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Continuous Delivery in 2023: Challenges and Opportunities

continuous delivery

What Is Continuous Delivery?

Continuous delivery (CD) is a software development practice that aims to automate releasing software changes to production reliably and efficiently. With CD, software changes can be released to users quickly and frequently, while ensuring that the software remains stable and reliable.

CD is often part of a broader continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipeline, where code changes are continuously built, tested, and deployed. In a continuous delivery workflow, code changes are automatically deployed to a staging environment, where they are tested and reviewed by stakeholders. Once the code changes pass these tests, they are automatically deployed to production.

Continuous Delivery Challenges

DevOps teams maintaining continuous delivery pipelines face growing challenges in 2023 and beyond. Here are some of the most severe challenges.


Security is a challenge for continuous delivery because it requires managing the security risks associated with the rapid and continuous deployment of software updates to production environments. CD pipelines require access to sensitive systems and data, and CD’s automated and continuous nature can introduce security risks if not implemented properly. Here are some reasons why security is a challenge for CD:

  • Vulnerabilities in dependencies: CD pipelines rely on third-party libraries and other dependencies that may contain vulnerabilities. Attackers can exploit these vulnerabilities to gain unauthorized access to systems or data.
  • Configuration drift: CD pipelines rely on consistent environments for building, testing, and deploying software. If these environments become inconsistent due to configuration drift or misconfiguration, it can result in security vulnerabilities or other issues.
  • Supply chain attacks: CD pipelines rely on a complex supply chain of tools and services. Attackers can exploit vulnerabilities in any of these components to gain unauthorized access or compromise the pipeline.

Infrastructure Costs

CD requires a highly automated and scalable infrastructure, which can provision and manage infrastructure resources quickly and efficiently. This infrastructure must be able to support the continuous integration, testing, and deployment of software changes, as well as provide reliable and secure access to the production environment.

Infrastructure costs can be a challenge for small organizations or startups, which may not have the resources or expertise to build and maintain a robust CD infrastructure. Additionally, the costs associated with infrastructure can be difficult to justify to management or stakeholders, particularly if the benefits of CD are not immediately apparent.

To address this challenge, organizations may consider using cloud-based infrastructure services, such as AWS or Microsoft Azure. These services provide a scalable and cost-effective way to build and maintain a CD infrastructure, with the ability to provision and manage infrastructure resources quickly and efficiently.

Additionally, organizations may consider implementing Infrastructure as Code (IaC) practices, which allow infrastructure to be defined and managed using code. IaC can help to reduce costs and increase efficiency by automating the provisioning and management of infrastructure resources and by providing a consistent and repeatable way to build and maintain infrastructure.

Tight Deadlines and Release Schedules

CD is designed to deliver software changes to production more frequently and reliably, which can help organizations respond more quickly to changing market demands and stay competitive. However, to achieve this, CD requires a high degree of automation, collaboration, and testing, which can be time-consuming and resource-intensive.

When deadlines and release schedules are too tight, it can be difficult for teams to keep up with the pace of development and deployment required for CD. Developers may rush through the development process, leading to code quality issues and potential security vulnerabilities. Testing and quality assurance may also be rushed, leading to an increased risk of errors and defects in the software.

In addition, tight deadlines and release schedules can make it difficult for teams to keep up with the changing needs of users and to respond quickly to feedback. This can lead to a discrepancy between the delivered software and users’ needs, resulting in reduced user satisfaction and potentially lost revenue.

To address this challenge, it’s important to establish realistic deadlines and release schedules that take into account the time required for development, testing, and deployment. Teams should also prioritize their work and focus on delivering the most important features and changes first rather than trying to deliver everything at once. Finally, organizations should consider using agile development methodologies that allow for rapid iteration and collaboration, which can help to minimize the impact of tight deadlines and release schedules.

Poor Communication Across Teams

In a CD pipeline, developers frequently commit code changes to a shared repository, which triggers an automated build and testing process. If there are communication issues between teams, it can be difficult to identify and resolve issues that arise during this process. For example, if a developer makes a change that breaks the build but does not communicate this to the testing team, the issue may go unnoticed until much later in the development process, which can result in wasted time and resources.

In addition, poor communication can lead to a lack of trust and collaboration between teams. For example, if the testing team does not have a clear understanding of the development team’s priorities or timelines, they may be reluctant to provide feedback or to test changes thoroughly. This can lead to a breakdown in the CD process, with teams working in silos and not collaborating effectively.

To address this challenge, it’s important to establish clear communication channels between teams and to promote a culture of collaboration and feedback. Regular meetings, such as daily stand-ups or sprint retrospectives, can help to ensure that teams are aligned and working towards common goals. 

In addition, it’s important to establish clear processes and documentation to ensure that teams understand their roles and responsibilities and provide training and resources to ensure that everyone has the necessary skills to work effectively within the CD pipeline.

Continuous Delivery Opportunities and Best Practices

The following best practices can help DevOps teams improve their process and resolve many of the challenges above.

Develop Service Level Objectives (SLOs)

SLOs are a set of measurable and quantitative metrics that define the level of service that a software system should provide. SLOs can include metrics such as uptime, latency, error rates, and throughput. 

SLOs can help set clear expectations for the reliability and performance of their software and can be used to monitor and improve the quality of their CD pipeline. For example, by monitoring the error rate of their CD pipeline, organizations can quickly identify and resolve issues that arise, improving the overall quality and reliability of their software.

Establish Observability and Continuous Monitoring

Observability is the ability to understand the internal state of a system based on its outputs. By establishing observability and continuous monitoring, organizations can gain visibility into the performance and behavior of their CD pipeline and can quickly identify and resolve issues that arise. 

For example, by using monitoring and logging tools such as Prometheus or Grafana, organizations can collect and analyze data about the performance of their CD pipeline and can quickly identify and resolve issues that arise, improving the overall quality and reliability of their software.

Generate Reproducible Builds

Reproducible builds can be recreated, even if the original build environment is unavailable. This is important for CD because it ensures the software is consistent across different environments. 

To generate reproducible builds, organizations can use build tools and dependencies that are versioned and can be easily reproduced in different environments. This can help reduce the risk of errors and inconsistencies in the software and make it easier to deploy and maintain the software in different environments.

Mature Agile Practices

Agile practices can help organizations improve collaboration between teams, reduce waste and rework, and increase the speed and quality of their CD pipeline. For example, by using agile methodologies such as Scrum or Kanban, teams can break down work into smaller, more manageable tasks and can work collaboratively to ensure that the software meets the changing needs of the users.


In conclusion, continuous delivery is a powerful software development practice that can help organizations release software changes more frequently, reliably, and efficiently. However, several challenges are associated with implementing a CD pipeline, including security risks, tight deadlines, release schedules, poor communication across teams, and infrastructure costs. 

To overcome these challenges, organizations should consider best practices such as generating reproducible builds, adopting agile practices, and establishing observability and continuous monitoring. By taking advantage of these practices, organizations can build a robust and reliable CD pipeline that meets the changing needs of their users while maximizing the benefits of CD, such as faster time-to-market, improved quality, and greater efficiency. 

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