I'm guessing this question will seem incredibly trivial for some readers, but as someone who is a developer but with little experience of deploying apps in anything other than a manual, hit and hope sort of a way, I hope you will understand that it's quite daunting to see the number of different approaches and tools there are, so I could do with a bit of advice to get me started in the right direction.
I am a developer, now only in my spare time, which is limited. Up to now I have worked with Java, building webapps, and have been reasonably happy with deploying a war file to a Tomcat environment which keeps things nicely encapsulated.
I am now working in Python and Django, but as I get closer to the point where I need to deploy, I want to set up a solid devops workflow to automate as much as I can and ensure I can deploy reliably, but given that my use case is relatively simple, I want to avoid learning a big fat toolset which is over-engineered for my needs and which requires a big investment of time I would rather use coding my app.
So I am looking for a middle ground which allows me reliably to deploy and manage my app(s) without investing a huge amount of time setting up and learning a big devops ecosystem.
Some more details...
- I develop on a Mac, using PyCharm to build Django 2, Python 3.
- I use git (but not on github) to manage software versioning.
- I am comfortable with other languages and scripting languages and have written a few (probably fairly amateurish) bash scripts, although I don't enjoy bash. I've also dabbled with Perl, which I realised isn't really a language for dabbling (i.e. you need to spend time learning it properly)
- I intend to deploy on a VPS environment, probably DigitalOcean.
- My app isn't mission critical but it is important that I know if the site goes down, and need to have a way of reliably recovering if it does, whether this be restarting the app, restarting the server, or moving to another server (or other).
Ability to set up a new environment to receive the app.
Up to now while I am learning, this has been manual, and every time I have done it I have started from scratch with a new Droplet. I would like this to be much simpler (automated) so that if I have to set up a new environment in an emergency I can do so reliably.
Ability to deploy the app to a staging environment which is as identical to the live as possible, ideally as an automated process triggered by a git push using a continuous integration approach (which I have never done before).
Ability to "press the button" when I am happy with the app in the staging environment to push to a live environment ideally automatically.
Way to monitor the site (just a poll to a page will do)
Way to switch live site to another server if I need to recover from an app or server failure on the live site. I think maybe a Blue-Green approach would work for me?
What have I tried or considered?
Manual set up of live environment with Django app, then manually copy new codebase to it when there is a change. This feels prone to human error and I fear making a mistake in a deploy causing an un-recoverable failure.
Docker. I admit when I found out about Docker it seemed like a dream come true but after a bit of experimenting and research I am daunted by how much I need to learn and know to get this up and running and to manage it. It may be that this is worth it because once it's working it is very low risk but at the moment it feels like a larger investment of my time than I am hoping for.
Bash scripts. Use them to set up the original environment and for specific tasks like updating the app. My worry about this is that the scripts will be code which needs testing and I fear it would take a lot of time to build a reliable toolset this way.
I've looked at Digital Ocean's options for floating IP addresses and the ability to have two servers for a "blue green" approach which seems quite sensible. If I go this route I still need to be able to automate the deployment.
So... I am looking for advice on a devops approach which finds the right balance between minimising risk (e.g. the risk of breaking the live app with an update, or the risk of being unable to recover from a failure) and minimising the time investment I need to make to set up the environments and workflow.