Continuous Integration (CI)
Drone vs Concourse CI
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Harness DevOps Tools Vs. Concourse CI
*Last updated: 3/31/2021
Detailed Feature Comparison
Drone Vs. Concourse CI
Concourse was created by two engineers in 2014 after trying various CI tools that always fell short. They proceeded to open-source the project on GitHub, where it sits at 5.5k stars at the time of this writing, and is constantly being updated by the creators and contributors. Drone is also open-source. There is, however, also a paid version of Drone that provides access to enterprise support and more integrations and features. Additional features include secrets management options, autoscaling, custom plugins, and more.
The good: Concourse CI is a very light, easy-to-start CI tool with an intuitive UI. Though, as with every tool, there is a learning curve, and documentation can be a little light when running into problems. It is container-based and their small selection of resources, which are basically the equivalent of a plugin, help extend the platform. It’s also easy to scale up and down. The bad: building pipelines on Concourse CI is time-consuming, because you have to do every single step yourself (no templates – every step has to be configured manually). It also lacks features that other CI tools already have, such as flexibility (pipelines are a bit rigid and basic, poor conditional flow), there’s not much information about past runs in the UI, plugins are quite limited, and there are shortcomings with docker if you employ multiple libraries. The ugly: workers are a constant source of frustration that sometimes don’t work as intended. The worked so poorly that it is now being deprecated in favor of Prototypes (should be available in Q2). Lastly, at the time of this writing, Concourse CI has 750 open issues on GitHub – so there are definitely lots of kinks to work out. Drone is built upon three pillars that enable engineers to build and test code quickly and accurately: simple, scalable, self-service. Drone installs in under 5 minutes, scales on demand, and all plugins run in containers on their latest version. This means less person hours spent by engineers maintaining the tool, and more time on what matters: getting that code to artifact.
Concourse CI added GitOps capabilities a few months ago. They have a tutorial on how to implement GitOps for your pipelines. Drone comes with built-in GitOps functionality – and has since 2013!
A great feature of both Concourse CI and Drone is that everything is run in a container. A massive plus of containerized plugins is that the plugins are maintained to their latest version and create no dependency chains. They require no updating. Concourse CI offers roughly 80 plugins (called resources, as stated above) at the time of this writing. Drone offers 150 plugins, thereby dramatically increasing the extensibility of the tool.
Concourse CI’s default is to encrypt secrets. They also offer support for HashiCorp Vault, CredHub, and AWS Secret Manager. Drone offers encryption on its open-source version. Meanwhile, the enterprise version offers these alternatives: encrypted, native, or externally, through third-party providers such as AWS Secret Manager, Kubernetes Secrets, and HashiCorp Vault. No matter how you want your secrets to be handled, Drone can rise to the occasion.
Concourse CI has no pricing associated with it as it is open-source. Drone is also free and available for download. It also has an enterprise version that is extremely feature-rich, but does have pricing attached to it. To familiarize yourself with enterprise pricing, please contact sales.
*Please note: Our competitors, just like us, release updates to their products on a regular cadence. We keep these pages updated to the best of our ability, but there are bound to be discrepancies. For the most up-to-date information on competitor features, browsing the competitor’s new release pages and communities are your best bet.
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