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Development Teams

Plan environments for multiple teams

While separate development teams can each have a separate environment, how many environments does a set of teams need? There are two approaches.

Environment per team: As described in Environment Architecture, each development team gets its own environment. This approach has several consequences:

  • Each team’s environment is built of independent resources that can be managed and even billed separately
  • Each team can customize the size of its environment, its backend services, and its CI/CD tools
  • For teams in different geographies, each team’s environment can be located in the IBM Cloud region closest to the team’s geography
  • If the client paying for the application’s development wants the development environment located in the client’s geography, the environment can be installed in the region in that geography
  • Several small development teams will each require its own environment, which can lead to higher expense for envrionments with low utilization

Shared environment: An alternative approach is for multiple development teams to share a single environment. This approach has several consequences:

  • Resources are shared, including their cost and management duties
  • Shared resources tend to be more highly utilized, although resource contention will occur between the teams
  • Teams can more easily coordinate on applications and microservices that must work together in production
  • Teams must share a single set of CI/CD tools and pipeline configurations that can be managed by a single adminstration team
  • Teams share a single test namespace and staging namespace, and must coordinate accordingly

Teams that do no wish to use the same CI/CD tools or otherwise want to avoid having to coordinate with each other should use separate development environments. Teams that want to economize, share a set of CI/CD tools, and need to coordinate on application development may find a shared environment easier to use.

To create a shared environment, first install a single environment. Then create a dev namespace for each team, such as dev-team1, dev-team2, etc. (The original dev namespace can be renamed for the first team, dev-team1.) The multiple developer namespaces all share a single tools namespace and the CI/CD tools installed in it. They all use Argo CD—one of the Developer Tools—to deploy to shared test and staging namespaces. Use Kubernetes RBAC to control which developers can access which dev namespaces.