CircleCI today announced it will make available its continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) platform available on a variety of Windows platforms.
Matt Wyman, vice president of product for CircleCI, said the decision to support Windows stems from recent Microsoft DevOps initiatives, most notably its move to acquire GitHub. As Microsoft invests more time and energy promoting best DevOps practices, demand for CI/CD platforms running on-premises or in the Microsoft Azure public cloud will escalate sharply, said Wyman.
The Windows environment on CircleCI also includes support for Docker Engine – Enterprise for Windows workflows and all Windows jobs run isolated on a virtual machine. Each new job uses an environment that gets created just in time and gets destroyed once the job finishes running. That approach is intended to ensure both build reproducibility and the security of the code, data and secrets stored in a CI environment. All CircleCI features such as caches, Workspaces, approval jobs and Contexts are now being made available for Windows jobs.
Wyman said CircleCI now expects organizations to extend the same software development lifecycle processes for building and deploying both Windows and Linux-based applications. The ability to leverage the same pipelines within the context of a common CI/CD platform spanning both environments will help narrow the time and effort required today to build Windows applications, he added.
Currently, it’s unclear whether a common set of processes for building and deploying applications in Windows and Linux environments might foster greater collaboration within IT organizations. Linux and Windows teams don’t tend to interact much. However, as more organizations look to apply repeatable processes that enable them to build more reliable software faster, the need to standardize DevOps processes has become apparent. Of course, Circle CI isn’t the only provider of a CI/CD platform looking to take advantage of that emerging hybrid cloud computing opportunity.
It’s also worth noting that providers of platforms such as Microsoft and Red Hat are also promoting their own approaches to software development lifecycle management. Organizations need to decide how much they want to rely on the tools and processes made available by platform vendors instead of a CI/CD platform that integrates DevOps processes across multiple platforms. To fight that battle, CircleCI last month revealed it has raised another $53 million in funding. At that time, the company noted that the total monthly job count on its platform stood at 30 million, up from 7 million in January 2018.
Regardless of the path chosen forward, organizations increasingly need to build and deploy software on multiple platforms. The challenges associated with managing those processes are nothing less than considerable. The issue IT leaders will need to determine first is how much they want to drive unification of software development from the top down versus simply providing a common set of tools and platforms that their teams will (hopefully) gravitate toward.