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CI/CD Vendors: A closer look at Jenkins
Jenkins is an open source CI/CD tool. For an introduction to CI/CD, see our previous post.
Kohsuke Kawaguchi originally developed a tool called Hudson at Sun Technologies in 2004, which eventually forked into the Jenkins project in 2011. Hudson continued to run until 2020 when it was retired.
Meanwhile, Jenkins continues to be popular. In 2019, Jenkins was one of the founding projects of the Continuous Delivery Foundation (CDF). As of today, Jenkins is the only continuous integration tool with a “graduated project” status from the CDF.
Jenkins handles most actions through plugins – over 1800 community-contributed plugins. This provides tremendous flexibility, and Jenkins can integrate with almost any other tool in your pipeline. However, the dependency on plugins can also introduce complexity. Companies like CloudBees have addressed this by certifying catalogs of plugins for customers (CloudBees Assurance Program). Because Jenkins is well established, engineers are likely familiar with using the product. This can make hiring developers who do not need to learn a new tool easier, but it may not be an attractor for job seekers who want to work with newer tools or are used to vendor support associated with paid CI tools.
Jenkins at a glance:
- Website: https://www.jenkins.io
- Founded: 2011 (Jenkins ancestor, Hudson, was started in 2004)
- Written in: Java
- Deployment models: Jenkins typically runs as a Java servlet container/application server on Jetty. It runs on Windows, macOS, Unix, and Linux; it can also run on Apache Tomcat or Glassfish. You can also deploy Jenkins on AWS
- Market Share: Approx. 59%
- Version Control System integrations: Integrations are all handled through various plugins such as GitHub, BitBucket, Subversion, and GitLab
Jenkins is open source software (MIT License). All plugins are also required to be an open source license. You may incur other costs, such as CloudBees Jenkins support or EC2 expenses (if you are installing Jenkins on AWS).
Like other open source software, there are no included support plans. Jenkins is incredibly extensible via its vast library of plugins, but those plugins may have inconsistent release cycles and maintainers.
ReleaseTEAM helps customers implement Jenkins environments and navigate support from CloudBees. As the #1 Jenkins sponsor, CloudBees provides dedicated support and Jenkins expertise. In fact, Jenkins’ creator Kawaguchi served as CloudBees’ CTO from 2014 to 2020.
Work with CloudBees customer success teams and developer support engineers to reduce risks and validate tools via a curated plugin catalog.