DevOps Unbound: The Road to GitOps

Content By Devops .com

GitOps takes DevOps best practices for development and applies them to infrastructure automation. In short, GitOps delivers a hermetic, immutable deployment. So, is GitOps replacing DevOps?

Managing infrastructure as code through GitOps can be a game changer for organizations. But, when is a GitOps approach best used or not a fit? In this DevOps Unbound episode, I’m joined by Tracy Ragan of DeployHub, Parag Doshi of Tricentis, Brendan O’Leary of GitLab and Mitch Ashley of Accelerated Strategies Group to discuss these questions, the impact of GitOps on the CI/CD market and where the future of GitOps is heading in 2021.

The video is immediately below, followed by the transcript of the conversation. Enjoy!


Alan Shimel: Hello, everyone. This is Alan Shimel, CEO at MediaOps. And you’re watching another episode of DevOps Unbound. Let me introduce you to our panel for this week’s episode, and we’ll jump right into our subject matter. First of all, we have the newcomer to DevOps Unbound, but he’s not a newcomer to our audience, my good friend Brendan O’Leary, senior DevOps evangelist at GitLab, a governing board member for CNCF. Hey, Brendan. Welcome.

Brendan O’Leary: Alan, nice to see you, as always, and happy to be here.

Shimel: Thank you for being here, Brendan. Next up we have our good friend and a semi regular here on many of our video segments at MediaOps, Tracy Ragan. Tracy is CEO of DeployHub, as well as the community-elected board member of the CD Foundation. Hey, Tracy. Welcome.

Tracy Ragan: Thank you. Thank you so much, Alan, for having me here today. I always love doing these.

Shimel: Absolutely. We love having you. Our third panel member today comes to us from Tricentis, who’s also the sponsor for DevOps Unbound, and it’s Dr. Parag Doshi. Parag runs engineering, VP engineering at Tricentis. Parag, welcome.

Parag Doshi: Hello, Alan, everyone. Nice to be here. Thanks for having me.

Shimel: Thank you. Thanks for being on. And then last but not least, my cohost for DevOps Unbound, Mitch Ashley. Mitchell is the CEO/founder of Accelerated Strategies Group as well as CTO at MediaOps. Hey, Mitchell, thanks for coming on today.

Mitch Ashley: Absolutely, Alan. And thank you for all of our panelists for joining us. You are all fantastic. We enjoy having you.

Shimel: You know, just before we jump into it, the continuing evolution of COVID times, we’ve done so much with our backgrounds, [Laughter] on our videos, right? Looking here at Tracy’s snazzy DeployHub background and Mitchell’s background and Parag’s – and Brendan’s old-school, man. Brendan’s giving us – if I’m not mistaken, he used to be down in the basement and now he moved up. I think he displaced one of the kids or something.

O’Leary: Yeah, I moved upstairs.

Shimel: Yeah, yeah. And that’s a real background, so good for Brendan.

Ashley: And he’s got an MV7 microphone there. Nice job there, Brendan, on the mic.

O’Leary: Oh, thanks. Yeah.

Shimel: Yeah.

O’Leary: All, you know, post COVID things to make it work, Alan. I wanted to have the background, the real background to make it work. But that was also a COVID change.

Shimel: It’s authentic. Yeah. [Laughter] Crazy stuff. Anyway, guys, today’s show is around one of the hottest topics in DevOps – GitOps. Right? And I’ve actually heard from people, you know, that GitOps is the new DevOps or GitOps is somehow replacing DevOps, and I think DevOps has outgrown the – it’s going to be replaced by something.

It’s transcended to a different level of existence, if you will. But certainly GitOps is on a lot of people’s lips. It’s not only on their lips, it’s in their development plans and how they are delivering software to the cloud, to cloud native, and all over. But is the right move for every situation? Is it a panacea?

When is GitOps a good thing to use? When is it maybe not a good thing to use? Right? How much does it change sort of the classic CI/CD pipeline that we’ve started to finally wrap our heads around in DevOps? Stuff like that. So I am going to – Brendan, of course, GitOps, GitLab, they both have Git in it.

So we’re going to make you – I’d like you to start off. Let’s start with some definitions. What’s GitOps mean to you?

O’Leary: That’s a great question, and I think one that’s still probably [Laughter] unsettled, right? Much like defining DevOps can sometimes be seen as unsettled. GitOps came out of the cloud native community, and so a lot of folks maybe restrict the concepts of GitOps to say it only exists in a Kubernetes world. Because that’s kind of where this approach came from. But we’ve seen folks employ GitOps principles to all kinds of different infrastructure, automation, from old-school VMs to containers to Kubernetes clusters as well.

So when I think of GitOps, I think it kind of requires three things. One, infrastructure as code. Right? You said that in the beginning. That’s kind of like table stakes to getting in. It’s something we’ve been working on for a long time. But really defining as code in Git – the Git part of GitOps – what our infrastructure’s going to look like, and then keeping that configuration stored in that code.

And maybe the desired state is stored as code or not, but at least the way we get to that desired state is. Second, I think it’s merge request. So we call it merge request. You’ll hear other folks call them pull requests. But the concept of using the point where someone is proposing a change as the central place where teams collaborate on.

Is this the change we want to do? Is this going to help solve the problem we’re trying to solve for? Right? Bringing that concept to the world of infrastructure is hugely beneficial, because it’s how our developers have already been working for years and years. And making that merge request, kind of that central source of truth for approvals and security checks and all those other things is really critical.

And then last, I think it’s – the third thing is CI/CD, right? Of course. So the idea of GitOps is automating that infrastructure, update with a very simple Git workflow. And so you really do have to have embraced and adopted continuous integration and continuous delivery really in order for the whole package of GitOps to make sense for you.

Shimel: Pretty darn good. Comments, add-ons, thoughts? Parag, Tracy?

Ragan: I would only add one thing here. If you say what is GitOps, I like to shorten it down. I think what Brendan just defined is all accurate, but it’s operations by pull request. The goal of GitOps, what GitOps delivers is a hermetic, airtight, immutable deployment. And that is in essence what we’re trying to accomplish by using Git as the place where we declare and define what we’re going to push out to or have pulled out to the cluster.

So it’s the concept of a hermetic deployment, something airtight that no human touched. Don’t you dare touch that and then deploy it out, because of we don’t know what you did. [Laughter] So the whole idea is to create a hermetic process.

Shimel: I love that. That was concise and right on.

Doshi: I have a similar viewpoint. I think of GitOps as a combination of infrastructure as code plus event-driven architecture. Right? And in this case we’re talking about merge requests or pull requests or whatever terminology you want to use, depending on the flavor of Git you love. But the way I think of this as a former physicist is entropy is there. It’s too hard to keep track of everything. Humans can’t remember everything.

We need to be able to describe, as application developers have been doing for the past couple decades, in code the versions of things, the documentation associated with everything. And then the automation that we’ve had in CI/CD, which people think of, oh okay, that’s developers pushing their code out, well there’s no reason why we have to stop at application level. It needs to be the whole thing, because application and infrastructure must stay in sync at all times. So by putting a description of both the application, the infrastructure, and within the surrounding environment, all three of those into Git, you’re bringing the best practices of AppDev into the whole world together so they’re all synchronized.

Ashley: Yeah. I like that description too, Parag, because in a way that’s breaking down silos that we still have around the code build and deployment process. And it’s almost like if you think back when we started using code repositories and, okay, everybody put their source code in one place, okay, let’s expand that to artifacts and other things. Well, now we’re doing the same thing of let’s abstract at one more level and make the whole thing as cradle to grave, if you will, for getting code out into product. Whether it’s any part of that stack, it’s a GitOps process.

So to your point, Tracy, about it’s an immutable object, it’s something that we know from beginning to end, it’s all been in one environment and we happen to have manual processes that have just been automated that potentially are weak or could be broken.

Doshi: I’ll add one more comment on top of Branden’s about – I think it was around – it came out of cloud native computing foundation, but really the way I look at containers is it doesn’t matter that’s a container or VM. We’ve just moved a control plane up to a higher level, but the same principle’s apply. So there’s no reason why you cannot use these same principles in a container type of environment or a non-container environment. The only difference I would say with containers is we can be very surgical, fine grain, down to each individual pot. So there’s a little advantage with cloud native architectures to be very fine grained.

O’Leary: Yeah, I agree. And I think that’s important for folks to separate the concept of GitOps, the principles that we’ve all talked about. And I agree with the other panelists and how they’ve talked about it. But separate those principles from the technology, right? Because it’s not always true that Kubernetes is going to be the right technology for you to deploy every workload you have in, but still this concept of GitOps.

And I really liked Tracy’s sealed container – well, overloading the word container there. [Laughter] But that sealed deployment that doesn’t have a lot of human – or doesn’t have any human interaction. That is what gets us to what Mitch was talking about, which is we want to take this isolated, people working in isolation, the kind of cave-like nature that operations typically used to have where you had to have this specialized knowledge that one person knew. Oh, wait. How do we deploy that service?

Oh, we’ve got to call up Alan. He’s the one that knows how to do that. [Laughter] Right? You want to get rid of that and make it all, what Tracy said, which is like a hermetically-sealed deployment that we know we can reproduce every time.

Ragan: Yeah. So GitOps was a brilliant way to leverage existing tools and habits to create Chef and Puppet. That is basically what was done. I mean, it has a Puppet kind of master architecture. You have a GitOps operator that’s running on your cluster. It does a pull based on what’s in Git. It very much took the basic concept of Chef and Puppet and leveraged existing tools that people already had, some open source, GitOps operators out there, and they were off and running. And that is the brilliance and beauty of GitOps. I mean, I have a lot of issues with GitOps, and I’m sure we’ll share them, but its brilliance is in that simplicity.

Shimel: The irony though, Tracy, is that many people will tell you that Kubernetes killed Chef and Puppet, right? And we’ve seen Chef get sold maybe for less than money raises in valuation previously.

Ragan: No, I’m just talking about the basic concepts.

Shimel: No, no, I get it. But if we look at the concepts behind what Chef and Puppet did, which was automate that deployment, deployment automation like that, and then with Kubernetes it sort of negated the need for that, but yet we kind of snuck that in the back door. Except we put it in Git to use in Kubernetes. So the irony of that is pretty profound, right?

Ragan: Well, it’s all about the container.

Ashley: Right, right.

Shimel: Yeah. You’re right. Maybe it’s because Chef and Puppet – [Crosstalk]

Ragan: The containers simplified, yes.

Shimel: – didn’t figure out how to work in the container. Look, for that matter Jenkins too. Right? We went to Jenkins X because of all of that and everything else.

Ashley: That’s a really great example, yeah.

Shimel: But what I’m reminded is of the old Who song, right? “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.”

Ragan: Exactly.

Shimel: And you still have that old boss. With that being said, here’s another thing, and Parag, I’m going to ask you to kick off as I take us a direction here, and that is GitOps, yes, it’s for deployment. What about testing? I said this is all about testing. We’re doing our testing in Git. Is that the – that stops, right? Is that better? Worse? Is that the way it should be, always, sometimes, never?

Doshi: So I don’t know if I’d call it testing in Git, but I would say now Git becomes a source of truth. So I think what Tracy said is right, that it’s just that same sort of automation of infrastructure but now moved into making Git the centerpiece of where you define this. So the Git part is unchanged, but the testing is now event driven. Right? So because you’ve merged in code, you’ve committed code or gone to do a pull request, that can trigger testing.

And we call this continuous testing. And I think the evolution of this can even go as far as our test definitions themselves should also be put into Git. That’s the next evolution that we’ll have. I don’t believe it’s really commonplace just yet, but when that happens then, we are trying to describe as much as possible into Git as a repository and use the principles of version control added with the event-driven concepts.

So when a developer does X or when an operator is in environment Y and something needs to change, that whole Git workflow can invite continuous testing to say do I allow that to merge back in? If you want to have an approval, you could do those kinds of things. So to me, incorporating continuous testing, and the day that we put test definitions into Git as well, we’ve gone quite a bit further of completing this vision and really making DevOps real. Right? Because DevOps isn’t just releasing really fast, deploying really fast. It’s deploying fast with confidence and ease. That’s what we need.

Shimel: Thoughts on that, panel?

Ashley: It sure seems like a natural evolution to include the test environment. And as you say, Parag, it’s probably not commonplace yet today. A question for you about that; do you think that there’s incentive with the folks that are taking care of the testing, whether they be the QA team or developers writing tests, things like that? Do you think they have the right incentives to move it into Git or will it be something else that causes it to happen?

Doshi: I think as long as people have the incentive of delivering value as quickly as possible with the best meantime to recover, the lowest defect leakage rate, as long as we do break down those silos, as you said. If the testing team is, okay, well, I don’t understand what the developers do, just throw it over the wall and then I do my test, that’s not going to work. This is talking about dev testers, the full stack developers. And as long as everybody’s motivation is right, that we’re trying to deliver value faster and faster, that we will not have confidence – that a VP will not say let my applications go out – you know, they’re only going to look at portfolios of apps and say what amount of testing has been done? What amount of security checks have been done?

That’s another thing. The environment. Okay? That’s the biggest entropy of all. We have the least control over the environment. The same code, the same infrastructure in different environments behaves differently. Until we get that environment description also into Git, coupled with the testing model themselves that says here’s how we test it in that environment or that application or this infrastructure pattern, then DevOps becomes real. Until then, this is all talk.

O’Leary: Yeah, I agree. I think it’s critical, and it’s something that GitOps, again, this concept of GitOps, I think is exciting to a lot of people that have been trying to make DevOps real for so long, because it enables that in a way. Right? We see kind of the light at the end of the tunnel, I would say. And if that is all brought into Git and all made into something that can deploy independent of any human interaction, well now you have the ability to do continuous testing. You have the ability to stand up an identical environment, the golden goose or [Laughter] golden egg of a, hey, we want an environment that’s exactly like production to really test it and really hit with security tests and know that when we do deploy to production we’re going to have that confidence.

So if you’re able to continue to iterate on the environment, the infrastructure, just like you’re iterating on the code, it enables you to then say, okay, now we can not only have the code to review and maybe some static code analysis that happens and some testing that happens, and then maybe some human testing that happens, now we’ve also got an entire environment spun up automatically that mirrors production, where we can have a high level of confidence that it’s going to work when it really ships.

Shimel: So guys, you’re telling me DevOps hasn’t been real quite yet. I feel like I’m living in the Matrix, kind of living in a simulation. Tracy, I sense you’re Agent Smith here, though. You have a different view. Maybe GitOps isn’t the panacea it is or it’s been projected here. What’s your view?

Ragan: So no hate mail, okay? No hate mail. [Laughter]

Because I know there’s a lot of enthusiasts out there, and rightfully so. But let me just level set the way I see where we’re headed and where GitOps can’t take us. GitOps is imperative. It’s scripted. And it works really well – so think about how most people use GitOps.

You have a code repository that you keep all your source code in. You make a change to your source code. You check that in just the same as you always did. You also have an environment repository, and what lives in your environment repository is your Kubernetes deployment YAML file. And that is where you define all of the stuff that we’ve been talking about and that’s what the GitOps operator looks at and pulls across.

Now if you’re in a Kubernetes environment and you have containerized your application – this works great, it really does – and you don’t have a whole lot of environments – you have three environments dev, test, and prod – because remember, in a Kubernetes YAML file there’s a couple of things that are important to the GitOps operator. One is the tag of the container. So once you register your container image you get a SHA, and that makes it a unique identifier. And you have to update your YAML script with that SHA.

Now dev, test and prod may have different values, configuration values. So you have to branch it. So you branch dev, test, and prod. So now you have three versions of that YAML file to manage your container deployment. And that’s pretty doable for most organizations today, but it is still imperative. Everything’s being defined by the script for each of those environments.

Now let’s go and expand it and scale it. Let’s scale it to a microservice environment. Every microservice has its own YAML file because it should be independently deployed. And they should be shared, because that’s the beauty of a service-oriented architecture. They should be shared across teams. So what you do is as an application team, you’re going to make your coding changes in your coding repository and then you’re going to have different YAML files for the different services.

Now let’s say you’re a store. I use the candy store and hipster store and the clothing store. They all use the card service. Well, they’re all going to put their card service YAML file into their environment repository, and that’s going to get deployed to their own clusters and name spaces. So you have a scaling issue, and it’s because of the imperative nature of GitOps.

We are starting to move and have more conversations about declarative and events and catalogs, where this stuff is going to be stored and generated at runtime. So for example, instead of having all of these scripts, you’re going to have central places to go to say what’s the key value pair for this environment? I’m going to pull this registry information that has the SHA, I’m going to go get my key value pairs, and that way you don’t have to have so many scripts and you’re not managing – it’s onerous.

It really can become onerous. We have customers who have 200 microservice and 20 clusters. That’s a lot of scripts. And if you’re an SRE and you want to update your microservice and you want to provide it to everybody, you’re going to have to figure out every single application environment repository that has it in there for every single environment and make those corrections. So it doesn’t scale as well as it should. Now I know that their CNCF has a group, a working group, around GitOps, and they’re starting to think about GitOps version two, and they’re going to have to address these kinds of core problems around an imperative process.

Shimel: Love it. Brendan?

O’Leary: Yeah. I mean, I like that concept and I think you’re right, Tracy, that the ability to manage the scale is definitely something you have to be prepared for if you’re thinking about GitOps, because if you just take it at its face value you end up with all those scripts and it could make the problems you have worse rather than fixing some of the problems you hope it would come into and solve. And so I think in a cloud native environment, again, it maybe pairs a little bit more simply, but I think that’s why again it’s great to think about the concept of focusing on that developer-centric approach and the experience that they’re going to have when it comes to shipping something out, to your point of if I want to ship an update to my microservice that impacts everyone, I don’t want to have to go through 78 repositories and update that everywhere.

And so having GitOps do the infrastructure management in the same version control system as application development is great, but you also have to have a plan in place for how does that scale to the scale that you’re really going to build to? If that the scale of developers, if that’s the scale of services, if that’s the scale of environments. And so I think it’s important to have tooling and an approach in place that accounts for that as well.

Shimel: Parag, you were going to say something I think before we –

Doshi: Yeah. Sure. So I love what Tracy described there, and getting into the specifics of the proliferation of YAML files, and especially as we break down microservices. So this is the whole concern with microservices. What you took as monolith and you described as one big black box, now you’ve broken it down. And so now we have the proliferation of all these things. Right?

So I like things like Helm to help to reduce that and parameterize all these things. But fundamentally with GitOps, the concepts are there. Like I said, infrastructure as code with an event-driven type of approach version control. What I like about CNCF and containerization is the purpose of containers inherently – and Branden can keep me honest on this – is really to make the environment completely separated from your solution, your application, your infrastructure. Right? So today’s industry, the best approach we have is containers or serverless, which is also part of CNCF, so that we have things like Docker files and YAMLs that allow us to reduce the entropy of the environment as we can as much as possible and describe them declaratively in things like GAML files.

And I do agree with Tracy 100%, that now it becomes, okay, well now I’ve got all these different configs, pulled that out of my code. Even with service mesh technology and CNCF we’re pulling out things like security and rate limiters between every single microservice. All that’s taken out of the logic, the business logic, on everybody doing security different ways. Now it becomes a configuration issue. How do I – if I want to change a configuration, do I need to change 100 different YAML files or config maps? And I think the technology’s evolving.

Help is just one example. And then I’ll associate that with all the continuous delivery. You all know Spinnaker and a bunch of different technologies in this area, Octopus and so forth, that can help.

Shimel: Yep. Mitch, did you want to say something? Otherwise, I want to – I’ve got another –

Ashley: All I can add to the conversation is version control across all of this also gets very complex. [Laughter] I think you all –

Shimel: But isn’t that what Git and Repositories are supposed to help us with anyway?

Ashley: It is, but now you’re versioning all of your scripts along with all the environments and all of the variables of what you’re trying to script.

Ragan: And it’s not relational.

Ashley: Yeah.

Ragan: You know, when you have – what’s the blast radius of my microservice? I’m going to push it out because my hipster store needs the new card service. If you’re using an SOA architecture that means that you have one card service and everybody’s using that version and that’s the best way to move forward because you eliminate the sprawl. If you put it all in its own namespace, you have multiple versions of the card service. So now you have a problem with the card service and you have to go update all the namespaces that’s using that card service.

So you have to have a relational model to be able to track what applications or what namespaces are using what microservices. And unfortunately, Git is not relational. We create relations using tags, using different repositories, but that becomes redundant.

Ashley: Great example.

Shimel: Fair enough. So let me –

Doshi: Tracy, you talked about the structure.

Shimel: Oh, go ahead, Parag.

Doshi: I was just going to follow up and ask a question to Tracy. I think what you’re saying there is Git is just a big version control repository. If we can provide some extra structure and relationships around all these artifacts that we’re storing there we might have better control.

Ragan: And that’s what you call catalog.

Doshi: Yeah.

Ragan: Right? So I think we’re starting – when we really look at a service-oriented architecture and we look at – let’s say, for example – let’s push ourselves farther into the future. And Brendan brought this up around service mesh. And I believe this can happen and will happen. I believe service mesh will be enhanced on.

Right now you can say do a deployment and deploy out to 10% of my users. I think service mesh will start looking at active directory and say deploy out to my developers. So now we have one cluster and we have immutable services out there. We put a new service out there, it gets requests routed to the developers, they do their testing on it, once it’s good it’s rerouted to their testing community.

Then it’s routed to a certain group of their production community. Which means that we don’t have deployments across multiple clusters. We’re going to start pushing into a one big cluster, which sounds a lot like the mainframe. [Laughter] But we’ve come full circle. And as Alan said, the song, right? Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. [Laughter]

Shimel: Right. We won’t get fooled again. That is true. There is certainly some truth to that. I wanted to spend a little time talking about the impact of GitOps on the CI/CD market. We’ve written in several articles, the gist of which was DevOps is the symptom of disease. CI/CD is the cure, if you will. Right? And we’ve built this whole DevOps industry around CI/CD solutions.

And I mean look, GitLab’s a great example. They had a great Git product to begin with. But it was their CI/CD solution that kind of moved them into that end-to-end DevOps, if you will. Right? GitOps I think has profoundly changed that market because it’s profoundly changed the way we do CI/CD. Well, that and Kubernetes, right?

Kubernetes I think was the initiator of it. What does it mean for the market? What does it mean for our audience out here? And we have a technical audience, 60% of which are practitioners, 30% are managers or higher, and 10% are just, I don’t know, vendors. But what does it mean for them out there?

What does it mean? I mean, these CI/CD tools that they’ve gotten used to, that they’ve grown up with a bit over these last years. What does it mean for them?

O’Leary: Well, Yeah. I think that we love to say CI/CD together. I mean, I love to say CI/CD together, right? That’s now we name our product. But those concerns have always really been separate and never really been completed merged and married. Like it’s great to try and think about them as a single unit – CI slash CD, right?

But I think the reality is that CI is something that has been around for a really long time, probably 20-plus years if not more, but CD is something that a lot of organizations still struggle with for any number of reasons, whether that’s a technical reason, whether that’s an organizational structure reason, whether that’s a risk aversion reason. The idea of doing continuous deployment is something that really is very dependent on your organizational structure, who your end users are, and the, yes, to some degree like you said, Alan, the tooling that you choose. And what we’ve seen in traditional CI/CD tooling is this concept of applying what we do in CI, which is scripting based on an event, running through a number of scripts.

That is what then becomes CD. Well, now we’re going to push with scripts out to the environment. And so GitOps, you noticed in my definition I didn’t say that a pull was necessary. I think you can do push-based GitOps if you have infrastructure as code, you have MRs at the point of change control, and you have the ability to do CI/CD. But I think most people when they hear GitOps think about this another new concept, which is this concept of pulling. Right? We’ve heard Tracy talk about that.

And so having an agent, an active agent inside of your infrastructure that is constantly ensuring that your desired state is the actual state in the world – that’s what Kubernetes brought to us, that’s what – and then that’s what pull-based GitOps brings to us. And so that’s why for us we’ve been doing CD for years, like you said, Alan, and we’re doing mostly push-based. But as our customers’ needs expanded in GitOps we’ve adopted a Kubernetes operator and now we have our own Kubernetes operator, and you’re seeing this more and more in all the tools, that runs inside of the cluster and pulls changes in.

And that methodology, while – again, credit Tracy – sounds a lot like Puppet, [Laughter] it still is something that was the alure of Kubernetes for a lot of people. Hey, I want to describe my desired state and have something else worry about that desired state always being true regardless of if I push something wrong once. I want this desired state to always be correct. And so I think that’s how we’re going to see a huge change in the tool space. Right?

To Parag’s point, we’re talking about Spinnaker. That’s something that Netflix has been using for a long time, but no one ever thought that they would be deploying like Netflix. Well, now it’s a huge deal and lots of people are talking about it.

Shimel: We are.

O’Leary: And they are, right? And so it’s very interesting.

Shimel: Mitchell, it sounds like an analysis question.

Ashley: Well, I was thinking about that very much, and I appreciate Brendan’s perspective on it. Because any time you have a major paradigm change, you have early adopters and then you have a long tail of how that adopts out. And you’re talking about the Netflix. People are now starting – how long have we been talking about Netflix as the example? As long as we’ve had DevOps and continuous deployment.

And I think we have a bit of the same challenge here of instead of still having layers of our stack and different responsibilities or processes or things that go into creating environments, whether it’s from code or not, when we say it’s all going to be based on a pull and it’s all going to happen in its own environment, if you will, that’s a bit of a big pill to swallow for a lot of organizations, especially in complex applications. I’m not saying it’s not going to happen, but I think it’s going to be slow to adopt. And I’m sorry if I’m going to get a bunch of hate mail.

It’s a great concept, but I do think it’s going to be more difficult to adopt than even containers were for breaking down applications. Not that it’s not a good idea or the right idea, it’s just instead of software architectures, modern software architectures being something the developers now get their mind around with containers and microservices and fabrics, meshes, now you’re talking about different parts of the organizations going into infrastructure and ops. And that’s all getting compacted together and you’ve got multiple parts of the organization getting behind that paradigm shift. So that’s my view of it.

Will we see things in the market around GitOps? Of course we will. But I don’t think we’re going to see this tipping point that will happen rapidly. That’s my assessment.

Shimel: Okay. So it seems like you and Tracy have formed some sort of coalition here, and –

Ragan: [Laughter]

Ashley: I always go to Tracy when I need something _____.

Shimel: Right. Send the hate mail that way.

Ashley: _____ Brendan and Parag, too. [Laughter]

Shimel: Right.

Ragan: I want to say that the CI/CD pipeline can adopt GitOps quite efficiently. Think what Brendan pointed out. When you think about CI/CD you think everything’s a push. Right? And you add a script that you’ve executed that your CI/CD server, your orchestration server, your job scheduler said, “Hey, there’s a step here.” Then that step goes out and pushes an update to production environment.

How that’s going to – because GitOps is a pull methodology it doesn’t have a promotion methodology. And what really we’re going to see is for folks using GitOps is we’re going to see the CI/CD process do the – create the pull request. And there will be an approval. If you want a pull request to go into production, there’s going to have to be probably a manual step to approve that pull request, and then once it gets there the CI/CD pipeline creates it. Now the challenge will be having the CI/CD pipeline automatically update all of those declarative scripts. [Laughter]

Because there will have to be a different one based on the environment. But that is totally doable and it doesn’t change that. But what it does do, it says, hey, CI/CD. You need to have a hermetic process. It needs to be airtight. You need to have a single source of truth.

What that is ultimately will still be called GitOps, even if it’s not Git that is that single source of truth. It’ll be like we reach for a Kleenex, not a tissue. [Laughter]

Doshi: Let me back up what Tracy just said, and maybe take the view of – I think you said 30% of the listeners are looking at this from a business angle. And your question also sounded like what does this mean as our industry, to our industry? So today we’ve got, I don’t know, 170 different products, if you will, and tools around – and Brendan can probably say, no, it’s now 250 or something [Laughter] – around DevOps and all the new different concepts.

Shimel: Closer to 700.

Doshi: Oh, okay. My bad. [Laughter]

I was a little behind. So we have so many things here, and there’s a reason for that too, right? So we can’t just say, hey, let me take a cloud provider’s full CI/CD DevOps vision and hope that we’re going to impose one way of doing things, because this is not all worked out. The moment you bring the developer mindset to other layers of the computer stack – infrastructure, environment, operations – it becomes so complex. And I think at an industry what it’s going to do is it’s going to actually spur a lot of opportunity, a lot more innovation.

I don’t know if that means that 750 will go to 1,050, but there’s so much room for different companies that will do things differently – push, pull, I need an approval before production due to a segregation of duties. No, no, no. I want to approve before I even commit the code or at least run the security static analysis, the dynamic analysis, the container image scanning. Everybody will have different ways of doing things, and I think it’s going to spur on lots of opportunities for a lot of companies.

Shimel: Fair enough. A giant petri dish. Guys, I’m going to need to pull the plug on us here because we’re up against our time limit. But what a great conversation. For our audience, in a couple of weeks – and I don’t have the date in front of me, I apologize – we’re actually going to do an interact roundtable on this subject. Some of our panel members will be back for that.

And we’re going to allow you to come online and ask questions and comment and join the conversation on this. I think it’s a great conversation. So be on the lookout for that and come check us out. But in the meantime, Tracy, as always, you know, you bring so much to this. Thank you so much. Thank you so, so, much.

Ragan: Oh, it’s my pleasure. Absolutely my pleasure.

Shimel: Yes. Brendan, always a pleasure to have you on, my friend.

O’Leary: Yeah.

Shimel: Look forward – also, Brendan does a show with us here on TechStrong TV every month. It’s called The Lab. And he discusses – you know, the 22nd of every month is a new GitLab release and Brendan gives us the lowdown on each month’s release. It comes out once a month. It’s called The Lab, and it’s available here on TechStrong TV. So Brendan, thanks so much for that.

O’Leary: Yeah. Thanks, Alan, for having me. I always learn so much from these panels. So hopefully we all learned something today, but I really enjoy doing them.

Shimel: Always a pleasure. And you add as much as you learn, Brendan. Thank you. Parag, one question for you. You mentioned earlier that you were a former physicist. Is there such a thing as a former physicist? Isn’t it more like I think, therefore I am?

Doshi: Yes.

Shimel: Once a physicist, always a physicist?

Doshi: It certainly is Hotel California. You’re absolutely right. [Laughter]

Shimel: Yep. But thank you so much for joining us. Always great to have you here and bringing some great perspective to everything. I appreciate it.

Doshi: Thank you.

Shimel: Mitchell, what can I say? We wrapped another one, Mitch. Good stuff.

Ashley: Yeah, we did. And I’m just so glad that Parag didn’t bring quantum physics into this, because I’d be in trouble.

Shimel: That could be another show we’ll do.

Doshi: [Inaudible comment]

Shimel: Quantum computing. But, no, anyway, that’s going to wrap up this episode of DevOps Unbound. We hope you’ve enjoyed it. This is every other week we do a fresh DevOps Unbound, so be on the lookout. Every month we do the roundtable with the audience, so be on the lookout for that as well. This is Alan Shimel for MediaOps. You’ve – oh, before we go, many thanks to Tricentis for sponsoring DevOps Unbound. We couldn’t do it without them. So thank you all very much. We’ll see you on another episode.

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