The software industry has evolved drastically over the last few years to fulfill business needs. Agile has been popular from development to IT operations, but other cultural movements have occurred at the team level within organizations, such as streamlining the processes (automation) with better feedback loops (effective collaboration).
Core of Continuous Integration
As per the current practices, teams make smaller but frequent changes in code as well as build, deploy and test in production environments. Unlike the traditional software development cycle, all development activities and changes are done in smaller chunks and deployed more frequently. This continuous integration makes it easy to identify the problems on time and fix it before it goes live. This practice increases stability of code and avoids unnecessary worry about release date.
A few important features of a CI server include integration with version control systems and monitoring system, build automation, event triggering such as code commit or schedules, running tests, code analysis/performance analysis, notification, build logs and storing artifacts.
Which CI Server is Right?
Below are three CI servers worth considering in your environment.
Jenkins is well-established and one of most common names for CI/CD. Jenkins is a Java-based CI server. It has gone beyond the limits of a simple CI server and is popular in market as an open source automation server. Jenkins helps to automate all common tasks of CI including build, test and deploy tasks. Multiple combinations of workflows can be created with the help of limitless configuration scheme.
Jenkins provides team members the ability to push the changes for building and further steps with immediate feedback. Configurations may need to the customized according to your team’s requirement.
Jenkins is really awesome in plugin support. It offers more than 1,000 plugins that allows users to integrate a great range of tools and extend the functionality.
The biggest reasons of popularity of Jenkins are:
- Free and open source
- Community Support and documented properly
- Promising feature of integrating with a wide variety of tools and technologies
- Plugin support
Who should go for it?
As Jenkins is a free, open source and popular CI solution, those who need all these features, are able to customize the environment according their needs and have full community support should go for it.
Bamboo is a continuous integration and continuous deployment server developed by Atlassian. Bamboo Ties automated builds, tests, and releases together in a single workflow by integrating with other Atlassian products such as JIRA, Bitbucket, Stash, Hipchat and Confluence.
Price: Bamboo pricing is based on the number of agents.
Bamboo uses the concepts of agents to perform all CI-CD tasks including build, test and deploy. There are two types of agents:
- Local agents (run as part of the Bamboo server as its process)
- Remote agents (run on any other servers and computers)
It has built-in integration with other Atlassian products. Bamboo supports programmed stretching and combining. It naturally branches CI arranges and ensure all dev branches are secured by CI. In Bamboo, deployment is quite easy as it provides the feature of selecting the deployment project and “configure” to accomplish it. Users simply give a few details of configuration for deployments.
Who should go for it?
Bamboo is powerful as long as you’re using it with Bitbucket and JIRA, and are willing to pay for your CI solution. Also, Bamboo is simple to use and users can add multiple tasks in less time. People who want to utilize the branches safely done by CI server itself, want easier deployment capability and are willing to use simple UI should give it a try.
TeamCity is a CI/CD server made by JetBrains. TeamCity offers CI implemented extraordinarily. It allows users to customize on their own according to their environment and need.
Price: The professional server license is offered for free, and it includes 20 build configurations, full access to all product features, support via forum and issue tracker and three build agents. The enterprise server licensing is based on number of agents required.
As a CI/CD tool, TeamCity also aims to improve releases. In addition, the tool offers an option to run parallel builds simultaneously on different platforms and environments. The gated commits option provided by TeamCity prevents developers from making false commits and avoids breaks in VCS.
A few reasons for TeamCity’s popularity include:
- It is easy to set up, use and configure.
- Its Professional Server is free for up to 20 build configurations.
- It has capability to integration with a wide variety of tools and technologies.
TeamCity’s dashboard is browser-based and provides project status and reporting information for users. The dashboard contains much useful information, including build progress, history information of projects and configurations.
Who should go for TeamCity?
TeamCity has become quite popular in last few years. It has appeared as an alternate to Jenkins in the market. Those wanting better visibility of their builds and tests on time and want a powerful CI solution should consider TeamCity.