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Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery | Complete Guide

Gursimran Singh | 10 February 2023

Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery | Complete Guide

Introduction to Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery

The debate about Continuous Integration vs Continuous Deployment are part of DevOps process and have recently been the town's talk, and there are quite mixed thoughts on which one is better. Want to know what enabled such debate? Go ahead to know what they are and what initiated the debate.

CI/CD (Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery) incorporate values, a set of operating principles, and a collection of practices that enable application development teams to deliver changes more reliably and regularly; this is also known as CI/CD pipeline. But what do the individual terms mean?

A process in which, Modern software engineering Culture and Practices to develop software where the development and operation teams work hand in hand as one unit. Click to explore about, What is DevOps and it's Processes?

What is Continuous Integration (CI)?

Continuous Integration (CI) is a process where developers combine their changes back to the main branch. It is done regularly, which leads to multiple integrations per day. After that, automated builds and tests are run. This helps in the detection of integration errors as quickly as possible.

CI may be a development observes wherever developers integrate code into a shared repository often, ideally many times every day. An automatic build and automatic tests will then verify every Integration. It aims to provide quick feedback so that if a defect occurs in the codebase, it can be detected easily and corrected as soon as possible. Suppose unit tests fail or a bug emerges. If developers need to revert the codebase to a bug-free state without debugging, only a small number of changes are lost as Integration happens frequently.

What is Continuous Delivery (CD)?

Continuous delivery is a strategy in which the development teams ensure the software is reliable to release at any time. On each commit, the software passes through the automated testing process. If it successfully passes the testing, and it is ready for release into production.

It releases or deploys software automatically into the production environment. During this model, nobody manually checks the code and pushes it into your app. CD doesn't mean you must deploy to production or the client every time but to the QA. The code under implementation must be free from bugs and errors before delivering to customers. Code is automatically tested for issues, and if none are found, then the code is deployed. Its goal is to write code and give it to the user as soon as possible.

CI/CD mechanisms helps to test server configuration, server image building, environment provisioning and the mixture of environments. Source: Infrastructure as Code in CI/CD Pipeline

Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment: Who Benefits More?

The debate continues to know which approach benefits more to the company and the customers. Get to know the  Continuous Integration vs Continuous Deployment benefits in  details ahead.

What are the Benefits of CI?

Know some of the benefits of incorporating  Continuous Integration in your organization below:

  • While creating repeatable processes helps inefficient software delivery and continuous feedback.
  • The chances of broken code being shipped to production are very less.
  • It can automatically deploy code to staging or even production if all the tests within a specific branch are green, providing flexibility.
  • When the tests pass in a robust test suite, the confidence you aren't shipping a bug goes way up.
  • It reduces the application integration problems, and it helps to deliver software quickly.
  • There are no more lengthy and tense integrations, giving developers the opportunity and freedom to innovate and try new techniques to enhance the system.
  • Enhanced productivity, visibility, and quality assurance
  • It helps us to find bugs easily and fix them early.
Empower your enterprise with CI/CD pipeline to minimize issues at deployment and faster production rate. Source: Infrastructure as Code Platform for Cloud-Native

What are the Benefits of CD?

Get updated with the recent benefits of employing Continuous Deployment in your business below:

  • Users have updates, improvements, and new features early and frequently.  
  • Smaller code changes are simple and have few problems.
  • Fault isolation is more straightforward and quicker.
  • Testability improves due to smaller, specific changes. These more minor changes allow having more accurate tests.
  • Lower Defects
  • The product improves with the introduction of fast features and fast turn-around on feature changes.
  • With the involvement and feedback of end-user, it helps to usability improvements.
  • We can add new features according to the new requirements.

Continuous Integration vs. Continuous Deployment: The Clash

The battle has begun. Let us know what each term has in its bank to clash. Continuous Integration vs Continuous Deployment There is a need to write tests for each new feature or bug fix. Testing The testing procedure needs to be at its best. The quality of your test tells about the quality of releases. There is a need for a server to run the tests automatically for new commits. Processing The documentation process needs to be up-to-date with the deployment phase. Developers need to merge the changes frequently. Pipeline Feature flags become an essential part of the process, ensuring you can coordinate with other departments. Reduced testing cost Productivity Easy to fix bulk problems Spending less time on testing and can focus on improvements in quality. Quality Customers see continuous improvements, thereby increasing quality.

Continuous Integration Continuous Deployment
Completely Automated Integration, built and tested processes with feedback Fully Automated deployment to production
Occurs immediately after the developer checks-in Deliveries happen when the team feels the code is ready to ship
Unit Test  Unit test and business logic test
Requires a CI server to monitor the repository Requires CI foundation
Automated test for every new feature or bug fix Test suit must cover enough of the code base
At least once a day, changes are merged The team has the option of using a feature flag

What is CI/CD Pipeline?

It is the short form for Continuous Integration, and CD is the short form for it. CI/CD Pipeline is a crucial part of the modern DevOps environment. The pipeline is a deployable path that the software follows to its production with CI and Continuous Delivery practices. It is a development lifecycle for software and includes the CI/CD pipeline, which has various stages or phases through which the software passes. What is CI/CD Pipeline?

Version Control Phase

In this phase of the CI/CD pipeline, the developers' code have version control software or systems such as git, apache subversion, and more. It controls the commit history of the software code so that it may change if needed. 

Build Phase

This phase is the first phase of this pipeline system. Developers build their code, and then they pass their code through the version control system or software. After this, the code returns to the build phase and compilation. 

Unit Testing and Staging

When software reaches this stage, various tests are there on the software. One of the main tests is the Unit test, which test the units of software. After successful testing, the staging phase begins. As software pass the tests to reach here, it is ready to deploy into the staging process.  Here, the software code is deploy to the staging environment/server. View the code and finalize here before the final test conduct on the software. 

Auto Testing Phase

After passing to the staging environment, another set of auto testing is for the software. If the software completes these tests and it is passes to the next phase/stage, the deployment phase. 

Deployment Phase

As the auto testing procedure is over, then it is passes to production. However, if any error occurs during the testing phase or the deployment phase, the software is passes to the development team's version control procedure and check the errors. If errors are there, then need to fix them. Other stages can repeate if necessary.
CI/CD mechanisms helps to test server configuration, server image building, environment provisioning and the mixture of environments. Source: Infrastructure as Code in CI/CD Pipeline

What are the best CI/CD Tools?

Automate the CI/CD process to get the best results. Various Continuous Integration and its tools help us automate the process precisely and with the least effort. These tools are mostly open-source and help with collaborative software development. Some of these tools are:

What are the best Continuous Deployment Tools?

The common DevOps tools used for CD are below.

  • Jenkins
  • Gradle
  • Circle CI
  • Bamboo Server
  • Travis CI


It is open-source tool, which helps developers to build, test, and deploy their software. Being written in Java and supporting many languages facilitates real-time testing and reporting on isolated changes during a larger codebase. It is quite easy to use as it easily finds defects and solves them. The setup is also quite easy.


It is a build automation tool for multi-language software development. Big industries like Adobe usually adopt this CI/CD strategy.

Circle CI

Software teams use this tool to build, test, and deploy applications easily and on multiple platforms. It is a flexible tool that runs in an environment like a cross-platform mobile app, Python API server, or Docker cluster. Having the caliber to integrate easily with cloud platforms like Heroku, AWS, and Google Cloud, being a cloud-based tool for continuous Integration and continuous deployment, supports the languages built-in Linux or iOS build environments.

Bamboo Server

It is the CI/CD offering from the people at Atlassian, Jira, and Confluence's makers. Being compatible with Docker, AWS, and S3 using a developer's favorite coding language is a widely used framework for software teams worldwide. It is a customs agent assignment for fast critical bug fixes and a detailed pre-deploy code history outline for progress tracking.

Travis CI

It is a commercial CI/CD tool with which you can Test and Deploy with confidence. Syncing with GitHub and Bitbucket projects easily allows you to test your code quickly and allows cluster tests and runs them in parallel. It quickly tests the code to supervise all changes and tell us about the change was successful. Being free for open source projects supports many languages like Android, C, C#, C++, Java, JavaScript (with Node.js), Perl, PHP, Python, R, Ruby, etc.

Drupal is a platform for web content management across global enterprises and governments. It is flexible and highly scalable. Source: AWS CI and CD for Drupal Applications

What are the best tools for Continuous Integration?

When discussing the CI tools, tools like  Jenkins , Circle, Bamboo, Travis are the same as in CD. A few more to discuss are below:

  • Buddy
  • TeamCity
  • GitLab CI
  • Buildbot
  • AppVeyor
  • Cruise Control

Learn about DevOps Automation Tools For 2022 And Beyond


Having a simple interface is easy to learn and an effective way to build better apps quickly. It is fast to set up and fast to run. Being easy to work with because of the Wizard-like type of configuration; it supports many languages, frameworks, and task managers.


Written in Java language, it is a Commercial CI tool that supports cloud integration with the Integration of many cloud technologies. Parallel builds can be run simultaneously on different environments. We can mark the build for easy access. According to the need, the developers can extend the server.

GitLab CI

This service is a part of GitLab, involved in building and testing the software.


Developed in Python, this tool supports twisted framework, complex builds across the application development lifecycle, distributes, and parallel execution of processes across different platforms. The primary function is to act as a bridge for automated tests and builds. It is an Open-source framework and Real-time build visualization and estimates completion time.


AppVeyor is the best continuous integration tool for testing and deploying applications. Working with Windows only, it sets up easily with a window. It supports GitHub, GitHub Enterprise, Bitbucket, GitLab, or custom repos. Providing an isolated and clean build environment for every build configures builds in versioned YAML or UI.

Cruise Control

It is an Open-source framework which supports many languages and framework including .Net. It provides many plugins and allows developers to create a custom continuous build process. For build cycles, there are custom build loops. For build status visualization, there is a GUI interface.

Processes to build, test, configure and ready to deploy from a build to the production environment at any time. Click to explore about, Continuous Delivery Best Practices

What is the CI/CD Process? 

It is a process involving both. The process starts with it, and continuous delivery picks up where it ends. It involves a development approach named DevOps.

What are the benefits of CI/CD?

What all are the benefits of incorporating CI/CD in your business framework? Know the details below:
  • Easy to Debug and Change: It is easier to debug and change the codes when small pieces of code are continuously integrating. We can test these pieces while continuously integrating them with the code repository.
  • Release and Delivery Speed Increases: With CI/CD, the speed of release and delivery is increased along with the development. Releases become more frequent and reliable.
  • Increased Code Quality: The code's quality increases as the code can be tested every time we integrate it with the code repository. The development becomes secure and more reliable. Also, CI/CD pipeline automates the integration and testing work, and more time use to increasing the code quality.
  • Reduces the Cost: It automates the development and testing process, reducing the effort of testing and integration. Reduce the errors with automation, and it saves the time and cost of the developers. This save time and cost to increase the code quality.
  • Increased Flexibility: With CI/CD, the errors are found quickly, and the product can be released more frequently. The flexibility to add new features increases. With automation, one can adopt new changes quickly and reliably.

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What are the challenges of Continuous Integration and Delivery?

Listed below are some common pitfalls one may experience while working with CI/CD:

May Automate wrong Processes

To shift from traditional models to DevOps, the existing organizations need to go through a transition process, which can be a long and difficult one. This process can take months and even more if you don’t follow the right transition steps. The steps to adopt CI/CD-
    • The repetition frequency of the process.
    • The dependencies involved in the process & delay produced by them.
    • Length of the process.
    • The urgency in process automation.
    • If the process is prone to errors if not automated.
These points can help in choosing processes to automate based on the priority. These can also help with the CI/CD testing process; we get confuse about whether to automate functional testing or UI testing.
Empower your enterprise with CI/CD pipeline to minimize issues at deployment and faster production rate. Source: Infrastructure as Code Platform for Cloud-Native

Confusion between Continuous Deployment and Delivery

Many organizations fail to distinguish between both. They are two very different concepts. In the case of continuous deployment, the code repository changes passes through the pipeline, and if it is successful, deploy changes immediately to production. In Continuous Deployment, deployment to the production environment is successful without manual approval.

Inadequate Coordination between CI and CD

Continuous Delivery is the next step for Continuous integration. They are two different items. But the implementation of CI/CD takes the collaboration of these two. Not possible to automate collaboration and communication.

Meaningful Dashboards and Metrics may be absent

In many cases, the scrum team may create a dashboard without proper progressive assessment. The team falls prey to the logical misconception that the given metrics must be important. The team may not know what to track and may follow the wrong metrics. Different members of a team may have different preferences. Some also prefer to use traffic indicators for the work. Some may not like the work that others have done. Creating meaningful and useful CI/CD dashboards may be tricky and extremely difficult, as some may not be satisfied with the work. Listening to everyone becomes difficult.

Requires New Skillset

The process is complicate for some developers and testers working on traditional in-house software development techniques. It has two solutions: either re-training the employees for the automation process or hiring new people who know the processor training. Both of the solutions are a cost to the organization.

Maintenance is not Easy

After the transition, maintenance is necessary to ensure that the pipeline is properly working and there are no automation processes. The bigger the organization, the difficult it is to maintain the pipelines for different services.

A platform that reduces the space between Dev that is Development Team and Ops that is Operation Team to reduce the systems development life cycle. Click to explore about, Continuous Delivery Pipeline on GCP

What are the best practices of Continuous Integration and Delivery?

There are some practices in the CI/CD process, which greatly enhance the performance of the process, and adhering to them can help avoid some common problems : 

CI/CD only Deploy Production.

In the case of CI/CD, the failures are immediately visible, and the production is stopped until the cause of the failure is found and is corrected. It is an important mechanism and keeps further environments safe from the distrustful code. It is a  process that is made solely for software development, integration, and delivery work, so it has advantages over other procedures, i.e., it is automated and hence faster.

The fastest tests should be the earliest to run.

Some tests are comparatively faster than others. We should run these tests early. Running the fastest tests first helps in finding the errors faster. It is essential to find errors in software development as soon as possible to prevent further problems. 

Running the tests locally before committing to the CI/CD pipeline.

The developers should run the tests locally before committing or sharing them at the CI/CD pipeline or shared repository. This step is beneficial as it helps troubleshoot the software problems before sharing with others and is advantageous for the developer. Continuous Integratio

Keep the CI/CD pipelines fast

CI/CD pipelines are the core part of the CI/CD process; they are responsible for faster integration and faster delivery. We should find and apply methods to improve the speed and optimize the pipeline environment.

Continuous Delivery Services
Continuous Delivery Pipeline Automation to help Enterprises with efficient continuous delivery and speed up development at scale. Check out Our, Continuous Delivery Services


CI/CD is among the best practices for the DevOps teams to implement using DevOps Assembly Line. Additionally, it's a unique methodology for the agile enterprise that facilitates the development team to achieve the business requirements, best code quality, and security because deployment steps are automated.