GitOps vs CI/CD: Which One Should You Choose?

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If you’re in the DevOps world, you’ve probably heard the terms GitOps and CI/CD. But what are they, and which one should you choose for your project? In this blog post, we’ll explore the differences between GitOps and CI/CD and help you decide which one is the best fit for your needs.


CI/CD is a set of practices that combines continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery (CD) to automate the building, testing, and deployment of software changes. CI/CD pipelines are typically triggered by a code commit, and they automate the entire software delivery process, from code changes to testing to deployment. This approach helps teams deliver software faster and more reliably.




GitOps is an approach to continuous delivery that uses Git as the single source of truth for declarative infrastructure and application code. In GitOps, any change to the infrastructure or application code is made through a Git commit, which triggers an automated pipeline to apply those changes to the production environment. This approach provides a reliable and auditable way to manage infrastructure and application changes. In essence, GitOps is a specific implementation of CI/CD that uses Git as the central repository for configuration and emphasizes the use of a declarative approach to infrastructure management.

A good example is Argo CD. Is an open-source continuous delivery tool that helps automate the deployment of applications to Kubernetes clusters. It implements GitOps by using a Git repository as the source of truth for defining the desired state of the environment and continuously reconciling the current state with the Git repository. Argo CD enforces GitOps principles by disallowing manual changes to the Kubernetes objects it manages. Any changes made to the objects outside of the Git repository are considered “drift” from the desired state, and Argo CD will automatically detect and reconcile the drift by reverting the changes to match the desired state defined in Git. This ensures that the state of the environment is always consistent with the version-controlled configuration, preventing any manual changes from being made and potentially causing configuration inconsistencies.



Push or Pull?

In a push-based approach, changes are pushed to the next stage in the delivery pipeline, triggering the process to start automatically. For example, a developer might push a new commit to a code repository, which triggers a build and test process that deploys the changes to a staging environment.

In a pull-based approach, changes are pulled from a central source of truth, such as a Git repository. Changes are propagated in the pipeline by pulling them from the central repository and applying them automatically. For example, with GitOps, changes to infrastructure and application configuration are made by updating the Git repository and creating a pull request, which triggers an automated process that applies the changes to the environment.

So, in the context of GitOps, the pull-based approach is used to ensure that the configuration of the environment matches the configuration stored in Git, and any changes are propagated automatically by pulling them from Git. This means that the desired state of the environment is always defined in Git and changes are automatically applied based on the Git repository’s content.

In the context of CI/CD, push-based approaches are often used to trigger the automated build, test, and deployment process based on code changes pushed to the repository. This approach is used to ensure that changes are delivered to the end-users in a fast, reliable, and consistent manner.

Which One to Choose?

So, which one should you choose for your project? The answer depends on your specific needs and constraints. If you need a reliable and auditable way to manage infrastructure and application changes, GitOps might be the way to go. If you need to deliver software changes quickly and reliably, CI/CD might be the better choice.

That being said, GitOps and CI/CD are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they can be used together to create a powerful DevOps pipeline. For example, you can use GitOps to manage your infrastructure changes and CI/CD to manage your application changes.

CI/CD is primarily focused on the continuous integration and delivery of software, automating the process of building, testing, and deploying code changes. This approach is best suited for organizations that prioritize speed and efficiency in software delivery and want to enable rapid iteration and experimentation.

GitOps, on the other hand, is focused on infrastructure management and ensuring consistency and security in the deployment process. GitOps provides a way to manage infrastructure as code, which can make it easier to ensure that all changes are tracked and auditable, and can simplify rollbacks in case of issues.