April 28, 2017

They say the journey is its own reward. But when it comes to making the shift to entirely new approaches to building and deploying applications, many organizations prefer to focus on the outcome. With that segment of the market firmly in mind, Wercker has added Virtual Private Pipelines (VPP) option to a continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) platform that it makes available as a software-as-a-service (SaaS) application.

Wayne Gibbins, chief commercial officer for Wercker, says VPP gives IT organizations access to dedicated infrastructure within a SaaS application that eliminates all the headaches associated with attempting to set up a CI/CD environment that is specifically optimized for Docker containers.

As a service that Wercker manages on behalf of customers, VPP provides IT organizations with a single-tenant alternative to building out a CI/CD environment using a microservices architecture. That approach, he says, means every pipeline in the CI/CD environment resides in a programmable Docker container. IT organizations can, for example, make use of an application programming interface (API) for contract testing to spin up multiple services within Docker containers for pre-deployment testing between services. The container orchestration engine that Wercker employs is based on Kubernetes.

Via VPP, an IT organization is essentially outsourcing most of the IT operations associated with deploying and managing Docker applications to Wercker. The degree to which various IT organizations are comfortable with that decision will depend to what degree the subscribe to DevOps versus a “NoOps” approach to IT management. In the latter approach, developers rely on managed services such as VPP to access functions normally managed by an internal operations team on demand.

Obviously, Wercker is betting that as developers adopt containers and microservices, many of them are moving ahead at rates that are faster than internal IT operations teams can keep handle. As an alternative, many of those developers of their own initiative will invoke services such as VPP. In other cases, senior IT leaders will simply decide that a managed service or a SaaS application to manage the CI/CD process is simply the path of least resistance—especially if the application development project in question is relatively small. Once usage of containers such as Docker increases inside their organization, those same IT leaders may opt to set up their own CI/CD environment or move the entire organization over to a cloud service model.

In fact, bifurcated approaches to CI/CD more than likely will become the new normal. Most application development projects these days involve a swath of developers consisting of both full-time employees and third-party contactors distributed around the globe. A CI/CD process that is anchored in the cloud makes it simpler to isolate projects based on who needs to have access based on their relationship with the organization funding the project. Contractors, for example, typically don’t need to have access to core intellectual property in the form of source code that might be reside in a CI/CD environment running on-premises.

Regardless of how CI/CD gets approached, the one thing that is for certain is that the pace at which any application is being developed now requires a means for managing CI/CD that is as flexible as possible.

Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist with over 25 years of experience. He also contributed to IT Business Edge, Channel Insider, Baseline and a variety of other IT titles. Previously, Vizard was the editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise as well as Editor-in-Chief for CRN and InfoWorld.