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Beyond Jenkins: 7 devops tools

Paul Krill | May 20, 2016
These alternatives to Jenkins offer unique capabilities for automating software integration and delivery.

The need for speed in the software development cycle has given rise to a number of valuable automation tools for developers. Chief among these tools are those aimed at facilitating the continuous integration and continuous delivery of software projects. Through these CI/CD tools, development teams can keep software up-to-date and quickly put it into production.

Jenkins is among the best-known CI/CD systems, and it is fast becoming the engine for devops, managing the dev side. A key benefit of Jenkins is the wealth of plug-ins developed for it, providing capabilities that range from extending the number of version control systems Jenkins supports to accommodations for IBM mainframes. Spun out of the Hudson project first launched by Sun Microsystems, Jenkins recently hit Version 2, with improvements to its usability and security.

But Jenkins isn’t the only option when it comes to continuous integration and continuous delivery. Companies such as CircleCI, GitLab, and JetBrains also offer worthwhile CI/CD tools for developers to choose from.

Following are several options beyond Jenkins for automating your software delivery processes.

Atlassian Bamboo

Atlassian Bamboo offers a wealth of capabilities, ranging from building and deploying Docker containers to running applications on Amazon Web Services. Dedicated agents can be used to run hot fixes and critical builds immediately. Scalability has been viewed as a thorn in Jenkins’ side; here, Randall Ward, CEO of Appfire, an Atlassian business partner that provides add-ons and services, sees an advantage for Bamboo.

“Atlassian has really broached the subject of scalability,” Ward says. The company has worked with Jenkins users and finds them suffering “major performance roadblocks,” he adds. Bamboo scales via polling agents and extended agent capabilities, Ward says. Appfire uses Bamboo as a Swiss Army knife of sorts, for integration testing with third-party add-ons and components, as well as for deploying code.

Bamboo features code visibility, enabling users to see a full roll-up of code changes since the latest previous deployment. It integrates with other Atlassian products, including the Bitbucket Git code management solution, Jira project management solution, and HipChat team chat application.

CircleCI

CircleCI also emphasizes scalability, in addition to its ability to test everything, ranging from thousands of Jasmin unit tests to mobile apps. Accommodations for Docker are featured as well, with CircleCI helping developers bring Docker files to production.

“It’s very similar” to Jenkins, says CircleCI CEO Jim Rose. It provides an orchestration layer and a workflow tool that automates code changes and pushes them to the data center, he adds. Begun in 2011, CircleCI started out as a multitenant SaaS option. It was a replacement for Jenkins where users did not have to manage their own servers. Single-page Ruby, Python, and AJAX apps were its forte. It can now be deployed behind the firewall. As opposed to Jenkins, which is open source, CircleCI is a commercial solution.

 

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