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Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) SKILup Day Highlights

Continuous Delivery, Continuous Testing, DevOps Basics, SKILup

SKILup Day Highlights Featured Image

We declared July as Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) month! 

This month, DevOps Institute released the highly-anticipated SRE Practitioner course and certification! The first of its kind globally and in the Industry, the new advanced SRE Practitioner course follows the popular SRE Foundation course and introduces ways to economically and reliably scale services in an organization. Contact your DevOps Institute Education Partner to learn more:

On July 22, the one-day virtual conference explored CI/CD as a discipline. SKILup Day featured sessions from speakers Dave Farley, Ravi Lachhman, Pawel Piwosz, Natale Vinto, James Barter, Anders Wallgren, Mark Tomzca, Chris Engelbert, Jon Jarboe, Tracy Bannon, and Grant Fritchey.

In addition to a full day of sessions, the event offered yoga, a leaderboard challenge, a networking lounge, exhibit hall, resource library, and even a DevOps-inspired mixology class!

If you missed the CI/CD SKILup Day, we’ve got you covered with a quick round-up of the top themes that emerged from the sessions and conversations around the importance of the topic.

Why Devote a Full Day of Learning to CI/CD?

In software engineering, CI/CD generally refers to the combined practices of continuous integration and either continuous delivery or continuous deployment. CI/CD bridges the gaps between development and operation activities and teams by enforcing automation in building, testing, and deploying applications.

10 Benefits of CI/CD for your DevOps Journey

SKILup Day speakers covered several trending themes, including understanding CI/CD foundations, an in-depth look at pipeline improvement, securing CI/CD, and real-life use cases and experiences. Below we look at key topics and discussion points from the day.

Understanding CI/CD

A key theme among speakers at SKILup Day was introducing the audience to various aspects of CI/CD. Many speakers had specific insights into the foundations of CI/CD.

Keynote speaker and Mr. CD himself, Dave Farley, Founder, and Director of Continuous Delivery Ltd., kicked off the day. He shared unique insights during his session, “Scaling Up!” The session featured insights from Farley on what it takes to build complex systems on a massive scale as well as what we should and should not scale. He emphasized that “the answer is not bigger, more complex procedures and processes, stand aside SAFe! This stuff is about applying information theory and engineering principles to software development.”

He then shared important principles of a stronger engineering-style approach to solving problems including: “Write the test before you write the code.”

Software Architect, Engineer, and DevOps Institute Ambassador Tracy Bannon also presented at SKILup Day with her session, “DevOps Missing Link: Data.” Bannon stressed that without data, CI/CD pipelines are meaningless. She then shared real-world experiences on creating deliberate strategies, processes, and a tool chest for creating and managing SDLC data. She then described some of the test data challenges for DevOps. She emphasized that the key to improving quality with DevOps is applying strong test data management.

Grant Fritchey, Product Advocate at Redgate Software, presented the session, “3 Reasons to Include Data and Databases In Your CI Process.” During his session, he noted that “you can speed up the database development process, enhance protection of production servers, and more by including databases in CI processes.” He then delved into the benefits gained by adding databases to your CI process and ways to overcome the challenges of data.

Chris Engelbert, Senior Developer Advocate at Instana, returned for another SKILup Day. He presented the session, “Playing the Observability Game.” He discussed how to use observability to assist developers instead of distracting them. He related the method to the evolution of the Boeing 747. He explored how moving from behavior-driven development to observability-driven development and quick feedback cycles can help to limit or prevent dreaded late-night on-calls. 

Pipeline Improvement

Improving CI/CD pipeline and processes was another area of focus that emerged during SKILup Day. During his session, “Top CI/CD Pipeline Patterns,”  Harness Evangelist Ravi Lachhman shared the five most popular CI/CD patterns ー scoring them based on agility, complexity, administration, and risk of change. He also explored CI/CD antipatterns. 

Get your free copy of the CI/CD Pipeline Patterns eBook from Harness

Natale Vinto, Developer Advocate at RedHat OpenShift, shared first-hand experience during his session, “Tekton in Action with Red Hat OpenShift Pipelines.” He shared that OpenShift Pipeline builds on Tekton provide a CI/CD experience through tight integration with OpenShift and Red Hat developer tools. He demonstrated how to start building your pipelines in a Kubernetes-native way. He then explained how to automate your end-to-end pipeline, from code commit, through container image build, to running in your cluster, with OpenShift Pipelines, a Kubernetes-native CI/CD solution based on Tekton.

James Barter, DevOps for SAP Solution Director at Basis Technologies, shared valuable insight and expertise during his session, “Integrating SAP into DevOps pipelines: An Introduction to the Why and How.” Barter emphasized that “SAP systems enable critical operational processes and in an increasingly interconnected technology stack, need to adapt at high speed if a business is going to be truly agile.” He then shared why it’s important to include SAP in cross-application CI/CD pipelines and how to get started. Finally, he shared real-world examples of SAP DevOps adoption.

8 Ways CI/CD Pipelines Are Evolving

Securing CI/CD

Many speakers had specific insights into CI/CD pipeline security.

Lead Systems Engineer and DevOps Institute Ambassador Pawel Piwosz shared a widely popular session: “Should I Enforce Security for Infrastructure as Code?” The session included several of his personal learning experiences and insights to help and inspire SKILup Day attendees. He stressed that “the DevOps world cannot live without Infrastructure as Code today.” He then shared multiple dedicated tools that can be used to help control before deployment to prevent deployments of misconfigured templates. He concluded his session with, “fishes need water…organizations need automated security.”

Jon Jarboe, Developer Advocate at Accurics, continued on the security trend during his session, “A Practical Approach for Injecting Sec into DevOps.” He presented that high-velocity teams struggle to incorporate security into DevOps because security tools and processes often impede velocity. He noted that “Fortunately, some of the same practices that increase development velocity can be used to meet security goals at the speed of DevOps.” He then stressed that “aligning Dev, Sec, and Ops through codified goals ensures that everybody is speaking the same language and eliminates the gap between build-time and runtime.”

Top CI/CD misconceptions, explained

VP of Technology Strategy at CloudBees Anders Wallgren delivered the session, “Audit Ready Pipelines.” During his session, he explained that developers tend to run for cover whenever release managers show up with an audit request in their hands. Audit-ready pipelines aim to address these problems.

He presented that the idea behind audit-ready pipelines stems from trying to merge software delivery automation, CI, and CD into something where you can get increased visibility and understanding of your entire process, and what it means to different stakeholders. Wallgren said, “Managing this complexity tends to scare people off from giving audit-ready pipelines a chance, but I’m here to show you that they aren’t as scary as you might think.” He concluded the session with real-world examples of what an audit-ready release pipeline looks like, how they can placate auditors quickly and not bring fear to your development teams.

SKILup Day: Visual Summaries

Want to know more about the sessions? For a quick recap of each, check out the sketches below. 


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