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GitLab
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Jenkins
Decision Kit
Decision Kit
Jenkins Gaps

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Not a Single DevOps Application

  • Jenkins is not an end to end platform for the entire DevOps Software Lifecycle

Plugins

  • Extending the native functionality of Jenkins is done through plugins. Plugins are expensive to maintain, secure, and upgrade.
    • Follow on: “Most of the organizations we talk to tell us that managing Jenkins plugins is a nightmare. Each one has it’s own development life cycle, and each time a new one comes out that they need they have to re-test the whole tool chain. We’ve heard stories like Group A needs plugin A, and the Jenkins administrator installs it, only to find out that it depends on a newer (and incompatible) version of the library that plugin B requires, which Group B needs. Solution? Give each group their own Jenkins server? But then you end up with Jenkins sprawl (more servers to manage). Not to mention all the maintenance and testing required to all the externally integrated tools in the tool chain.” (expect to see a lot of nodding during this spiel)

High Maintenance

  • Jekins requires dedicated resources with Groovy Knowledge
  • Maintaining 3rd party Plug-ins can be difficult

Developer Experience

Jenkins quickly established itself as a leading build orchestration tool after its inception in 2005 and continued gaining steam before the term “DevOps” and “CI/CD” was all the craze like we hear about today. As the saying goes, “time stops for no one,” and we’re seeing more rapid advancements in technology and software development than ever before. Standards from 20 years ago seem foreign and what worked even 5 years ago is unlikely to still be considered best practice. We’re all having to adapt quickly to stay relevant and compete in the current technological climate. Unfortunately for Jenkins, what worked so well 15 years ago hasn’t stood the test of time and the lack of innovation to remain current and improve the project has taken a toll on its seemingly dwindling community of users and open source contributors, at least compared to how thriving the community once was. The two main Jenkins differentiators:

  • Jenkins being the “Swiss army knife of automation” with seemingly unlimited flexibility because of its plugin ecosystem

  • A very active, excited, and thriving open source community of contributors

The above has turned into a double edged sword scenario where the plugin ecosystem has grown to a scale that’s difficult to maintain and secure but still critical to making up for what Jenkins lacks in native capabilities. Jenkins itself is a java application with a severely outdated UI/UX, so problems of this nature are compounded for developers trying to use it efficiently and effectively – a constant uphill battle. Additionally, the once thriving community has seen a consistently significant decrease in activity and adoption.

While Jenkins is great for automating some things it is very brittle and is taking away from the developer experience. Specifically:

  • Jenkins has brittle configurations, fragile UI
  • Jenkins’ outdated and unmaintained plugins continues to grow
  • Jenins is impacting Developer happiness and productivity directly impacted, leads to difficulty retaining talent for Jenkins shops

Increased Risk

  • Integrationg 3rd party plug-ins creates exposure and introduces security risk
  • Jenkins upragades may cause downtime due to pluh-in integrations

Enterprise Readiness

  • Jenkins requires 3rd party plug-ins to support analytics
  • With Jenkins, audit and compliance requirements are not easy to meet. It’s not easy to track changes in a new release.

Jenkins X

  • Jenkins X has high system requirements, Deployment limited to Kubernetes Clusters only, Only has a command line interface (at present) and Still uses Groovy

Kubernetes Support

  • From GitLab PMM - “Jenkins had to build a whole new separate project in order to work with Kubernetes. GitLab has natively adopted Kubernetes from the get-go.”