For the development teams to better understand the prerequisites for their projects, they need to have a better understanding about the value of continuous integration and delivery tools. The DevOps environment is incomplete without CI/CD – the building blocks of the methodology.

Continuous Integration (CI) is a development practice where the engineering teams make minimal, frequent changes to the code. Each integration is verified by an automated test to detect integration errors as early as possible.

Continuous delivery (CD) is an extension of CI in which the software delivery pipeline is automated further to enable the luxury of confident deliveries into production.

When we talk about CI/CD, the first tool that comes to mind is Jenkins. Jenkins is an application that offers Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery. However, there is another tool called Azure Pipelines that has entered the race. In this blog, we will elaborate on the battle between Azure DevOps vs Jenkins and see which one will suit your organization better.

What is Jenkins?

Jenkins is an open-source automation tool written in Java with plugins that support integrating and implementing continuous delivery pipelines. It is used for building and testing the software delivery pipeline, making it easier for the developers to pursue working on the improvement of the product by integrating changes to the project. Jenkins is also platform-independent.

How does Jenkins work?

Jenkins is used for implementing CI/CD pipelines. These pipelines automate the testing and integrate the separate GitHub branches from the main branch.

  • Developers make the necessary changes and commit them to the source code.
  • The repository is continuously checked by Jenkins for any changes.
  • If the build process is successful, an executable is generated.
  • If no issues are found, it gets deployed to the production server.

CI/CD Tools on Different Clouds

With different tools available for CI/CD including Jenkins, Azure, and AWS, you can host the CI pipelines yourselves.

  • Reduced cost – Using cloud services such as Azure means you don’t have to invest in extra hardware or staffing, which in turn reduces cost.
  • Flexibility – If you migrate to the cloud, you get a wide range of infrastructures, databases, and search servers on which you can test multiple applications.
  • Dynamic Scalability Migrating to the cloud allows you to scale up and down based on the business requirements.
  • Minimal configuration – You can modify the configuration requirements by choosing from a wide range of settings.

Azure Pipelines

Microsoft Azure is a platform to build serverless applications on Azure functions. Azure Pipeline is used for testing, building, managing, and deploying applications. It is a cloud service that is readily available for you to build and test your code project.

Pros of Azure Pipelines:

  • Version Control System – Azure Pipelines integrates with GitHub, GitHub Enterprise, Azure Repos Git & TFVC, and Bitbucket Cloud & Subversion.
  • Language and Platform – Azure works on Windows, Linux, and MacOS to build, test, and deploy various applications including Node.js, Python, java, android, iOS, and many more.
  • Extensions – Azure provides a wide range of community-built extensions from Slack to SonarCloud. It also supports YAML, reporting, and many more.
  • Deployments to other cloud vendors – You can deploy codes to multiple targets including registries, virtual machines, and other clouds like AWS and GCP.
  • Containers and Kubernetes – With Azure, you can build and push images to Docker Hub and Azure Container Registry or deploy containers to Kubernetes.

Azure DevOps vs Jenkins

  • Group Tasks – Azure allows you to perform a sequence of tasks, already defined in a pipeline, into a single task, whereas Jenkins is generally done by a single user which leads to tracking and accountability problems.
  • YAML Interface – With YAML in Azure Pipelines, you can configure CI/CD pipeline as code, whereas Jenkins doesn’t have a YAML interface.
  • Platform, language, and cloud – In Azure Pipelines, you can deploy various applications including Node.js, android, iOS, java, python, and many more and then deploy to either on-premise, AWS, Azure, or GCP. With regards to Jenkins, you get scripted pipelines that must be programmed in Groovy.
  • Analytics in Azure Pipelines is provided at the end with two parameters – rate and duration of the run. Jenkins doesn’t provide any analytics.
  • Plugins and Tasks – The built-in plugins and extensions can be downloaded from Azure DevOps marketplace. Jenkins has a wide range of plugins to choose from.
  • Integration of Azure Pipelines with Microsoft is easy, but requires configuration changes to integrate with non-Microsoft products. Jenkins, on the other hand, can easily be modified and extended.
  • Easy Support – Since Jenkins is open source, there is a huge support from the agile teams.

Who wins the battle?

The battle boils down to the team or the project you work on. While Jenkins is more flexible to create and deploy complex workflows, Azure DevOps is faster to adapt. In most cases, organizations use both the tools and in such cases, Azure Pipelines supports integration with Jenkins.

We recommend you to do the same rather than choosing to use just a single tool for your cloud project.

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Sreyesh Sarma
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