GitOps brings the power of Git into Ops

By now you’ve probably heard of GitOps and, if so, you may still be wondering what it means. It probably won’t help if I tell you GitOps doesn’t necessarily involve Git (no, really), nor does it require Kubernetes, the orchestration engine with which it’s regularly paired.

Confused much? Well, try this: GitOps is a way to enable a developer-centric experience for managing applications, as Weaveworks, the company that coined the term “GitOps,” might say. Put more bluntly, it’s a way to give developers even more control over their work. Think of it as DevOps on steroids, or DevOps taken to its natural conclusion.

That conclusion? To empower developers to take on a much larger role in the operations of their applications, all while also making the lives of ops professionals significantly better, too.

In the beginning was Git

Linus Torvalds might be best known as the creator of Linux, but Git, the distributed version control system of his invention, is arguably even more important. Torvalds has said that “Git proved I could be more than a one-hit wonder,” but this is an understatement in the extreme. While there were version control systems before Git (e.g., Subversion), Git has revolutionized how developers build software since its introduction in 2005.

Today Git is a “near universal” ingredient of software development, according to studies pulled together by analyst Lawrence Hecht. How “near universal?” Well, Stack Overflow surveys put it at 87 percent in 2018, while JetBrains data has it jumping from 79 percent (2017) to 90 percent (2019) adoption. Because so much code sits in public and (even more in) private Git repositories, we’re in a fantastic position to wrap operations around Git.

To quote Weaveworks CEO Alexis Richardson, “Git is the power option, [and] we would always recommend it if we could, but it is very wrong to say that GitOps requires expertise in Git. Using Git as the UI is not required. Git is the source of truth, not the UI.” Banks, for example, have old repositories sitting in Subversion or Mercurial. Can they do GitOps with these repositories? Yes. In fact, some elements of GitOps began to appear as early as the 2000s.

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