CloudBees, as a tool, offers a wide range of solutions that include an enterprise-version of open-source Jenkins, Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery, feature flag management, and more – but in this post, we’ll focus on CI/CD and how to best make your purchasing decision. It can be hard to make an informed decision and suss out the best alternatives in a world full of companies that fluff up their products, so we did the work for you. 

CloudBees CD Alternatives

Below, we highlight a few competitors that we consider true alternatives to CloudBees. While the advantages of Jenkins are many, it was not meant to be a CD tool and relies upon scripts and plugins for extensibility. We understand many engineering professionals have a personal connection to Jenkins due to it being on the market for over a decade – but it doesn’t fulfill the needs of many modern, cloud-native organizations. Here, we look at great products that solve business needs more clearly for CD. 

GitLab

GitLab is a complete DevOps platform that provides source code management, CI/CD, security, value stream management, GitOps, and more. Its roots were as a source code management tool and Git repository, and it’s definitely an industry leader in that category. Their Continuous Delivery tool helps accelerate and efficiently improve the software release process. 

GitLab supports all of the major cloud providers, including AWS, Azure, and GCP. They also support container orchestration tools, such as Kubernetes and ECS. They recently released an integration with Terraform. As far as languages go, GitLab aims to support every language, old and new – including PHP, Go, Ruby, .NET, Java, JS, and more. 

GitLab has a beautiful UI, but where it lacks is its ease of use. There is definitely a learning curve to utilize the platform. They do not have any Continuous Verification capabilities, but can integrate with tools such as Prometheus – however, that is the only tool they integrate with to increase visibility. Similarly, they do not have native secrets management capabilities, but do integrate with Hashicorp Vault. 

It can be the right solution for large organizations looking for a CI/CD tool with enterprise-grade support. Lastly, since GitLab is such a big product, there’s a lot of community support in the form of discussion forums, documentation, video tutorials, and more available out there if you run into issues. 

Features

  • SaaS & On-Premise
  • Cloud-Native & Traditional App Support
  • Terraform Integration
  • Full GitOps Functionality
  • Manual Canary Deployments

See a more in-depth GitLab vs. Harness comparison in our product comparison pages.

Azure DevOps

In 2018, Azure DevOps was born – and with that came a variety of tools for CI/CD, reporting, artifacts, Git repos, testing, and more. They have a wide variety of plugins and extensions that work with the platform.

As a CD tool, Azure DevOps is pretty flexible and provides customizable pipelines. The one (pretty large) downside to Azure DevOps Pipelines is that it requires a high amount of scripting in the setup and configuration process. They do, however, have pipeline templates and triggers that improve the setup process.

Azure DevOps provides support for Azure, Kubernetes, and VM-based resources. Their GitOps functionality is for pipelines only, not for releases. They lack any verification capabilities, and rollbacks are achieved using a plugin. You can view software delivery metrics such as build history and deployment status, but are limited to determining deployment velocity.

In a not-so-surprising move, Microsoft and Google recently partnered with Codefresh to become the recommended third-party CI/CD solution. And with the recent purchase of GitHub, Microsoft is now selling two competing products: GitHub Action and Azure DevOps. We’re not sure what this means for ADO, but Microsoft’s Sasha Rosenbaum has stated that they’re moving towards only having one. Something to keep in mind! 

Features

  • SaaS & On-Premise
  • Cloud-Native & Traditional App Support
  • Limited Infrastructure Provisioners
  • Limited GitOps Functionality
  • Granular RBAC & SSO

See more in-depth product reviews Azure DevOps vs. Harness comparison.

Harness CD

Harness, the premier commercial and enterprise-grade Continuous Delivery solution, is incredibly powerful and built for teams with abundant or limited resources alike by ensuring a self-service, simple, efficient approach to software delivery.

Whether your Kubernetes clusters are in GCP, Azure, AWS – or even homegrown/self-hosted, Harness provides you with capabilities to deploy your Helm charts to as many clusters as you want.

Harness auto-generates all deployment scripts based on built-in or custom deployment templates. It also has machine learning-based deployment verification, soon to be its own module named Continuous Verification, that monitors your app for abnormalities after a deployment. For more information on Continuous Verification – and some sneak peek screenshots – visit our article on The Importance of Continuous Verification.

Harness boasts deep integrations with observability platforms such as Datadog, New Relic, and AppDynamics. Infrastructure provisioners are offered through robust integrations of CloudFormation and Terraform. Additionally, Harness integrates flawlessly with Jira and SNOW for issue tracking. It also has a huge focus on compliance and governance, boasting fine-grained RBAC, integrated secrets management, permissions, and audit trails. The level of support customers receive is unparalleled amongst software vendors. 

The full Harness software delivery platform has Continuous Delivery, Continuous Integration, Feature Flags, Continuous Verification, and Cloud Cost Management modules, allowing you to build, test, deploy, and verify on-demand. Harness is also heavily invested in the open source community with its acquisition of Drone, which you can download today. Lastly, Harness now fully supports GCP, Microsoft Azure, and AWS – learn more about our commitment to be vendor-agnostic in our recent announcement

Features

  • Freemium Option Available, Full PaaS Capabilities
  • SaaS & On-Premise
  • Continuous Verification, Canary Deployments
  • Full GitOps Functionality With Command Line Interface
  • RBAC, SSO, Secrets Management, & Audit Trails
  • Accelerate Metrics, Dashboards, & Reporting
  • Quickstart Allows for Pipelines in 15 Minutes

See a more in-depth CloudBees vs. Harness comparison. 

CloudBees CI Alternatives

Below, we highlight a few competitors that we consider true Continuous Integration alternatives to CloudBees. These competitors have a long track record of garnering a large market share of the CI industry, and continuously are in the conversation when it comes to Continuous Integration tools. 

CircleCI

CircleCI is regarded highly within the industry as it helps developers push successful green builds safely and securely. The tool focuses on testing all code changes submitted and has been used by many well-known companies. Like Concourse CI, build configurations live in a file that must be added for the pipeline to run. Having these configuration files, and having them live in source control management, allows developers to change builds on a per branch basis. 

Each build run in CircleCI runs in a clean Linux container that can be directly accessed through SSH. This allows for quick and advanced debugging to find out why a pipeline failed. 

CircleCI has a resource called Orbs for reusing specific workflow and pipeline configurations. This resource makes writing and customizing CircleCI’s config simple as they adhere to a Reusable Configuration feature that allows the developer to define parameterized configuration elements and reuse those elements throughout the project config file. 

CircleCI can do a lot. You can use many different languages (Ruby, Python, PHP, Node, and Java – oh my!), frameworks, and dependencies in your build and there is even an API for custom integrations. It also provides built-in Docker container support and iOS support. Even though it provides all of these features, it does currently lack security and governance, which more experienced users need – and the list of integrations and plugins that are built-in isn’t extensive. As far as Concourse CI alternatives go, CircleCI is pretty up there.

Features

  • No Scripting Required
  • Container & Cloud-Native
  • Traditional App Support
  • GitOps Functionality
  • Containerized Pipelines & Plugins

See a more in-depth CircleCI vs. Drone comparison.

Drone Logo

Drone (Harness CI)

Harness is devoted to the open-source community and plans on keeping their enterprise pricing model consistent, as well as keeping Drone fully open-source. This past March, Harness released some new features in Drone 2.0. This update included a new look and feel which enhances the developer experience, as there are graphics to depict build time, charts, and a pipeline visualizer. Like Concourse CI, Drone can be integrated with GitHub and Bitbucket, but also other source control management tools. It runs as a GitOps process, and looks for a yaml file for configuration. They also can both authenticate with GitHub, for example, but Drone offers a user management screen. 

Drone is container-native so all builds are isolated and all extensions are standardized. It also has around 150 containerized plugins! This allows for easy customization and adds extensibility to the tool. If a plugin a user is looking for doesn’t exist, they can create one and it can be as easy as writing bash/a shell script. To make it usable by others, the user can add it to the Drone registry website by sending in a pull request. That is the power of open-source. 

Drone also does offer a paid version which extends the tool quite a bit, and provides enterprise support for all your support needs. 

If you’re looking for a full CI/CD solution, Harness has your back! With Harness comes Continuous Deployment, Continuous Verification, Cloud Cost Management, and Feature Flags (now available!) – along with Continuous Integration Enterprise. Harness, the premier commercial and enterprise-grade Continuous Delivery solution, is incredibly powerful and built for large enterprises or small shops alike by ensuring a self-service, simple, smart approach to software delivery – all for you to have the best possible experience.

Features

  • Self-Service, Smart, & Simple
  • No Scripting Required
  • GitOps Functionality
  • Containerized Pipelines & Plugins
  • Lightweight Scalability & Infrastructure
  • Built-In Secrets Management

See a more in-depth Cloudbees vs. Drone comparison.

Alternative We Don’t Recommend: Jenkins

Jenkins is the most well-known open-source, self-managed, automation tool that is used for both Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment. Since it is open-source, it is free to use for all and there is a huge community following which leads to extra support, documentation, and features. Jenkins has over 1800 plugins available because of this community, which adds to the flexibility of the tool. The sheer number of plugins makes customization easy and gives Jenkins the ability to integrate with almost any tool necessary for development. 

Jenkins has a file that must be added in order for the pipeline to run. In this instance, it is called a Jenkinsfile. This file requires a lot of scripting. There is a learning curve involved in creating a Jenkins pipeline as groovy syntax isn’t always the easiest to manipulate. Jenkins also lacks the GitOps feature as there is no centralized location to keep the Jenkinsfile for version control.  

When it comes to installing, Jenkins is pretty easy. This CI tool is a self-contained Java program that is platform agnostic. It is available for most major operating systems such as Linux, windows, and macos, and is also available as a normal installer and a war file.

While there is definitely a lot of good to Jenkins mostly due to the extensibility we mentioned above, the reality is it’s a ten-year-old tool that wasn’t built to be cloud-native – it’s definitely not meant for agile teams. And while yes, the extensibility is very good, having to rely on scripts and plugins isn’t a good thing in itself. For one, plugin authors often abandon their plugins (leaving you to scramble to find a new plugin or write your own), plugins can create dependency chains, plugins can introduce security vulnerabilities, plugin upgrades and updates add a decent amount of toil, etc. We don’t feel comfortable recommending a product in a development environment that relies so heavily upon added extensibility.

See a more in-depth Jenkins vs. Drone comparison. 

Migrate from CloudBees to Harness

Is it time for a change? Are you looking for a software delivery solution that’s simple and self-service? Harness’ software delivery platform packs a punch with modules for Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery, Cloud Cost Management, and Feature Flags. Why not schedule a demo with Harness to see if we’re the right fit for your DevOps and Engineering teams?