CircleCI has unveiled what it describes as the first package manager designed specifically to address configuration tasks involving software delivery automation.
Matt Wyman, vice president of product for CircleCI, said the Orbs package manager condenses commands, executors and jobs into single, reusable lines of code that automate tasks on the continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) platform the company provides as a cloud service. The initial set of Orbs being made available by CircleCI are focused on automating more than 25 different cloud deployment scenarios to enable organizations to employ DevOps processes at scale, he said, noting those Orbs can then be validated and shared via an Orbs registry that CircleCI is making available.
CircleCI is also launching a technology alliance program through which Jfrog, Twistlock, Anchore, Aqua Security, Cypress, Postman, Coveralls, datree, Rollbar and Codacy have committed to building Orbs.
Wyman said shareable Orbs that require only a few lines of code to develop makes it possible to share configurations across multiple CI/CD workflows. Those Orbs then can be integrated with any number of third-party tools.
CircleCI is making a case for a CI/CD platform delivered as a managed cloud service that eliminates the need for DevOps teams to set up and manage on their own. Open source CI/CD platforms can be too complex for the average IT organization to set up. Alternatively, CircleCI makes available a version of its CI/CD platform that organizations can deploy behind their own firewall. The CircleCI approach is designed to enable DevOps teams to flexibly create workflows that can be executed sequentially or in parallel.
There are 12 million builds a month being generated by more than 300,000 developers taking advantage of the CircleCI cloud service to build applications, Wyman said. One of the primary drivers of that success is a cloud service that allows organizations to apply more of their limited resources to developing applications versus managing CI/CD infrastructure, he noted.
Most IT organizations have yet to standardize on a specific CI/CD platform. Competition between providers of CI/CD platforms has never been more fierce as more enterprise IT organizations embrace DevOps. As DevOps processes continue to mature, it’s also clear that DevOps processes will need to be extended across multiple clouds in addition to on-premises IT environments.
In general, CI/CD platforms are initially set up by developers who have embraced DevOps processes to accelerate development and deployment of applications without sacrificing quality. The most widely used CI/CD platform is the open source instance of Jenkins. Developers often can adopt Jenkins on their own without requiring anyone to sign off on a purchase order. But as organizations move to scale up their DevOps processes, CircleCI is betting interest in a commercial service that can be easily accessed across an entire enterprise will increase as organizations move to standardize their CI/CD environments.
In the meantime, pressure to increase the rate at which applications are built and deployed is only going to increase as organizations become more aggressive about digital business process transformation. The issue now isn’t so much whether they will have a CI/CD platform, but rather to what extent—and, in some cases, how many.