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GitOps vs. DevOps

While DevOps delineates collaboration and automation practices that emphasize infrastructure provisioning and continuous monitoring, GitOps extends its concepts by employing Git as the single source of truth for both application and infrastructure settings.

6 minutes read


  • DevOps is a cultural shift that emphasizes collaboration and automation between development and operations teams to streamline software delivery.

  • GitOps builds on DevOps by using Git as a central control system for both code and infrastructure, ensuring version control, traceability, and easy rollbacks.

In this blog post, we’ll delve deeper into how both methodologies work, their core principles, key practices, and the tools that support them. We'll also explore where they overlap and differ—as well as how to choose the right approach for your team.

How does DevOps work?

As we’ve seen, DevOps is both a cultural and operational framework that focuses on fostering integration and collaboration between development and operations teams. By forming dedicated DevOps teams, this approach seeks to maintain high standards while streamlining the development process and ensuring continuous delivery.

DevOps is grounded in several fundamental principles that drive its success:

  • Close collaboration between developers and IT operations helps everyone play to their strengths. 

  • Automation removes human error from the equation and cuts down on time-wasting repetitive tasks. 

  • Continuous integration (CI) plays a crucial role by regularly merging code changes into a shared repository, followed by automated testing. 

  • Continuous deployment (CD) ensures that these code changes are automatically deployed to production, allowing software to be reliably released at any time.

  • Additionally, continuous monitoring and logging of applications and infrastructure are essential for maintaining optimal performance and swiftly resolving issues. 

DevOps Tools

Various tools support DevOps practices, including Jenkins, an automation server for CI/CD pipelines; Docker, a platform for developing and managing containerized applications; and Kubernetes, which is a container orchestration tool that focuses on scalability. 

Need more tools? Ansible is a simple but powerful configuration management and application deployment tool, while Terraform is an open-source infrastructure as code (IaC) tool that enables you to provision infrastructure using a declarative configuration language.

The benefits and challenges of DevOps

Adopting DevOps can be a game-changer. It significantly enhances collaboration by breaking down silos between development and operations teams, leading to better communication and teamwork. The automation of CI/CD pipelines accelerates the software delivery process, resulting in faster time to market. And tools such as Kubernetes and Docker contribute to efficiency by scaling applications and automating infrastructure. 

However, implementing DevOps also presents several challenges. Integrating various DevOps tools can be complex and demanding, requiring substantial effort—especially because the transition to DevOps necessitates a cultural shift within an organization. Finally, teams may encounter skill gaps and need to acquire new competencies to effectively implement and manage DevOps practices.

How does GitOps work?

GitOps is an operational framework that treats Git as the definitive source of truth and leverages Git's version-control capabilities to manage and automate deployment.

GitOps is founded on several core principles that drive its effectiveness: It employs a declarative approach, using configuration files stored in Git to describe the desired state of the infrastructure. Git's version-control system allows you to manage and track all changes, ensuring a clear history of modifications. Automated deployment is another key aspect, as changes in the Git repository are automatically applied to infrastructure and applications. Finally, continuous reconciliation ensures that the current state of the system is monitored in real-time and aligned with the desired state declared in Git. 

GitOps Tools

Several tools support GitOps practices, including Git itself (to manage source code repositories and configuration files); Flux, a set of continuous delivery tools for Kubernetes that automatically updates the cluster's state based on changes in Git; Argo CD, a Kubernetes-native continuous delivery tool with a declarative approach; and Kubernetes, which automates the deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications.

The benefits and challenges of GitOps

One of the primary advantages of GitOps is improved deployment consistency. With GitOps, you have peace of mind that the system's current state aligns with the desired state (which is defined in Git). It also offers better rollback capabilities, allowing teams to quickly revert to a previous state using Git's version history in case of a problem. Enhanced auditability is another benefit, as GitOps provides a clear audit trail of all changes, aiding in compliance and security efforts. 

However, implementing GitOps also presents challenges. Many GitOps tools are designed for Kubernetes, necessitating Kubernetes expertise within the team. Additionally, relying heavily on Git can lead to bottlenecks, such as merge conflicts and complications with multiple branches, if not managed correctly.

Where do DevOps and GitOps overlap?

Despite their differences, GitOps and DevOps share several common goals and practices. They aim to accelerate delivery by shortening the software development life cycle and enabling faster releases. By emphasizing improved collaboration, both approaches highlight the importance of cooperation between development and operations teams. Enhancing automation is another key objective that GitOps and DevOps share, considering they leverage automation to reduce manual tasks, minimize errors, and boost efficiency. And both GitOps and DevOps incorporate similar practices: 

  • Infrastructure as code (IaC): GitOps and DevOps use IaC to manage and provision infrastructure through code.

  • CI/CD pipelines: They both employ CI/CD pipelines to automate the key processes of the software development life cycle, like code building and deployment.

  • Automated testing: By leveraging automated testing, GitOps and DevOps ensure the quality and reliability of code changes.

Where do they differ?

While GitOps and DevOps share similarities, they have critical differences in their processes, workflows, tooling, and use cases.

Process and workflow differences

  • DevOps focuses on a broad spectrum of Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) practices and emphasizes collaboration across the entire software development life cycle.

  • GitOps centralizes Git as the source of truth, using Git-based workflows to manage and automate the deployment process. GitOps also focuses on separating and enhancing the continuous delivery or deployment (CD) step in the DevOps pipeline.

Tooling and implementation

  • DevOps uses a variety of tools, including Jenkins, Docker, Kubernetes, Ansible, and Terraform.

  • GitOps relies heavily on Git and Kubernetes, with tools like Flux and Argo CD to manage continuous deployment and infrastructure configuration.

Use cases and scenarios

  • DevOps is a good fit for a wide range of software development projects and ecosystems, from traditional on-premises setups to cloud-native applications, including Kubernetes.

  • GitOps is best suited for cloud-native environments and Kubernetes-based applications, where declarative configuration and automated management are essential.

Here’s a quick reference guide that summarizes the similarities and differences between DevOps and GitOps:

Primary focusDevelopment and operations integrationGit-based infrastructure management
ToolingCI/CD tools, infrastructure as codeGit, Kubernetes
AutomationCI/CD pipelinesGit workflows and CD pipelines
ImplementationBroad, adaptable to various environmentsSpecific to Kubernetes and Git
Rollback capabilitiesTool-dependentGit history–based
Use casesWide applicabilityBest for cloud-native apps run using Kubernetes

How do you choose between DevOps and GitOps?

Choosing between GitOps and DevOps depends on several important factors. Here are some key considerations to keep in mind:

  • Team structure: Assess the skill sets and expertise within your development and operations teams. GitOps requires familiarity with Git and Kubernetes, while DevOps demands a broader range of CI/CD tools.

  • Existing tools: Consider the tools your team is already using. If your team is already invested in Git and Kubernetes, GitOps might be a natural extension.

  • Project requirements: Evaluate the specific needs of your project. GitOps is ideal for cloud-native applications that benefit from a declarative approach, whereas DevOps offers flexibility for various types of projects.

  • Infrastructure: GitOps is best suited for cloud-native environments, particularly those utilizing Kubernetes. DevOps can be adapted to both cloud and on-premises setups.

Bear in mind that your development and operations teams can build a Kubernetes DevOps pipeline without using GitOps workflows before adopting them at a later stage. Introducing a GitOps tool such as Argo CD will help transition to a model where the state of resources is continuously monitored, compared against the desired one as tracked in manifest files in Git, and automatically kept in sync to align with the latter.

Hybrid Approach

In many cases, the best solution is not choosing between DevOps and GitOps, but rather integrating GitOps practices into a broader DevOps strategy. This hybrid approach allows organizations to:

  • Leverage the cultural and collaborative benefits of DevOps

  • Implement the specific, Git-centric deployment and infrastructure management practices of GitOps

  • Tailor the approach to different teams or projects within the organization based on their specific needs and technological contexts

Ultimately, the choice between DevOps and GitOps (or a combination of both) should be guided by your organization's specific goals, existing practices, technology stack, and the nature of your projects. By carefully considering these factors, you can select the approach that best supports your continuous delivery objectives and drives your software development success.


Both GitOps and DevOps offer robust frameworks for improving software delivery and infrastructure management. Each has its strengths and challenges, making them suitable for different scenarios and organizational needs. Understanding the key differences and shared practices between GitOps and DevOps allows organizations to make informed decisions and optimize workflows.

Regardless of whether you're adopting GitOps, DevOps, or a combination of both, Wiz is here to help you secure and streamline your cloud operations. Wiz offers features relevant to both methodologies, including security, compliance, and automation, making it an ideal solution for modern development teams. By leveraging Wiz, you can achieve greater consistency, traceability, and control over software deployments and infrastructure provisioning.

For more information about how Wiz can support your development and operations efforts, request a demo today!

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