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18 Jan
min read

Simple Walkthrough Guide On Preview Environments

Enhance development workflow with seamless preview environments. Test and refine your projects for optimal performance and user experience.

Jack Dwyer

Platform Engineering + DevOps

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In the fast-paced world of software development, staying one step ahead of bugs and glitches is the name of the game. But how can you ensure that your code is flawless before releasing it into the wild? Enter preview environments – the secret weapon of savvy developers. These virtual playgrounds allow you to test the waters, fine-tune your code, and catch any potential issues before they have a chance to wreak havoc on your users' experience.

Preview environments are like a parallel universe, where you can experiment without fear of breaking anything in the real world. With the power to mimic the exact conditions of your production environment, they provide a safe space for developers to see their code in action, conduct thorough testing, and ensure a seamless transition into the realm of release management

But their benefits extend far beyond mere bug-busting. By embracing preview environments, you can foster collaboration, accelerate development cycles, and ultimately deliver a polished product that exceeds expectations. So, buckle up and join me on this thrilling journey into the world of preview environments, where the only limit is your imagination.

What are Preview Environments?

illustration of how effective are Preview Environments

Preview Environments have emerged as a vital tool for DevOps and engineering teams. These environments serve as a virtual playground for developers, allowing them to test and preview their code changes before deploying them to production. With the rising complexity of software systems and the need for seamless integration and delivery, Preview Environments have become an essential component of the software development lifecycle.

Empowering Collaboration and Feedback

Preview Environments play a crucial role in fostering collaboration and gathering feedback within engineering teams. By providing a separate environment for developers to showcase their work, these environments enable cross-functional collaboration between developers, testers, and stakeholders. This collaborative approach ensures that all team members have a clear understanding of the changes being made, and any potential issues or conflicts can be identified and resolved early in the development process.

Mitigating Risk with Controlled Testing

One of the main purposes of Preview Environments is to mitigate the risk associated with deploying untested code changes to production. By allowing developers to test their changes in a controlled environment, these environments act as a safety net, reducing the chances of introducing bugs or breaking existing functionality. This allows for comprehensive testing and validation of code changes, including integration testing with other system components, ensuring a higher degree of stability and reliability when deploying to production.

Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment

Preview Environments seamlessly integrate with the principles of Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment (CI/CD). With CI/CD pipelines becoming the standard in modern software development, Preview Environments provide a dedicated space for developers to validate their code changes and ensure they are compatible with the existing codebase. This enables a smooth and automated deployment process, reducing the time and effort required to push changes to production.

Optimizing Resource Allocation

In traditional development approaches, developers often have to wait for shared environments to become available for testing their code changes. This can lead to delays and hinder productivity. With Preview Environments, developers can create their own isolated environments on demand, eliminating the need to wait for shared resources. This optimizes resource allocation, enabling developers to work independently and efficiently, reducing bottlenecks and improving overall productivity.

Enabling Rapid Iteration and Innovation

Preview Environments empowers developers to iterate rapidly and innovate by providing a dedicated space for experimentation and exploration. Developers can quickly spin up environments to test different features, configurations, or even entirely new architectures. This flexibility fosters a culture of innovation and encourages developers to think outside the box, leading to improved product quality and enhanced user experiences.

Preview Environments have become an integral part of the modern software development landscape. By enabling collaboration, mitigating risk, supporting CI/CD, optimizing resource allocation, and fostering rapid iteration and innovation, these environments empower engineering teams to deliver high-quality software with speed, efficiency, and confidence.

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How Do Preview Environments Work?

illustration of how it works in Preview Environments

Preview environments play a crucial role in the seamless integration of DevOps practices within engineering teams. By providing a controlled and isolated environment, preview environments allow engineers to test and validate their changes before they are deployed to production. Let's explore how preview environments work in the context of DevOps and engineering teams.

1. Definition of Preview Environments

Preview environments are temporary environments that replicate the production environment and are used to preview changes made to an application or system. These environments are often created dynamically, either on-demand or as part of an automated process, and are designed to closely resemble the production environment in terms of configuration, infrastructure, and data.

2. Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment (CI/CD)

Preview environments align with the principles of CI/CD by enabling frequent and automated deployments. They are typically integrated into the CI/CD pipeline, where changes made to the application's code trigger the creation of a new preview environment. This allows for rapid feedback and reduces the risk of introducing bugs or issues into the production environment.

3. Isolation and Control

One key aspect of preview environments is their ability to provide isolation and control. Each preview environment is independent of others, ensuring that changes made in one environment do not impact others or the production environment. This isolation allows engineers to test their changes without affecting the stability or performance of the overall system.

4. Collaborative Testing and Feedback

Preview environments facilitate collaborative testing and feedback among team members. Engineers can share the URL or access credentials of the preview environment with stakeholders, such as product managers, designers, and quality assurance (QA) teams. This enables them to review and provide feedback on the changes before they are merged into the main codebase and deployed to production.

5. Rollback and Remediation

In cases where issues or bugs are identified in the preview environment, engineers can easily roll back or remediate the changes without impacting the production environment. This ability to quickly revert or fix issues minimizes the impact on end-users and ensures a smooth deployment process.

6. Infrastructure as Code

Preview environments are often created using infrastructure as code (IaC) tools such as Terraform or CloudFormation. This allows the infrastructure and configuration of the preview environment to be defined programmatically, making it easy to create and destroy environments as needed. Infrastructure as code also ensures consistency and reproducibility across different preview environments.

7. Monitoring and Observability

To gain insights into the behavior and performance of the preview environment, monitoring and observability practices are essential. Engineers can leverage monitoring tools to track key metrics, log events, and detect any anomalies or issues. This allows them to proactively identify and address potential problems before deployment to the production environment.

Preview environments empower engineering teams to test and validate changes in a controlled and isolated environment before deploying them to production. By integrating seamlessly into the CI/CD pipeline, preview environments enable frequent deployments, collaborative testing, and feedback. Through their isolation and control, they provide a safe space for engineers to experiment and iterate, ultimately leading to more reliable and stable software releases.

When Do Preview Environments Matter

man working on computer with preview environments

Preview environments play a crucial role in the realm of DevOps and engineering teams. These environments serve as testing grounds for new features and updates before they are released to users. By simulating the production environment, they allow teams to identify and fix issues early on, ensuring a smooth user experience. Let's explore why preview environments matter in more detail.

1. Early Detection of Issues

Preview environments provide an opportunity to catch and address issues before they impact end users. By deploying the latest changes in a controlled environment, engineers can thoroughly test functionality, compatibility, and performance. This allows them to identify and resolve any bugs, errors, or conflicts with existing systems. By catching these issues early, teams can prevent negative impacts on users and maintain a stable and reliable software experience.

2. Iterative Development

With preview environments, engineering teams can adopt an iterative development approach. Instead of waiting until a feature is fully developed to test it, developers can continuously integrate and deploy changes to the preview environment. This fosters a culture of incremental development, allowing teams to gather feedback, make improvements, and iterate on their work more efficiently. By getting early insights from preview environments, developers can fine-tune features and ensure they align with user needs and expectations.

3. Collaboration and Feedback

Preview environments also facilitate collaboration among team members and stakeholders. By providing a shared space for testing and reviewing changes, different team members can easily access and provide feedback on new features. This fosters a collaborative environment where developers, designers, product managers, and other stakeholders can communicate and align their perspectives. Such collaboration ensures that the final product meets the desired functionality, user experience, and business goals.

4. Risk Mitigation

Introducing new features or updates directly into the production environment can be risky. Preview environments serve as a safety net, allowing engineering teams to mitigate potential risks. By catching issues early and fixing them in the preview environment, teams can reduce the chances of service disruptions or negative user experiences. This risk mitigation is especially crucial for high-traffic or mission-critical systems where even minor issues can have significant consequences.

5. Continuous Integration and Deployment

Preview environments are an integral part of continuous integration and deployment (CI/CD) pipelines. CI/CD methodologies aim to automate the development, testing, and deployment processes, enabling faster and more frequent releases. Preview environments allow developers to test changes in an environment that closely resembles the production setup. This ensures that the code integrates smoothly with the existing system and eliminates surprises during deployment.

6. Performance Testing

Preview environments also enable teams to conduct performance testing. By simulating user traffic and load in a controlled environment, engineers can analyze the system's response and identify potential bottlenecks or scalability issues. This helps optimize the performance of the application or service before it goes live, ensuring a seamless user experience even under high demand.

Preview environments are essential for DevOps and engineering teams. They enable early issue detection, support iterative development, facilitate collaboration and feedback, mitigate risks, enable continuous integration and deployment, and allow for performance testing. By leveraging preview environments effectively, teams can streamline their development processes and deliver high-quality software that meets user expectations.

Benefits of Preview Environments

Preview environments are an essential tool in the DevOps workflow, providing numerous benefits to engineering teams. By creating a replica of the production environment, developers can test and validate new features, updates, or bug fixes before deploying them to the live environment. We will explore the advantages of using preview environments in the context of DevOps and engineering teams.

1. Faster Feedback Loops

Preview environments enable developers to receive feedback on their changes quickly. By allowing engineers to preview their code in an environment that closely resembles the production setup, they can identify and address any issues or bugs early in the development process. This rapid feedback loop helps reduce the time and effort required for troubleshooting, resulting in faster development cycles and quicker time-to-market.

2. Improved Collaboration

Preview environments promote collaboration between various teams involved in the software development process. By providing a shared space where developers, testers, and other stakeholders can interact, preview environments facilitate effective communication and collaboration. This allows for seamless coordination between team members, leading to enhanced productivity and better software quality.

3. Reduced Risk

Deploying untested code directly to the live environment can be risky and may lead to service disruptions or downtime. Preview environments mitigate this risk by allowing developers to thoroughly test their changes in an isolated environment. By catching potential issues before deployment, organizations can avoid costly downtime and ensure a smoother user experience.

4. Increased Stability

Preview environments help maintain the stability of the production environment. By conducting thorough testing in a separate environment, engineers can identify and fix any compatibility issues, conflicts, or performance bottlenecks. This ensures that the production environment remains stable and reliable, minimizing the chances of unexpected failures or system crashes.

5. Scalability and Performance Testing

Preview environments provide a platform for conducting scalability and performance testing. Engineers can simulate high loads, analyze system behavior, and identify potential bottlenecks or performance issues. By doing so, they can optimize the application's performance and ensure that it can handle the expected workload in the production environment.

6. Continuous Integration and Deployment (CI/CD)

Preview environments play a crucial role in enabling CI/CD practices. They provide a controlled environment where developers can automatically deploy and test their changes. This allows for continuous integration and deployment, reducing manual effort and ensuring that software releases are more frequent and reliable.

7. Cost Savings

By catching and addressing issues early in the development process, preview environments help reduce the cost of software development. Fixing bugs or making changes in the production environment can be significantly more expensive and time-consuming. With preview environments, engineers can detect and resolve issues at an early stage, minimizing the impact on production systems and saving valuable resources.

Preview environments offer a multitude of benefits for DevOps and engineering teams. From accelerating feedback loops and improving collaboration to reducing risk and increasing stability, these environments are integral to the software development lifecycle. By leveraging preview environments effectively, organizations can enhance their development processes, deliver higher-quality software, and achieve greater efficiency and success in their projects.

Zeet Product Overview

How To Setup Preview Environments In Kubernetes

kubernetes and its setup in preview environments

Preview environments play a crucial role in the software development lifecycle, allowing engineers and DevOps teams to test changes and new features in a realistic environment before they are deployed to production. Kubernetes, with its container orchestration capabilities, provides a powerful platform for setting up and managing preview environments. We will walk through the steps of setting up preview environments in Kubernetes, empowering your team to iterate and deploy with confidence.

1. Understanding Kubernetes Concepts

Before diving into setting up preview environments, it's essential to have a good understanding of some key Kubernetes concepts:


The smallest unit in the Kubernetes ecosystem, representing a group of containers that are scheduled together on the same host.


A higher-level abstraction that manages Pod replicas and ensures that the desired state is maintained.


Provide a stable network endpoint to access a set of Pods. They enable load balancing and service discovery within the Kubernetes cluster.

2. Creating a Namespace

To isolate the preview environments from other workloads, it's recommended to create a dedicated namespace for each environment. This allows for better resource management, RBAC (Role-Based Access Control), and easier cleanup when an environment is no longer needed. Here's an example command to create a namespace:


  kubectl create namespace preview-environment


3. Configuring Environment Variables

Preview environments often require specific configuration values, such as API keys or database connection strings. Kubernetes allows you to define environment variables at the Pod level using ConfigMaps or Secrets. ConfigMaps are suitable for non-sensitive data, while Secrets provide a more secure way to store sensitive information. Here's an example of creating a ConfigMap:


	kubectl create configmap my-config --from-literal=ENV_VAR=value --namespace=preview-environment


4. Defining Kubernetes Deployment

A Deployment is a Kubernetes resource that manages the creation and scaling of Pods. To set up a preview environment, you need to define a Deployment manifest tailored to your application's needs. This includes specifying the container image, environment variables, ports, and any other required configurations. Here's an example Deployment manifest:


  apiVersion: apps/v1
  kind: Deployment
  	name: my-app  
    namespace: preview-environment
  	replicas: 1  
      	app: my-app  
        	app: my-app    
        - name: my-app        
        	image: my-app:latest       
          - containerPort: 8080        
          - configMapRef:            
          	name: my-config


5. Exposing the Service

To access the preview environment externally, you need to expose the Service associated with the Deployment. Kubernetes provides different options for exposing Services, such as NodePort, LoadBalancer, or Ingress. The choice depends on your infrastructure and requirements. Here's an example of exposing the Service using NodePort:


  apiVersion: v1
  kind: Service
  	name: my-app-service  
    namespace: preview-environment
  	type: NodePort  
    	app: my-app  
    - protocol: TCP    
    	port: 80    
      targetPort: 8080


6. Continuous Integration and Deployment (CI/CD) Integration

To automate the creation and management of preview environments, integrating with your CI/CD pipeline is crucial. Tools like Jenkins, GitLab CI/CD, or Tekton can be used to trigger the creation of preview environments whenever a new branch or pull request is opened. These tools can execute scripts that deploy the necessary Kubernetes resources and tear them down when the preview environment is no longer needed.

7. Cleaning Up Preview Environments

To avoid resource waste and maintain a clean cluster, it's important to have a mechanism in place to clean up preview environments that are no longer needed. This can be achieved by using Kubernetes garbage collection policies or incorporating cleanup steps in your CI/CD pipeline. Regularly monitoring and removing unused preview environments will help keep your cluster efficient and prevent resource contention.

Setting up preview environments in Kubernetes empowers engineering and DevOps teams to test changes and new features in a controlled environment. By following the steps outlined in this section, you can establish a streamlined process for creating and managing preview environments, accelerating your software development and deployment cycles.

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Become a 1% Engineering Team With Zeet's CI/CD Deployment Platform for Kubernetes

Zeet is a cutting-edge platform that revolutionizes the way businesses leverage their cloud and Kubernetes investments. With Zeet, organizations can unlock the full potential of these technologies and empower their engineering teams to become strong individual contributors. By providing a comprehensive CI/CD deployment platform, Zeet enables seamless and efficient software development and deployment processes.

Streamlined Development with Zeet

Zeet simplifies the development process by offering powerful tools and features that enhance productivity and collaboration. Its preview environments allow developers to create isolated and temporary staging environments, enabling them to test and validate their code changes before deploying them to production. This eliminates the risk of introducing bugs or issues that can impact end-users.

By using Zeet's preview environments, developers can gain real-time insights into the functionality and performance of their applications, ensuring that any potential issues are identified and addressed early in the development cycle. This not only saves time and effort but also improves the overall quality of the software.

Accelerated Deployment with Zeet

With Zeet, organizations can accelerate their deployment processes by leveraging automated workflows and seamless integration with popular CI/CD tools. Developers can easily set up pipelines to build, test, and deploy their applications to production, streamlining the entire software delivery process.

Zeet's platform also supports containerization technologies like Kubernetes, enabling organizations to leverage its scalability, reliability, and portability benefits. By seamlessly integrating with Kubernetes, Zeet empowers businesses to harness the full potential of this powerful orchestration tool.

Maximizing Cloud and Kubernetes Investments with Zeet

Zeet is a game-changing platform that helps businesses maximize the value of their cloud and Kubernetes investments. By providing advanced CI/CD capabilities and preview environments, Zeet empowers engineering teams to deliver high-quality software at an accelerated pace. With Zeet, organizations can enhance collaboration, streamline development processes, and leverage the scalability and reliability of Kubernetes. Embrace the power of Zeet and unlock new possibilities for your organization's software development and deployment.

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