Ah, Jenkins X – classic Jenkins’ cooler, more hip, rad cousin (yes, I said rad – welcome back to the 90s). What makes it so much cooler, you ask? Well: Jenkins X is a Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Deployment (CD) platform that is cloud-native, runs on Kubernetes, has CI and CD pipeline automation, GitOps, Terraform, secrets management, Tekton pipelines, and it is open source.

Some may wonder what the benefits of Kubernetes are, and we’d point you to this: not only can Jenkins X run and scale on Kubernetes itself, but it can help you deploy your applications to Kubernetes with a relatively simple setup. Each job is typically run in its own container, run ad-hoc, so it will get placed anywhere within the cluster as you’ve described in your node affinities. Underlying kubelets can scale horizontally if you have Cluster Autoscaler or something similar that’s augmenting your cluster’s elasticity. 

All this to say, compared to the OG Jenkins, this is a treasure trove of modern features – and certainly makes life easier for DevOps and Engineering teams everywhere. Less toil, fewer setup issues, no scripting, fewer configurations. Fewer person-hours on maintenance. Fewer plugins. Easy scaling. By default, this is excellent news.

However – and it’s a big ‘however’ – there are still downsides to Jenkins X. If you’re here, you’re obviously cognizant of them and are looking for a different solution. In this blog post, we’ll go over some Jenkins X alternatives that are sure to meet your needs – and allow you to say goodbye to the jenkinsfile forever. 

Jenkins X Alternatives to Consider

GitLab Logo for Jenkins X Alternatives Blog

GitLab CI/CD

GitLab, originally a source code management tool based on Git (like GitHub and Bitbucket, for reference), introduced a CI/CD solution to their product suite. They support all major cloud providers, including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). They also support container orchestration tools, such as Kubernetes and ECS. In terms of infrastructure, GitLab recently released a Terraform integration. The CI/CD platform also offers good governance and compliance features available on their enterprise-level plans.

GitLab has a beautiful user-interface, but where it lacks is its ease of use. There is definitely a learning curve to utilize the platform. GitLab doesn’t have any deployment verification capabilities, but can integrate with tools such as Prometheus for observability purposes. GitLab also lacks native secrets management capabilities, but integrates with HashiCorp Vault. 

As far as Jenkins X alternatives go, GitLab is a fairly good recommendation, especially if GitLab is already your source code manager of choice.

GitLab Features

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

Codefresh

As far as CI/CD platforms go, Codefresh hits the mark in a few areas – namely when it comes to modern features. They seem to hit all the buzzwords, like pipeline as code, GitOps 2.0, automatic preview environments, Kubernetes – oh my! 

This cloud-native, container-based platform boasts strong governance features, such as RBAC, audit trails, SAML SSO, built-in secrets management through encryption (or, if you’re a fan of third parties, HashiCorp Vault), and more. 

Additionally, Codefresh boasts integrations to all major cloud and Git providers, Jira, Helm, Argo, and GitHub Actions. When it comes to observability, Codefresh handles that with Honeycomb

The biggest worries about Codefresh are resource consumption, and downtime (even if partial). Looking through their status page, there was a fair amount of outages. As for resource consumption, customer reviews state that it’s easy to go over plan allowances since Codefresh consumes a fair amount of resources. They’d then need to pay on top of their regular costs, which – if you’re on a tight budget – isn’t the greatest thing ever. 

Codefresh Features

  • Robust Governance 
  • Free Plan for Small Teams
  • Saas & On-Premise
  • Codefresh Runner for On-Prem Installations
  • Full GitOps Functionality 
  • Pre-Built Pipeline Templates

Harness

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 – hear that, Jenkins? That’s right, no scripting! 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 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

Harness Features

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

Jenkins X Alternatives We Don’t Recommend

Spinnaker Logo for Jenkins X Alternatives Blog

Spinnaker

Spinnaker, originally created by Netflix, is a CD platform that simply has too many problems for us to recommend. We went over them in our Spinnaker Alternatives post, but to recap: it’s on-premise only, lacks native secrets management, doesn’t provide traditional app support, and has been referred to as “a nightmare” to set up and configure. It just doesn’t seem worth the effort for a platform that doesn’t offer native CI, only CD. 

Cloudbees

Cloudbees is built on Jenkins / Jenkins X, depending on which of their solutions you go with, and it’s really just an upgraded version with some extras and enterprise support. So if you’re here and you’re looking for an alternative to Jenkins X, these are not the droids you’re looking for. Move along.

Migrate from Jenkins X 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, and Cloud Cost Management – with Feature Flags and Continuous Verification coming soon! Why not schedule a demo with Harness to see if we’re the right fit for your DevOps and Engineering teams?