DevOps Pipelines

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In FlowFuse it is possible to configure a DevOps pipeline for your Node-RED instances. DevOps Pipelines allow you to easily deploy from one instance to another, most commonly used for having an unstable/experimental "Development" instance, and a more stable "Production" instance.

The pipeline then allows you to move your full flow and configuration along from "Development" to "Production" once it's ready.

You can configure this in FlowFuse from the Application screen. Note you will need to have created any Instances you wish to include in the Pipeline before being able to add them to a Pipeline.

Creating a Pipeline

  1. Select the Application you want to configure a Pipeline for.
  2. Ensure an instance is created for each stage you plan to create, e.g. development, QA, and production.
    1. For the instance you want to duplicate go to the Settings tab
    2. Click Duplicate Instance and provide the necessary details
  3. Select the "DevOps Pipelines" tab
  4. Select "Add Pipeline"
  5. Name your pipeline appropriately (this can be changed later)
  6. Select "Add Stage"
  7. Define your Stage's name, select the Stage Type and select an Action.
  8. Click "Add Stage"
  9. Repeat 5. - 7. for as many stages as you need.

See Pipeline Stage details below for more info.

Running a Pipeline Stage

Each stage currently is deployed manually. To do so, click the "play" icon on the source stage. In the example above, it will push from the "Development" stage to the "Production" stage.

Environment Variables - When pushing to a next stage, only your environment variable keys will be copied over. Values must be set on the next Stage's Instance explicitly.

Instance Settings - None of your Instance Settings will be copied over (e.g. Editor, Palette or Security Settings).

This ensures a split between your staging environments.

Pipeline Stage details

  • Stages of a pipeline are executed from left to right.
  • Actionable stages have a play button that will push from that stage to the next stage.
  • Every stage, except the last one, is effectively a source stage that can be pushed from.
  • Every stage, except the first one, is a target stage that can be pushed to.
  • You cannot currently insert a Stage into the middle of a Pipeline, only at the end.
  • Only one Device Group can appear in a Pipeline, and it must be the last Stage.

Stage Types

There are 3 "Stages Type" options to chose from:

  1. Instance - a single Node-RED instance that belongs to the application.
    1. This can be selected for a source and a target stage.
    2. This kind of stage is Actionable (see Actions below).
  2. Device - a single device assigned to the application.
    1. This can be selected for a source and a target stage.
    2. This kind of stage is Actionable (see Actions below).
  3. Device Group - a group of devices application assigned to an instance.
    1. This can only be selected for a target stage.
    2. This kind of stage is not Actionable and therefore cannot be pushed from.

Actions

The action defines what happens when the stage is deployed. The available actions depend on the stage type selected for the stage. These are listed below.

Instance stage actions

  • Create new instance snapshot - When a pipeline stage with this action is deployed, a new snapshot of the defined instance will be created and pushed to the next stage.

  • Use latest instance snapshot - When a pipeline stage with this action is deployed, the latest existing snapshot of the defined instance will be pushed to the next stage.

  • Prompt to select instance snapshot - When a pipeline stage with this action is deployed, you will be prompted to choose which snapshot to push to the next stage.

Device stage action

  • Use active snapshot - When a pipeline stage with this action is deployed, the active snapshot of the defined device will be pushed to the next stage.

  • Use latest device snapshot - When a pipeline stage with this action is deployed, the latest snapshot of the defined device will be pushed to the next stage.

  • Prompt to select device snapshot - When a pipeline stage with this action is deployed, you will be prompted to choose which snapshot to push to the next stage.

Device Group stage

Device group stages are not actionable, i.e. they cannot push content to another stage. It is only used as a target stage for deploying to a group of devices.

Deploy to Devices

This option is only applicable when the Stage Type is an Instance.

When a pipeline stage with this action is deployed to, the same snapshot will be deployed to all devices connected to the defined instance.