GitOps Demystified: Elevating Data Engineering with Ease

08 Jul 2023


In this blog post I'd like to introduce you to the concept of GitOps! πŸš€

If you're a data engineer curious about this buzzword, you've come to the right place. We'll discover what GitOps is all about, if it is somehow linked to DevOps, and why it can be a game-changer for data engineering teams.

What is GitOps?

GitOps is like a powerful way of managing infrastructure and application deployments. At its core, GitOps combines the power of Git, the widely popular version control system, with the principles of infrastructure as code. This means that instead of making manual changes to your infrastructure, you describe and manage it through code stored in a Git repository. Exciting, right?

You might be wondering:

Is GitOps related to DevOps?

Well, DevOps is a cultural and operational philosophy that brings together development and operations teams to collaborate seamlessly throughout the software development lifecycle. It emphasizes continuous integration, continuous delivery, and collaboration. On the other hand, GitOps is an operational framework that specifically focuses on using Git as the source of truth for managing infrastructure and application deployments.

In other words, while DevOps is a broader philosophy, GitOps is a specific approach within the DevOps realm that emphasizes using Git as the central control plane for managing deployments. With GitOps, you can ensure that your infrastructure and application configurations are versioned, auditable, and easily reproducible, all through the power of Git.

At this point you might be a little confused, thinking:

Isn't versioning my Terraform/Ansible code on Git already applying GitOps?

This is a great question that highlights an important distinction between Version Control and actual GitOps.

While versioning your infrastructure code with tools like Terraform or Ansible is indeed a step in the right direction, GitOps takes it a step further by introducing a declarative and continuous approach to infrastructure management:

1- GitOps emphasizes the declarative nature of managing infrastructure:

In GitOps, you simply define the desired state of your infrastructure and application deployments in code stored in a Git repository. This declarative approach ensures that your infrastructure is always aligned with the defined state, regardless of the underlying tools used for provisioning.

2- GitOps embraces the principles of continuous integration and continuous delivery:

It leverages Git's capabilities to automate the deployment of infrastructure and application changes. With GitOps, every change committed to the Git repository triggers an automated workflow to deploy those changes, ensuring a consistent and reproducible deployment process.

3- GitOps goes beyond version control by treating Git as the single source of truth for your infrastructure and application deployments:

It promotes collaboration, visibility, and accountability among team members. Everyone can access, review, and contribute to the codebase, enabling efficient collaboration and reducing manual errors.

Let me stress this:

The declarative nature of GitOps allows you to only worry about defining the desired state of your infrastructure, not about how to reach it. There will be a service that either will be noticed by using git hooks, or that will keep polling the Git repository for new changes, and when such changes are found, an automatic process to reflect those changes in your infrastructure will start applying them.

This approach is more secure and less prone to human error:

  • More secure because the GitOps service reacting to changes in your repository will only need read-only permissions to read it.
  • Less prone to human error because you don't need to implement any custom imperative CI/CD pipelines, the GitOps service will take care of that.

The below image clearly shows how a GitOps flow would work:

GitOps flow

How can GitOps help Data Engineering teams?

Now, let's get to the exciting partβ€”how GitOps can benefit data engineering teams! πŸš€

  1. Leverage of Version Control: With GitOps, you will drastically reduce those moments when you accidentally make changes to your infrastructure that you wish you could undo. By treating your infrastructure as code and leveraging Git's version control, you gain the ability to track changes, roll back to previous states, and collaborate efficiently with your team.
  2. Reproducibility and Consistency: Data engineering often involves complex pipelines with multiple dependencies. GitOps allows you to define your data pipeline configurations as code, ensuring reproducibility across different stages. You can easily create consistent environments, ensuring that everyone on your team works with the same setup, minimizing surprises and headaches.
  3. Streamlined Collaboration: GitOps fosters collaboration within your data engineering team. By storing your infrastructure and application code in a Git repository, everyone can easily access, review, and contribute to the codebase. The days of tangled email threads and confusion are over. GitOps promotes transparency and enables smooth teamwork.
  4. Effortless Auditing and Compliance: Security and compliance are crucial in the realm of data engineering. GitOps makes it easier to meet these requirements. Since all changes are versioned and traceable, you can easily audit and analyze every modification made to your infrastructure code. This not only enhances compliance efforts but also strengthens your overall data governance practices.
  5. Disaster Recovery and Rollback: Data engineering processes can be complex, and unexpected failures can have a severe impact on data integrity. GitOps allows data engineering teams to roll back to a known working state effortlessly. This capability ensures quick recovery from failures and reduces the risk of data loss or corruption.


We have learnt how GitOps is a powerful approach for managing infrastructure and application deployments, leveraging Git as the source of truth.

And as a data engineer, you have discovered how GitOps can streamline your workflows, enhance collaboration, and bring greater security and compliance to your data pipelines.

In the upcoming articles I will showcase and dive more deeply into some tools that will enable you to manage your infrastructure, your services and even ETL pipelines using GitOps principles.

Stay tuned for more GitOps! πŸŽ‰