Difference between Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery, and Continuous Deployment

Here you will learn about the what is difference between Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery, and Continuous Deployment. At last, we will see some of the popular CI-CD tools to start with.

What is Continuous Integration?

Continuous Integration (CI) is like a software development life cycle. Continuous Integration is a practice that follows in development that requires developers to commit changes to source code in a shared repository many times a day or more frequently. Then the code will be built but not tested (i.e UAT). The Build step includes Compiling, Code Review, Unit Testing, Integration Testing, and even packaging. This process of CI will be done automatically.

Continuous Integration

The software or application won’t be deployed to test server (UAT server) automatically.

Note: UAT server is a replica of a production server.

What is Continuous Delivery?

Continuous Delivery (CD) is a process, where code changes are automatically built, tested, and prepared for a release to production.


It is a process, where you build software or application in such a way that, they can be released to production at any time.

In this process, it takes Continuous Integration to the next step. Here, the software or application will be deployed to the test server (UAT server) automatically. Actually, we are continuously building an application that is in a state to be released at any point in time on a production server.

Continuous Delivery

This process has the manual step for deploying the application to the production server. Lots of the company prefer Continuous Delivery over Continuous Deployment because there are certain tests and checks they want to perform before they release the application in the market.

What is Continuous Deployment?

Continuous Deployment (CD) is basically automating the entire process of release a software/application to a production server and making it live in the market. It is taking the Continuous Delivery to the next step by making the release to production step automatically.

Continuous Deployment

There are lots of companies that following Continuous Deployment but it’s not the best practice. And, as already mentioned above that most of the companies prefer Continuous Delivery over Continuous Deployment.

Some Popular CI-CD tools.

There are several CI-CD tools present in the market and all do their work very well. Below are some widely used tools with amazing features and community support. You can start your CI-CD learning journey by choosing one of these tools mentioned below:

1. Jenkins: It is an open-source CI tool/server which can also work for CD as well with help of plugins. It is written in Java that makes it reliable and platform-independent. It has over 1000 plugins that make it so widely used. You can learn more about Jenkins here.

2. Azure DevOps: Azure DevOps is not just only a CI-CD tool, instead it is a complete software development life cycle management tool. It is a Microsoft product that works with every popular cloud provider. Azure DevOps is a very powerful tool that is managed by Microsoft. You can learn more about Azure DevOps here.

3. Circle CI: It is also one of the best tools for CI-CD work. It is also compatible with various other tools such as GitHub, Bitbucket, Gitlab, etc. It uses containers and VMs to build the code. Its popularity is also increasing day by day.

4. GitLab CI-CD: GitLab is a DevOps lifecycle tool that has the amazing feature of the CI-CD pipeline. We can create a CI-CD pipeline by writing in YAML file in the GitLab repository and then it will run the pipeline based on the steps mentioned in the YAML file. It uses containers to build the code.

And the list goes on as there lots of CI-CD tools present in the market. Using any tools mentioned above, you can implement CI-CD in your software life cycle.

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