Troubleshoot CI/CD Pipelines Faster - Challenges & How to Overcome Them

November 9, 2021

CI/CD pipelines have become the backbone of enterprises in the IT industry. Teams are focusing on automating everything, with the aim of continuous integration, Infrastructure as Code, automated deployments, and continuous delivery.

As more teams are able to deliver code to customers quickly, securely, and repeatedly, there’s one aspect that needs more attention - troubleshooting CI/CD pipelines faster. When CI/CD pipelines mature, small blockers can create bottlenecks in the software delivery process and hinder secure releases.

Constant customer demands are part and parcel of many software teams today. Enterprises are driven to integrate more tools into their DevOps toolchain and pipeline. This leads to complexity in systems. What engineers need is end-to-end visibility, full-context logs, and metrics to quickly troubleshoot CI/CD pipeline issues and restore services.

In this article, we will take a deep dive into the CI/CD space to uncover the top challenges in troubleshooting CI/CD pipelines, opportunities to overcome them, and tools that can help you maintain reliable and secure CI/CD services.

Top Challenges In Troubleshooting CI/CD Pipelines

Just as CI/CD pipelines are bringing speed and flexibility to software development, many organizations find themselves struggling to achieve the results they’re looking for. With the increasing number of tools and integrations in your CI/CD pipeline, bottlenecks occur that may derail your team from an efficient workflow, pushing them to slow, insecure, and poor quality releases.

Here are the top 4 challenges in troubleshooting CI/CD pipelines:   

1. Too Many Logs In The Environment Come At The Expense Of “Context” and Time

Oftentimes, multiple teams work on various applications. When this happens, there are aggregated logs coming in from different tools. Identifying what logs you need to look into, and trying to make sense of them can quickly become a time-intensive and laborious activity.

According to our webinar, 70% of teams and companies said they use 10+ tools. 

Distributed logs across several tools can lead to siloed visibility for teams and you will have to dig through logs individually to understand the context. Besides, the more time you spend on correlating logs and pulling insights, you’re reducing your MTTI.

2. Time Wasted On Tickets Or Missed Issues

DevOps is all about increasing the speed of your teams and your overall software development goals. However, separated logs with poor contextual relevance require a lot of hand-holding among team members. This results in slow-moving tickets and missed issues because the development team often prioritizes faster releases over security issues.

Another thing that impacts the speed of the development is that team members don’t have end-to-end visibility and accessibility. So, they often need to raise tickets in order to even look for the failures in the CI/CD pipeline - a tedious task many engineers do on a daily basis.

3. Controlling Governance, Risk, And Compliance

CI/CD pipelines are not just meant for enterprises focusing on speed, but also for those who want to ensure that teams understand and follow organizational standards for the build, deployment, and release of applications. It’s considered as governance, risk management, and compliance (GRC), an umbrella term for defining an organization’s approach to these three aspects.

Pain points related to GRC include things like secrets management, role-based access control, policies around pipeline changes, and auditing them. So, for instance, if your organization follows a shift-left approach where you have a mandate to complete the quality and security gates before any code moves into production, you should have governance and see which applications specifically are missing the quality or security.

4. Teams Work In Silos, Causing Friction

One purpose of CI/CD pipelines is to break down the silo walls between functions such as development, operations, and security. However, when there’s an increased latency in issues, a high number of security vulnerabilities in the release, or a risk-averse attitude towards taking CI/CD responsibilities, it’s an indication that your team is experiencing friction.

Teams often deploy CI and CD independently, and the tools and processes should be compatible with incremental feedback-led processes. Additionally, poor coordination and lack of communication between teams also lead to delayed release- and deployment cycles.

Overcoming CI/CD Pipeline Challenges With Opsera

By taking a step back and analyzing your CI/CD pipeline and how data is collected, your team can pinpoint inefficiencies and change actions to boost cross-functional team collaboration and increase speed.

At Opsera, we embrace logs to troubleshoot CI/CD pipelines faster with our no-code DevOps orchestration platform. We’ve seen organizations experience challenges around troubleshooting CI/CD pipelines like the inability to manage logs in one place to derive context from them, integrating with tools, missing out on important alerts or delayed notifications, and even lack of reporting tools.

By bringing all of these aspects together in a single dashboard, where teams can troubleshoot the issue and solve it, instead of doing guesswork and identifying issues in the pipeline, it becomes much easier and faster for teams to overcome CI/CD challenges.

1. End-to-end visibility of your CI/CD pipeline

Having a white box orchestration tool like Opsera across the organization has long-term benefits in not just dealing with CI/CD challenges but in business agility, product robustness, security, release cycle, and associated costs.

Using toolchain automation, you can pick and choose the tools that you need for your technology stack. The technology stack can be SaaS-based applications like Salesforce or infrastructure as a code (IaC) or SDLC. So developers have the flexibility to pick the tools they want.

Along with this, you get end-to-end visibility of your pipeline and its automated processes. This, in turn, helps ensure that the people working in and around those processes have radical transparency and situational awareness of each phase in the software development journey.

2. Unified logs from all your tools in one place

One of the biggest pain points customers shared with us when dealing with CI/CD challenges was distributed logs and the inefficiencies around them. Logs are essential to CI/CD function. They enable teams to apply real-time data to improve delivery speed, enhance security, and boost overall efficiency.

But when teams need special permissions to access security failure logs or need to log in to several tools to just get a sense of what’s working and what’s not, the process gets highly time-consuming and inefficient.

As a solution, we offer unified logs from all your tools in one single console without needing you to log into multiple tools. So you can gain insights from tools like Jenkins, Gitlab, Jira, JMeter, Sonar, and more.

With 100+ KPIs across your entire SDLC, you get access to logs that give you the big picture across your pipelines, security, and operations. DevOps analytics targeting vertical roles including developers, managers, and executives helps you view insights from both a practitioner perspective and a managerial one to make better decisions.

3. Contextualized and correlated for actionable intelligence

Too often, developers, DevOps engineers, and SREs struggle to maintain context when there’s too much data incoming from different tools. When CI/CD pipeline issues arise, they don’t want to waste time to draw context switching between monitoring and logging tools.

Opsera enables teams to diagnose any failures using the logs of all the tools that were involved in the execution. You can also search failures by build number. This helps teams reduce complexity, maintain context with logs, and troubleshoot production issues faster. Also, with these logs, you can reduce the mean time to resolution (MTTR) to zero.

So, for instance, if you have something for your code security or your container security, we’re able to look at the function of the tool, extract metadata from it, and contextualize it. The ability to correlate and contextualize data for actionable intelligence is what makes the process highly efficient.

4. Native integration with collaboration & ITSM tools for alerts & notifications

It’s critical to ensure that alerts and notifications are delivered in a timely manner while preventing false positives and negatives. As more tools, processes, systems, and teams get involved, real-time alerting becomes an indispensable practice for enterprises.

Our native integrations with collaboration tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, and ITSM tools like ServiceNow allow users to make a call and create tickets in an automated way. Also, if you have an in-house distinct tool or a security tool, and you want to bring in analytics easily, we can manage the lifecycle management and provide integration.

5. Easy auditing and reporting 

Many enterprises don’t yet have the level of automation they’d like to have in their CI/CD pipelines. This becomes more persistent when teams are troubleshooting pipelines and encounter issues or miss failures due to lack of automation.

With our contextualized logs, you can use them to build blueprints for your audit and compliance purposes, where you can download them and put them on a JIRA ticket. Opsera provides easy auditing by enabling you to track and review all events in a single dashboard.

Our software uses proactive reporting capabilities to automatically check data from different tools, sources, processes against predefined and customized criteria set by your team. This simplifies execution checking, reduces effort, and costs to manage quality assurance. Teams can gain quick audit reporting that is built to recognize inconsistencies in processes before they lead to issues in the application or for the business.

Conclusion

We found that enterprises often use 10+ tools to troubleshoot CI/CD pipelines, which is exhausting. It also comes at the expense of the primary idea of the CI/CD pipeline which is to improve delivery speed. This happens as it slows down the identification of security issues, vulnerabilities, and needs “quick fixes” that tend to be costly.

One of the best ways to overcome the most common CI/CD challenges is using a white box orchestration tool that allows easy integration with CI/CD tools. For example, Opsera offers you a suite of automated monitoring tools in the cloud to troubleshoot your CI/CD pipeline across browsers and devices.

Once you integrate an orchestration tool like Opsera, you can easily configure your CI/CD pipeline stages, train your concerned professionals, and focus on improving your delivery speed.

To learn more about how Opsera can help you in your journey of Salesforce DevOps adoption, book a demo.

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