The business case for using Jenkins X
Far from being a replacement to the widely loved Jenkins, Jenkins X builds on the classic with best of breed open source tools.
But it’s a little more exciting than that.
In the words of James Strachan, Distinguished Engineer at CloudBees, Jenkins X is a big deal because “as a developer, you can type one command jx create or jx import and get your source code, git repository and application created, automatically built and deployed to Kubernetes on each Pull Request or git push with full CI/CD complete with Environments and Promotion via GitOps!”
Essentially, it makes smart decisions for you, its cloud native and its geared specifically for Kubernetes. Handy features when businesses are looking for ways to adopt cloud technologies, reduce manual tasks, and focus on driving value to compete at pace. But it hasn’t always been so plain sailing.
It’s fair to say that Jenkins X addressed some of the challenges its predecessor Jenkins has traditionally faced. A continuous integration tool long before Kubernetes entered the DevOps scene and distributed systems running on cloud native platforms, the current shift to cloud native and containers began to pose Jenkins management-specific challenges for enterprises. Users were also finding the use of Jenkins as a stand-along open source tool difficult at times.
The changing landscape meant that when Jenkins X was released back in early 2018, it found a way to both improve and automate continuous delivery pipelines to Kubernetes and cloud-native environments – something that hadn’t been possible with Jenkins.
But the dream doesn’t stop there. Ultimately, CloudBees is evolving its tools in keeping with the evolution of the modern DevOps pipeline. And it seems that the hope is that Jenkins X will eventually blend with the classic Jenkins to create one experience that facilitates serverless and automated pipelines, on-premise deployments and modern cloud applications. CloudBees would also like to see Jenkins X help Jenkins to become more cloud native in the hope it benefits the wider Jenkins community in addition to Jenkins X.
The question is, with such a shift still taking place, why would an enterprise go to the trouble of using Jenkins X? We think we’ve found a few answers…
It’s popular, and it works.
Ultimately, Jenkins X is a CI/CD solution for modern cloud application on Kubernetes – but with a few bells and whistles up his finely ironed suit jacket. Not only does the tool provide pipeline automation, it has built-in GitOps and preview environments to enable greater collaboration between teams and the acceleration of software delivery at scale.
Feedback on commits, issues and pull requests are also automated, with feedback delivered as code that is ready to be previewed and promoted to environments – or if pull requests are generated automatically, to upgrade versions. By spinning up preview environments ahead of merges to the master, Jenkins X has answered the much-requested ability to gain faster feedback.
In fact, it’s been so well received, CloudBees | Jenkins X has been described as “evil in the best possible way”…
It’s user focused
Devout compliments asides, Jenkins X has been carefully considered to put the developer’s best interests front and centre.
Best described in the words of James Strachan, Jenkins X is “a project which rethinks how developers should interact with CI/CD in the cloud with a focus on making development teams productive through automation, tooling and DevOps best practices”.
Defaulting your favourite pipelines and having them fully implemented with CI and CD for projects is an equally nifty addition for the time conscious and meticulous developer.
It addresses the CI/CD challenges in a cloud native landscape
As noted by Craig Barber, Software Engineer, Google:
“Jenkins X is an industry-wide leap forward to provide developers with a cloud native CI/CD experience. As the next evolution in the Jenkins space, Jenkins X redefines how CI/CD workloads run.”
And it was a much-needed leap too! Traditional CI/CD systems such as Jenkins weren’t designed for cloud-native environments, and as such, these tools have either had to evolve or introduce new family members to the tool stack.
In the case of CloudBees, Jenkins X was created to meet the demands Kubernetes placed on engineers wanting to deploy and test easily during deployment workflows. Born as a cloud-native tool, Jenkins X has simplified the integration of tools in the Kubernetes ecosystem for an opinionated open source solution fit for the modern enterprise.
CloudBees | Jenkins recently bagged HSBC’s vote, and a rather sizeable cheque…
It’s certainly not risk-free, but when an established enterprise such as HSBC is prepared to make a capital investment of $10million into an open-source software company, it’s difficult not to take notice.
HSBC’s CTO of Shared Services Dinesh Keswani says the investment was motivated by a desire to better serve their customers. They are also one of the enterprises driving change:
“The DevOps market is growing fast, as organisations like us drive automation, intelligence and security into the way we deliver software. CloudBees is already a strategic business partner of HSBC; we are excited by our investment and by the opportunity to be part of the story of continuous delivery.”
But HSBC aren’t alone. An estimated 15+ million software developers currently use Jenkins to automate their software delivery pipelines. Of this 15+ million, 46 belong to the Fortune 100 and three sit within the Fortune 10 – all using various tools within the CloudBees Suite to transform their businesses for the unremitting economy. And this number is likely to grow as CloudBees continue to conquer the CI/CD landscape.
Sacha Labourey, CEO and co-founder of CloudBees says that the funding will be used to continue introducing new innovation to the DevOps market through modernising its software delivery suite, growing its strategic partnerships and driving growth in its global business – as we’ve already seen through its recent acquisition of Electric Cloud and Rollout. Whilst not devoted solely to the evolution of Jenkins X, a few things suggest that Jenkins X will undoubtably gain its fair share of the pie:
- It’s dedication to DevOps, Cloud and Kubernetes,
- Talk of a high-level roadmap “built on the massive shoulders of Jenkins and its awesome community”,
- The dream of Jenkins X helping to evolve Jenkins into a more cloud-native tool
Described in its infancy early last year, we look forward to seeing the progress Jenkins X has made at this years’ DevOps World | Jenkins World. Not only will some of the team be heading out to sunny San Francisco, we are proud to be heading out as CloudBees | Jenkins training partner of the year and training sponsors for the show.
Hands-on with Jenkins X
If you’ve been inspired to give Jenkins X a try for yourself, join us on July 24th for this month’s DevOps Playground, led by CloudBees’ very own Gareth Evans. If you’ve missed tickets on Meetup/Eventbrite, look out for the video recording post-Playground!
This Playground we’ll be learning how to be up and running with Jenkins X in no time, using the CLI to create new applications and promote them to staging and production environments. We will also be demonstrating our use of GitOps and ChatOps to interact with Jenkins X and will show how to utilise Preview Environments to get faster feedback to the developer.
- Use the JX cli to create a Jenkins X cluster on GKE
- Create an application based on a set of templates
- Push the application to a staging environment using GitOps
- Change the application, interact with the PR using ChatOps
- Learn how Preview Environments can speed up developer feedback
- As much pizza as you fancy
As you can see, this is a Playground not to be missed! Join the waiting list here.