOps Tools:

The toolsets below comprise Continuous integration, delivery, deployment, containerization, security, monitory, and other tools that power DevOps for developers. They include in no order as follows; 

  • Jenkins: Open-source automation server for building, testing, and deploying code.
  • Git and GitHub/GitLab: Distributed version control system and Git repository hosting platforms.
  • Docker: Containerization platform for packaging and deploying applications.
  • Kubernetes: Container orchestration platform for automated deployment.
  • Ansible: Automation tool for configuration management and task automation.
  • Puppet: Configuration management and automation tool.
  • Chef: Automation platform for managing infrastructure.
  • Terraform: Infrastructure-as-code tool for provisioning cloud resources.
  • CircleCI: CI/CD platform for automating software development.
  • Travis CI: CI/CD service that integrates with GitHub repositories.
  • AWS DevOps Tools: Suite of tools from Amazon Web Services for automating application development and deployment.
  • Atlassian Jira and Bitbucket: Issue and project tracking tool and Git repository management solution.
  • New Relic and Splunk: Monitoring and observability tools for tracking application and infrastructure performance.
  • SonarQube: Tool for continuous code quality inspection and static code analysis.

How Atmosly Enhances GitOps and DevOps

While GitOps and DevOps each offer unique strengths, integrating a platform like Atmosly can supercharge both approaches. Here's how:

  • Unified Collaboration: Atmosly promotes collaboration between development and operations teams, breaking down traditional silos. Shared workspaces and real-time communication features make teamwork seamless.
  • Automation and Orchestration: Atmosly integrates with your Git repositories and CI/CD pipelines, automating application deployment. It ensures your "desired state" defined in Git matches your live environment, reducing manual intervention.
  • Change Management: Atmosly embeds change management into the Git repository workflow. It simplifies the process, from reviewing changes to approvals and tracking, making it auditable and efficient.
  • Comprehensive Monitoring: Atmosly offers monitoring and observability features, leveraging popular tools to track application performance and infrastructure health. A centralized dashboard helps you keep an eye on system metrics.
  • Custom Workflows: Atmosly allows organizations to define custom workflows, adapting to GitOps or DevOps approaches to meet specific requirements.
  • Real-time Feedback: With real-time notifications and alerts, Atmosly keeps teams informed about critical updates and issues, enabling quick responses and continuous improvement.

GitOps vs. DevOps: Which approach should you choose?

The decision between GitOps and DevOps hinges on your organization's goals, existing infrastructure, and tech stack. You can consider these factors:

  • DevOps: If your organization has established processes and tools, DevOps offers flexibility and adaptability to various technologies and environments.
  • GitOps: GitOps is ideal for cloud-native and containerized applications. when you have declarative infrastructure and automated synchronization, GitOps is your go-to method. It excels when version control and suitability are paramount.

In Conclusion

GitOps and DevOps are two distinct methodologies, each offering its unique approach and set of tools for software teams. While DevOps emphasizes collaboration, automation, and infrastructure adaptability, GitOps trusts version control, declarative infrastructure, and automation to simplify the process. Both sharing a common goal, share a common goal: streamlining software delivery, improving quality, and reducing manual effort.

The choice between these methodologies should largely depend on:
1. Your organization's needs
2. context
3. existing technology.

While they are invaluable approaches in the dynamic landscape of modern software engineering, platform engineering portals like Atmosly increase their efficiency and collaboration. 

What are the primary differences between GitOps and DevOps?

GitOps focuses on Git-based version control and declarative infrastructure, while DevOps emphasizes collaboration and procedural infrastructure management.

What factors should be considered when choosing between GitOps and DevOps?

Consider your organization's goals, existing infrastructure, and tech stack when choosing between GitOps and DevOps.

Why might an organization choose DevOps over GitOps, and vice versa?

An organization might choose DevOps for its adaptability to various technologies and established processes, whereas GitOps could be more suitable for cloud-native applications requiring version control and automated synchronization.

What are some common tools used in DevOps, and how do they contribute to its methodology?

Tools like Jenkins, Docker, and Kubernetes play significant roles in DevOps by automating tasks, facilitating continuous integration and delivery, and enhancing monitoring and feedback mechanisms.

In what ways does GitOps simplify the software deployment process?

GitOps simplifies deployment by using declarative configurations stored in Git repositories, allowing automatic application of changes to the live environment, and maintaining self-healing systems that align with the desired state.

What are the key benefits of adopting a GitOps approach in modern software development?

GitOps offers improved visibility, traceability, and automation in deployments, leading to more efficient and reliable software processes. It emphasizes version control and automated synchronization, simplifying the deployment and scaling of applications.

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