5 Ways to Run a Faster CI Pipeline

Apr 11, 2023

5 Ways to Run a Faster CI Pipeline

Continuous Integration (CI) is a crucial component of the software development lifecycle. Development teams use it to automatically build, test, and deploy code changes, ensuring that the codebase quickly integrates new features and bug fixes.

However, a slow and inefficient CI pipeline can cause significant delays in software delivery, affecting overall project timelines and quality. In this article, we will discuss five ways to optimize your CI pipeline and introduce a tool that leverages AI-powered testing to help you achieve that goal.

Risk Based Test Optimization helps make for Faster CI Pipeline
Automation Testing is often the Bottleneck in CI Pipelines

1. Use Bigger Machines

Leveraging more CPU and Memory can speed up your CI pipeline. You can scale up or down as needed by using bigger machines and optimizing resource utilization, aka vertically scaling.

This approach enables you to complete builds faster and ensures the development team can quickly merge their code changes. The right cloud solution can help you handle complex testing scenarios, such as distributed load testing, where you must run hundreds of virtual users to test performance. Though cost may become an issue.

2. More Parallelization

Parallelization, also known as horizontal scaling, is the practice of breaking down tasks into smaller subtasks and processing them simultaneously on multiple machines. Running numerous jobs can reduce the time required to complete your CI pipeline. 

Increasing parallelization helps automate the build process, reducing the workload on individual machines and running more builds simultaneously. This approach can help you identify and resolve issues early in the development cycle, ensuring you release high-quality software on time. However, with spinning up multiple parallel servers, cost may become an issue.

Another problem would be parallel test dependency issues and shared resources. A common outcome like this would be if two instances of an app attempt to access the same code at the same time, causing an impasse. This makes it difficult to identify and isolate issues.

3. Use Artifacts and Cache

Reusing artifacts generated during the build process and caching frequently accessed data can significantly reduce build times. You save time and improve software quality by avoiding repeating work already done.  Three categories of artifacts can be used to optimize the build process include:

  • Job artifacts
  • Workflow artifacts
  • Project artifacts

Depending on your needs, you can use various caching mechanisms, such as a browser, server, and database. You can also utilize the cache between different pipeline stages to reduce data access times and speed up the pipeline.

4. Optimize Tests

Tests are an essential part of the CI pipeline. However, they can also be the source of significant bottleneck. To optimize your pipeline, you need to optimize your tests. This includes reducing the number of tests, eliminating redundant tests, and making your tests more efficient. You can also prioritize your tests so that the most critical tests run first, reducing test time. 

Appsurify is a CI Pipeline Optimization solution that utilizes intelligent testing to reduce the time it takes to build and test software. Its intelligent test selection technology automatically identifies and prioritizes which tests are most likely to fail, and automatically selects and executes just these important tests on a per Build basis – capping at a Percentage or Time-Based Run (example Top 20% of Tests or Top 20 Minutes of Tests). This helps reduce the number of tests run and speeds up the overall testing process resulting in faster build times.

5. Change CI Pipeline

If you’ve tried all the previous steps and still can’t get your pipeline running fast enough, consider changing your CI pipeline. Several CI solutions, such as Buildkite, can help you achieve faster build times and more efficient testing.

When considering a change to your CI pipeline, evaluating your current workflow and identifying improvement areas is essential. Consider your existing infrastructure, team size, and project requirements to determine which solution best fits your needs.

Run a Faster CI Pipeline with Appsurify

A well-tuned CI pipeline is essential for software development teams to deliver high-quality code quickly. By using bigger machines, increasing parallelization, using artifacts and cache, optimizing tests, and changing your CI pipeline when necessary, you can optimize your pipeline and reduce build times. 

At Appsurify, we specialize in helping teams optimize their CI pipelines. Our AI-powered platform uses advanced algorithms to identify flaky tests, prioritize testing efforts, and optimize test execution. If you want to optimize your builds and receive faster test feedback for streamlined workflows, contact us today to integrate our CI smart test selection tool.