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CI/CD at scale - AWS Online Summit Series

Published on May 22, 2020 by jhole89 on cloud, aws, conference

Welcome, this is part of my ongoing series on AWS’s recent Online Summit 2020, where I write about my thoughts and learnings from the range of topics presented. As always, the content here describes my own thoughts and understandings from the material presented, not the views of the presenters, who I do not speak for.

What is Best Practice?

While I have my own opinion of best practice, I think it’s good to constantly check your standards against peers and industry leaders to ensure you haven’t fallen behind.

Therefore I decided to dial into AWS Solution Architect Loh Yiang Meng’s talk: CI/CD at scale: Best practices with AWS DevOps services at the AWS Summit Online in May 2020

Overall I felt that this talk was best pitched for those unfamiliar with the AWS CICD tools, as he gave a good overview of the AWS Developer tools (Code Commit/Build/Deploy/Pipeline), and how these integrate with each other. For more info on these check out the docs on AWS CodePipeline.

CodePipeline supports integration with Bitbucket

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Source: CI/CD at scale: Best practices with AWS DevOps services - Loh Yiang Meng, AWS Solution Architect

One thing that he made a point of highlighting is that CodePipeline now supports integration with Bitbucket Cloud (I believe this went into Beta last December), which leaves GitLab as the only major git provider not supported.

While I’ve used GitLab extensively in enterprise environments (and much prefer the experience over Bitbucket or CodeCommit), between this and all the great stuff GitHub is doing recently with Codespaces and Actions, I really can’t see any reason to not be using GitHub in 2020.

Electrify’s Journey with AWS CICD

Lastly, Loh introduced Martin Lim, CEO, and Arshad Zackeriya, Senior DevOps Engineer, from Electrify Asia to talk about their CICD journey with AWS.

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Source: CI/CD at scale: Best practices with AWS DevOps services - Loh Yiang Meng, AWS Solution Architect

Here they gave us an overview of their CICD pipeline, which followed Loh’s use of CodeCommit, CodeBuild, ECR, and CodePipeline for best practice CI. However they used a Lambda to deploy to their EKS cluster (deployment to EKS is something that CodeDeploy has yet to support), and then went further and built an Alexa skill to trigger deployments.

While their design of sourcing (CodeCommit), building (CodeBuild), publishing (ECR), and orchestration (CodePipeline), followed best practice CI, and the Alexa skill definitely had the wow factor, this still involved some manual intervention to trigger deployments. Sure the Alexa skill made deployments easier, but is it really any different from someone clicking “run” on a jenkins job?

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I’m also not sure I’d trust Alexa with doing my production deployments - what happens if a colleague said the wrong release number?

“DevOps is not a product, but a culture”

That said Loh Yiang Meng was very engaging as a presenter and some of his comments on best practice definitely aligned with my own. In particular he highlighted that we should automate everything because humans make mistakes; that

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Source: CI/CD at scale: Best practices with AWS DevOps services - Loh Yiang Meng, AWS Solution Architect

For more on my AWS Summit series, check out the summaries on the talks I attended below;

A new type of AWS Summit

Kubernetes GitOps on AWS - Jason Umiker, AWS Solution Architect

Enterprise cloud migration meets application containerization - Gaurav Arora, AWS Senior Partner Solutions Architect

What was it like to attend a virtual conference?

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