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Author's profile photo Olivia Diaz

GitOps vs DevOps: Understanding the Differences

Hello readers, We all know how challenging web and app development can be. Let’s just forget about all the complications of transforming ideas into reality by developing a feature or functionality, and talk about the process of development alone.

There is so much to keep an eye on. Based on teh requirements, you have to opt for a suitable programming language, related framework, and other development tools. But mainly you have to pick the right approach to development.

Because as much as what you use in developing your desired software matters, so does the method you employ to develop it. And there are so many methodologies to pick from. But today, we are going to talk about two software development methodologies in particular; DevOps and GitOps.

The DevOps approach is gaining popularity very rapidly. And in today‚Äôs cut-throat competitive times, which company wouldn’t want their teams to increase productivity and their processes to improve efficiency? Therefore, everyone is trending towards implementing DevOps best practices. However, picking a suitable DevOps model is a challenging task. And then you have one of the most debated topics in the industry; GitOps vs. DevOps.

If you too aren’t sure about which DevOps model to pick for your company or are confused between the GitOps and DevOps model then this article is for you.Here, we are going to shed some light on the basic concept of these models.

Then in an attempt to conclude the debate of GitOps vs. DevOps, we will compare both models against some basic parameters to help you decide which one is suitable for your project and company.

What is GitOps?

The process of managing and operating infrastructure where Git is held as the only source of truth is named GitOps. For continuous delivery and deployment, developers use Git. Any change made in the system, may it be anywhere from infrastructure configurations to app updates, these changes are easily traced and audited from the central location with the help of Git as it uses version control.

Rollbacks are executed by reverting to the previous Git Repository. It is possible because Git is used in operations and deployment. Moreover, Git is helpful to developers in promoting reliability, simplicity, and speed in the management of cloud infrastructure.

Although the concept of GitOps was first coined in 2017 by Weaveworks, it can be considered a relatively new concept. GitOps has gained significant popularity in recent years as more and more companies have started embracing its principles. So, we can be quite hopeful for the future of the GitOps model.

What is DevOps?

When software development teams and operations teams work together to achieve a common goal, such a scenario or environment for development is labeled as the DevOps model. Therefore, the teams no longer have to work in siloed roles. This helps individuals who possess expertise in both fields of software development and operations. Along with collaboration, DevOps can offer a culture of automation and continuous improvement.

If you want to deploy your software quickly to the market and that too reliably then devOps is your way to go. This model integrates necessary processes and enhances communication between the teams to make that possible. Any industry, whether it is technical or nontechnical, looking to streamline its development process can implement DevOps best practices. In modern software development and operations management, DevOps has become a prerequisite.

GitOps vs DevOps: A comparison

Approach

The DevOps model consists of an approach of collaboration between development and operations teams. The primary aim here is to improve the communication between these two siloed groups which leads to increased work efficiency.

The major benefit of implementing this approach is that the feedback loop between both of these teams is shortened. This helps with rapid software development. DevOps is also helpful in reducing errors as it makes it easier for the teams to identify and fix the issues faster.

On the other hand, GitOps takes an approach where Git Repository is held as a single source of truth for the entire application code and infrastructure. This means that the team can trace back all the changes made in their codebase to a single source. This can come in handy in any case where rollbacking the changes becomes necessary. Moreover, it also becomes easier for teams to automate the deployment process which leads to a shortened development time.

Tools

In terms of tools the main difference between GitOps and DevOps is the primary tool used in both models. GitOps uses a rather popular version control system called Git whereas the DevOps model uses Jenkins for CI/CD.

Both of these tools can manage a few tweaks in their code but Git is more flexible in branching and merging code as well as using a large array of third-party integrations. However, Git was designed for version control whereas Jenkins was designed to automate software development operations.

But GitOps and DevOps themselves are just approaches to development and not any tool. So they are not limited to having a single tool in their armory. Because the unique requirements of projects demand unique combinations of tools to fulfill those needs.

Apart from their primary tools, these development models are also seen using additional tools. While GitOps is focused on Git you can see tools like Kubernetes used in various projects for the deployment of changes in the code. On the other hand, you may see the DevOps approach using a combination of tools such as Chef and Ansible.

You will observe that GitOps is mostly using version control tools whereas DevOps will mostly use automation tools. However, the requirements of a project may influence the teams to make an exception or come up with a new combination of tools.

Focus

The major difference between GitOps and DevOps lies in what is their area of focus. While GitOps takes a declarative approach to focus on treating infrastructure as code, DevOps is largely focused on automating the software development process from end to end.

The GitOps focus helps enhance the speed and flexibility while changes are made in the infrastructure. Meanwhile, the DevOps focus will allow the automation of various tasks in the SDLC like monitoring, code deployment, code testing, and more.

Correctness

Correctness is another key parameter in this comparison.

Under a DevOps model, it is the development team that oversees whether the deployments are correct or not while the operations team manages the infrastructure and deploys the code.

On the other hand, every single deployment under the GitOps model is based on declarative configuration files that are stored in Git Repositories. This helps in allowing an automated verification of correctness before deployment. This helps in bringing down the number of errors and if there is any problem with the deployment then rollbacking is also easier. However, you would need an advanced level of expertise for the management of Git repositories.

Main Goal

The main goal of both DevOps and GitOps models is the same; to enhance efficiency and collaboration. The difference lies in the path these models take to achieve their goals.

On one hand, GitOps uses git repositories as a source for management and control, it also uses code reviews and pull requests to ensure the quality. GitOps heavily relies on the infrastructure as a code which enables easy deployment. On the other hand, DevOps emphasizes clear communication between teams as well as continuous integration and testing.

While you certainly can pick any model if your inherent goal is to improve the efficiency and communication of your teams, you also need to consider whether the project requirements align with the approach of the model you opted for.

Accuracy

When people talk about DevOps, the roles and contributions of GitOps are often overlooked. They forget that GitOps is just a branch of DevOps where version control tools are used to manage app code and infrastructure. When all changes are tracked and recorded, it becomes easy to roll back to the previous version if something goes or after those changes are implemented. This provides us with the benefit of accuracy.

The codes and configurations are directly pushed to a production system from a version control system because the entire system is automated. Thus, automation not only simplifies the work but also increases the speed and accuracy of the work along with reducing the risks of errors.

Compared to that, a traditional DevOps method does not have such a robust change tracking system for app infrastructure.

Flexibility

It must be clear by now that GitOps completely relies on a version control system named Git for its tracking capabilities and more advantages. The only drawback of that, relying on a single source restricts the workflow within the version control system itself. In comparison to that, DevOps is more flexible in terms of its processes and tools as it is not limited to any single source or system.

What to choose, GitOps or DevOps?

With the advent of GitOps, the debate of GitOps vs. DevOps has become one of the most debated topics in the industry. Both methodologies aim at improving efficiency and offer to streamline the software development process. While GitOps makes the version control system the center of the development process, DevOps focuses on the integration of systems, the collaboration of teams, and automation of the software development tasks.

Now the decision of picking one of these methods depends highly on the project requirements and business goals of your company.

If your company believes in experimenting with branching and merging branches then GitOps will be more effective in handling all your processes. If your company prioritizes security over everything, then pick GitOps as well because using GitOps allows you to track every single change and you will have total control over the system updates.

But if your company houses multiple teams that have to work with a large code base then devOps is more suitable for you. There is no one-size fits all kind of solution, your requirements determine which would be an ideal approach to software development.

I hope that this article has been up to your expectations. If this article has quenched your thirst for knowledge or helped solve your dilemma then you should definitely check out our similar posts. You can also follow our blog and become a valuable member of our community. We will regularly send you all the technological news and updates directly to your mail.

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