Some of my Agile and DevOps transformation work, not surprisingly, involves helping clients with tooling adoption—to set up, scale and operate across the organization. This blog piece is about a recent experience of setting up Git across a client organization.
Git, as most of you are aware, is a fundamental building block for many of the modern engineering practices associated with Agile and DevOps. Software configuration management tools such as Git, in simple words, allow you to track and manage your software code and configuration changes in the most-effective, efficient and distributed way. Git, as the choice of source control, has remained steadfast over the years, while other tools across various categories of DevOps tools have seen their fortunes go up and down with the ever-changing technology landscape of DevOps tools. In fact, one new buzzword is GitOps—some even calling it the next stage of evolution for DevOps.
Origins of Git
More than a decade ago , the Linux community faced a challenge because none of the existing revision control tools met their need for a distributed version control tool. And from that need Git was born. In the words of the creator of Git, Linus Torvalds, “The main issues with SCMs is the politics around who can make changes.” Ever since its creation, Git has radically changed the notion of software configuration management (SCM), by enabling engineers to work remotely and autonomously. (If you are new to Git and interested in exploring more about Git and its features, Atlassian has a tutorial and GitHub has a list of resources.)
Git and More
While Git as the core product is fundamentally the same whichever flavor your prefer—GitHub, GitLab or Bitbucket—the wrapper around it determines the important non-functional characteristics such as operatability, security, usability and maintainability. Our quest for an enterprise-scale Git focused on the wrapper and not the core product itself, as much has been written, debated and documented on the core product of Git itself already. The value and relevance to enterprises is in the wrapper that these products\platforms provide.
We looked at the core product and related offerings; as you can imagine, the three tooling vendors have different positioning and taking different directions with the future road map for their respective tools. Bitbucket’s strength lies in the fact that Atlassian is bundling the product with the omnipresent Jira Software and Confluence. GitLab’s road map seems to be taking the product beyond Git and into the idea of a single product for your entire pipeline automation, from concept to cash. GitHub, which is being acquired by Microsoft, is increasingly relying on the strength of integrations with other tools and the workflow capability the company is bundling with it.
(I avoid an overemphasis on the commercial aspect in this blog; however, I’m not ignoring it completely. Part of the reason is due to the fact that enterprise pricing is not entirely transparent and may vary wildly depending on organization’s negotiating capability, the scale of usage, future potential and marketable track records as perceived by the tooling vendors. This blog is also not meant to be a feature by feature comparison, as this is something you can Google and find out yourself very easily.)
My Recommendation: It Depends
- I liked the vision of GitLab as a single-stop tooling platform for continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD), which goes beyond source control. I think the tool is simple and intuitive to use and great for small to midsized setups or even large enterprises that are focused on having smaller and autonomous teams.
- GitHub seems to be well-suited for large and complex enterprises with significant outsourced and offshore-based technology teams.
I would love to hear your views on what has been your thinking with regards to choosing a Git-based product for your enterprise or teams. Meanwhile, here are some links you might find useful in your decision-making:
- Why and how GitLab abandoned Microsoft Azure for Google Cloud – https://venturebeat.com/2018/04/06/why-and-how-gitlab-abandoned-microsoft-azure-for-google-cloud/
- Tooling integrations of GitLab – https://docs.gitlab.com/ee/integration/README.html#doc-nav%20for%20list%20of%20integrations
- GitHub add-ons are listed at Addons are listed at https://github.com/marketplace
- Security and scalability info of GitHub is at https://github.com/jonico/github_security_and_scalability_overview
- Products that integrate with GitHub platform – https://github.com/works-with
- Pricing of GitLab – https://about.gitlab.com/pricing/