Jenkins: Do you love or hate it? Join the DevOps Huddle!

The No-Code Approach to Jenkins Pipelines

June 23, 2022

Many organizations embrace DevOps to reduce the time it takes to get new features and fixes into production, while also ensuring that quality remains high. In order to meet both of these goals, teams use continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery (CD) systems like Jenkins to get the most out of their development efforts. Jenkins is a popular open source tool designed to support DevOps by providing automation and standardization across different types of development tasks.

In this article, you'll learn more about no-code DevOps platforms and what they can mean for your team. You'll learn why it's important to incorporate no-code DevOps platforms into your processes, and see how they can be used to simplify the setup of your Jenkins pipelines.

What is No-Code DevOps?

To understand what no-code DevOps solutions are, it's important to first understand what DevOps really is. 

DevOps, the combination of development and operations, focuses on the alignment of business, development, and technology operations for rapid delivery of business value through faster release cycles, improved end-to-end information flow, and increased deployment frequency. It's a set of processes that streamlines the hand-off between development, quality assurance (QA), and IT operation teams. A big part of the DevOps movement is the concept of continuous delivery—using automated testing procedures to get new features out to customers as quickly as possible, rather than relying on manual testing at the end of each development cycle.

Continuous Deployment (CD), the automation of continuous delivery, extends the concept of continuous integration (CI), in which all code that is committed to the shared repository is verified by an automated build, then deployed to production after passing the acceptance tests. This practice is based on the idea of building smaller units of code more often, allowing problems to be identified and fixed faster. By integrating all the new code into a single repository, you ensure that every team member works with the latest version of the project, which significantly reduces the risk of errors introduced during development.

There are many build automation tools available to help developers achieve continuous integration and continuous delivery. Jenkins, one of the most popular tools, is an open source automation server that can be extended through plug-ins to support software development, testing, and deployment. It is written in Java, so it runs easily on most major operating systems and platforms. The software uses a configuration file called Jenkinsfile, which contains the definition of the Jenkins pipeline or all the information needed for your build process. This includes what steps to run as part of the build (such as compiling) and what stages are required before it can mark your build as successful (such as running unit tests).

CI/CD often involves using tools like Jenkins pipelines to automatically test code changes against pre-set criteria before they're deployed. If there are problems with the code, they'll be flagged by the CI server and sent back to the developer with suggested fixes. Pipelines allow for continuous testing and continuous delivery, improving product quality and helping to reduce the risk of breaking the build when deploying new features. With DevOps, developers can get their software into production in minutes instead of weeks or months and deploy new features quickly. Not only are they getting their code out faster, but they're also making changes more often, which means they're better able to respond to customer feedback.

No-code DevOps refers to an evolution of the DevOps model that eliminates the need for developers to write code just to automate processes or manage production environments. This approach involves a set of tools and practices that help transform your organization—at any stage of its maturity—into an agile, scalable, and efficient software delivery machine.

Why DevOps Automation is Not Enough?

Automation is an important process in DevOps and plays an important role in business scalability. It is a powerful way to simplify the provisioning, deployment, and management of your organization's applications, but automating a process isn't enough to scale business development. To scale processes, you need to ensure the coordination of all the tools used, as well. More importantly, the CI process used in build automation should not be used in release automation, as it could lead to a myriad of problems.

You can automate single processes or small groups of related tasks to make them run more efficiently, but orchestration is a way to maximize the power of automation by managing multiple automated tasks to create complex workflows.

Introduction to DevOps Orchestration: Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) Pipelines

DevOps orchestration refers to a system that supports the automated deployment of applications and services through the entire pipeline of development and testing.

With release orchestration, you can create your own software release process with a unique blend of tools and practices and generate better visibility into processes and workflows (through pipelines and configuration management). In this capacity, orchestration acts as an “automation glue” that ties together otherwise disconnected steps or disjointed stages in your toolchain.

This leads to faster innovation, which ultimately increases revenue opportunities for your organization.

Importance of No-Code DevOps

DevOps is all about removing process bottlenecks to make sure that you can deliver business value quickly. You want to develop code efficiently, with fast builds that can be easily replicated in your testing or production environments, so that you can avoid delays in delivering features to customers or getting feedback on features from users. However, one of the biggest contributors to wasted developer time is the complexity of maintaining DevOps pipelines and tooling. Maintaining these pipelines requires extensive scripting and glue code, such as scripts that integrate various CI/CD tools. The glue code used to write these scripts and maintain the pipeline makes it difficult to change or add new functionality without extensive refactoring and testing.

A no-code approach to creating pipelines allows you to scale already-tested workflows for improved efficiency and productivity. No-code DevOps platforms such as Opsera eliminate the need to write custom scripts to collect data or build monitoring solutions—it does this automatically, so you can focus on what matters, which is building great software.

Other benefits of no-code DevOps platforms include:

Development teams become more agile

DevOps has proven benefits for companies of all sizes, but it is appealing to those that are small or have limited resources. The agile practices that DevOps encompasses allow small teams to turn out high-quality products quickly and reliably. By adding automation to the mix, these teams are able to deploy their software to production in less time, and respond more quickly to customer issues. It also allows teams to look to citizen developers to fill talent gaps and address a wide range of concerns.

Overhead costs are reduced

No-code DevOps goes beyond just increasing the speed of your release cycles, though that's an important part of it. It also reduces overhead costs for an organization by reducing the need for highly specialized skill sets among developers, speeding up the release process and making your workflows more maintainable.

DevOps orchestration is simplified

With no-code DevOps orchestration, you can manage your entire lifecycle from a single platform that integrates seamlessly with your existing tools. It gives you the ability to automate best practices, leverage your existing tools, and gain full visibility into your processes and workflows, all without coding complexity or extensive manual configuration. The result is an effective strategy that supports continuous delivery and accelerates time to market.

Developers are empowered

Developers in a no-code DevOps environment are able to choose the latest and greatest tool for their purpose without having to worry about how it will integrate with their existing stack. They're also able to focus on the most meaningful aspects of their work, not on tedious tasks and glue code.

Productivity is increased

The no-code DevOps approach offers increased productivity by putting front-line developers on the same team as those who manage the production environment. This eliminates delays caused by handoffs between teams, and allows developers to build more effective solutions by enabling them to test them in the production environment. Redundant work is eliminated, as well, because developers can use the same build tools and deployment processes as the people who manage their infrastructure.

Collaboration between teams is encouraged

DevOps is all about communication, collaboration, and integration between development and operations. Because DevOps puts everyone on the same page and encourages communication between different departments, there's no room for any confusion about who handles what and how tasks should be accomplished. No-code DevOps makes tasks even easier, and streamlines the processes involved.

Introduction to Opsera

Opsera is a next-generation DevOps Orchestration Platform that enables users to automate their tool chains, organize their workflows with no-code declarative pipelines, and get visibility into their infrastructure with a centralized dashboard personalized to user roles. Opsera integrates with the industry's leading tools and platforms, enabling users to manage every aspect of their software development lifecycle on a single platform.

Users can set up an end-to-end automated pipeline with one-click deployments and a drag-and-drop interface that offers no-code automation capabilities for major tool chains, including tools for configuration management, code security, log management, repository management, monitoring, and CI/CD.

How To Implement Jenkins With Opsera’s No-Code Declarative Pipelines

Opsera allows you to quickly and easily create no-code pipelines with with Jenkins as the build tool

- Enter the application name, and click **Create** to build a new DevOps tool chain based on your application stack. You will be redirected to a landing page where you can choose the tools for automating your CI/CD pipeline.

- Select Jenkins as your CI/CD tool, and deploy your selection.

- Navigate to the tool registry menu, and then to configuration management, where you can set up and manage the credentials for your Jenkins server.

- Create a pipeline template from scratch, or use and edit an existing template.

- Each stage in the pipeline is an independent microservice. When using an existing pipeline template, you can edit the workflow to add or reorganize steps as required.

- For quality and security consideration using the shift-left DevOps approach, you can set thresholds for all the steps in your pipeline.

- Once your workflow has been executed, you can view the pipeline activity log and related logs, along with the console output of individual stages in the summary view.

Summary

Continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) is a shift in the software supply chain process to allow for frequent, reliable application releases. This process is critical for companies to keep up with the pace of business, push out new releases and features, and be competitive in their markets. Schedule a demo to learn more about how Opsera’s no-code orchestration platform can help your team deliver better software faster.

Empower and enable your developers to ship faster

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