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CICD and Jenkins

Jenkins as a CICD tool...

I am currently doing some refresher training around Jenkins, which to be honest is a lot of fun. Jenkins is correctly accepted as the industry godfather of CICD pipelines, evolving from a continuous delivery tool to a modular CICD tool over time. The abstraction level of Jenkins versus other CICD tools I have used like Azure DevOps and AWS CodeStar is notably different. This has led to my reflection on its use case when compared to CICD tools from leading cloud providers.

In working through my thoughts, the lower level of abstraction was the first notable difference Jenkins has to other CICD tools from cloud providers. The concept of CICD in stages for large actions such as deploying to a staging server for quality assurance testing with encapsulated steps defined is common to all CICD tools. What is different about Jenkins is the very wide range of cloud-agnostic plugins available to define specific use cases that other tools may not have. Let’s now do a high-level comparison of Jenkins to other cloud vendors' CICD tools.

Jenkins:

Cloud Vendor CICD tools:

A lower level of abstraction and more system administration required

A higher level of abstraction, more managed services available and less system administration required

Cloud agnostic

Cloud-specific noting features in service connections are now available but provide lessor integration features when compared to their home cloud service

Open source

Propriety

Train once but despite its relative complexity, you can use it on many platforms

Train on a cloud-based CICD tool for one setup approach to its native platform and another for competitor platforms. Usage is however more streamlined with a better user experience

CI server VM or docker container required incurring a cost but Jenkin's software is free

Most vendor tools provide this as a managed service with a free tier

More overall control as plugin administration is managed by users

Less overall control as large chunks of the underlying technology is a managed service

Can you can see the lower level of abstraction and a wider range of free plugins available drive the continuing success story of Jenkins but cloud vendors like Azure and even AWS in this case are working to catch up. The future may see the likes of Azure DevOps dominate the DevOps world as a tool of choice when you think of Microsoft’s ownership of GitHub. However, noting the agnostic nature of Jenkins, its free price tag for use and its wide range of integration features, I cannot see it being dethroned as the king of DevOps tools anytime soon. Stay tuned for more on DevOps in this blog along with articles on other areas of interest in the Writing and Cloud Infrastructure arenas. To not miss out on any updates on my availability, tips on related areas or anything of interest to all, sign up for one of my newsletters in the footer of any page on Maolte. I look forward to us becoming pen pals!

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