Jim Rose, CircleCI CEO, said in contrast to other ‘freemium’ offerings, CircleCI’s free tier provides developers and DevOps teams with frictionless access to all the premium capabilities of the platform. Those capabilities include up to 6,000 build minutes per month, unlimited users, the ability to fine-tune pipelines using caching, concurrency, test splitting, security tools and health metrics.
CircleCI claims more than 200,000 teams now employ its CI/CD platform. The freemium tier is intended to make it easier for a DevOps team to take advantage of a CI/CD platform as they begin an application development project, noted Rose. As that project evolves and matures, many of those teams will eventually require commercial support and other services provided by CircleCI, he added.
The free tier of the CircleCI cloud service comes as many organizations attempt to accelerate the rate at which they can build and deploy applications. Digital business transformation initiatives, in particular, have become a much higher priority in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. A free tier of a CI/CD service is likely to encourage more experimentation simply because it reduces the level of overhead associated with setting up an application development environment.
As the number of applications being developed continues to steadily increase, competition among CI/CD platform providers is becoming more intense as the number of organizations adopting DevOps best practices to accelerate application development increases. At the same time, more DevOps teams than ever are relying on cloud services to host CI/CD platforms in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s still not clear whether DevOps teams will opt to rely on a proprietary platform versus an open source platform. While an open source platform prevents organizations from vendor lock-in, the ease of use of a cloud service may lessen those concerns as the cost of switching from one cloud service to another declines.
One way or another, usage of CI/CD platforms will increase sharply in 2022. It’s not uncommon for different DevOps teams within the same organization to employ different CI/CD platforms despite efforts to encourage standardization. In the name of productivity, DevOps teams tend to exercise a fair amount of autonomy within many organizations.
The biggest challenge, of course, will not necessarily be building applications but deploying them. Despite the availability of CI/CD platforms, the processes that most organizations rely on to deploy an application are still largely manual. In the age of the cloud, however, it should become easier to automate application delivery thanks to the APIs cloud service providers expose. In fact, 2022 may be the year that DevOps teams finally master CD. Providers of CI/CD platforms, of course, have a vested interest in making sure the full promise of an integrated CI/CD platform finally becomes an everyday DevOps reality.