What is GitOps?

GitOps is an innovative approach to infrastructure management that provides a streamlined and automated workflow, with the Git repository acting as the central source of truth. By adopting GitOps, organisations can achieve greater efficiency, traceability, and reliability in their infrastructure operations.

One of the key requirements for implementing GitOps is to embrace declarative practices. This involves defining your infrastructure resources using a Domain Specific Language (DSL) and ensuring that these definitions are stored in a version-controlled Git repository. By maintaining infrastructure configurations as code, teams can easily track changes, collaborate effectively, and roll back to previous versions if needed.

Another important aspect of GitOps is the shift away from imperative approaches to infrastructure management. Configuration Drift is a common pitfall that occurs when the state of infrastructure diverges from the desired state defined in the Git repository. To mitigate this, it is crucial to avoid making ad hoc changes through user interfaces, command-line interfaces, or APIs. Instead, all modifications should be performed through a Git-based workflow, where changes are proposed, reviewed, and merged via pull requests. This ensures that the infrastructure state is always consistent with the Git repository, reducing the risk of configuration drift.

While GitOps is often associated with Cloud-Native and Kubernetes environments, its principles can be applied to a wide range of technology stacks. Whether you are managing on-premises infrastructure, virtual machines, or traditional monolithic applications, GitOps can provide significant benefits. By centralising configuration management, version control, and deployment automation, GitOps enables organisations to achieve greater stability, scalability, and repeatability in their infrastructure operations.

GitOps follows a set of practices and relies on a few core pillars:

Declarative Infrastructure as Code (IaC)

GitOps treats infrastructure as code, meaning that all aspects of the system, including the application code, configuration, and infrastructure definitions, are stored as code in a version-controlled repository. This allows for consistent, auditable, and reproducible deployments.

Version Control and Git

Git is used as the single source of truth for all changes to the system. Any modifications to the code, configurations, or infrastructure are managed through Git repositories, enabling versioning, history, and collaboration.

The GitOps approach promotes using pull requests, code reviews, and other Git workflows to ensure proper quality assurance and change management processes.

Continuous Deployment and Automation

GitOps embraces continuous deployment by automatically synchronising the desired state of the system stored in Git with the actual state of the running infrastructure and applications.

Changes made to the Git repository trigger an automated deployment pipeline, which uses Git's change detection capabilities to apply the desired changes to the system.

Observability and Monitoring

GitOps emphasises observability by collecting and analysing system metrics, logs, and events to gain insights into the health, performance, and behavior of the system.

Monitoring tools are used to detect anomalies, track changes, and trigger alerts when the actual system state deviates from the desired state defined in Git.

Security and Compliance

GitOps incorporates security and compliance practices by centralising access control, implementing secure code and configuration review processes, and maintaining an auditable trail of changes through Git's version history.

It enables the use of security scanning and testing tools as part of the deployment pipeline to ensure the integrity and security of the deployed system.

By adopting GitOps, organisations can achieve greater visibility, traceability, and control over their software delivery and operations. It promotes collaboration, reduces human error, and enables teams to iterate quickly and reliably.

In summary, GitOps offers a powerful methodology for managing infrastructure that leverages the capabilities of Git and declarative practices. By adopting GitOps and adhering to its core principles, organisations can unlock the potential for more efficient, reliable, and scalable infrastructure operations across various technology stacks.

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