Continuous Delivery (CD)
Jenkins vs Harness
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Harness DevOps Tools Vs. Jenkins
*Last updated: 3/31/2021
Detailed Feature Comparison
Harness CD Vs. Jenkins
Jenkins is an open-source solution, and as such, only offers an on-prem version. Harness provides both on-prem and SaaS versions of the product, which adds appeal for those who don’t want to manage or maintain backend servers.
One of the major pain points of Jenkins is the sheer amount of toil it takes to operate. This includes initial setup, scripting to extend the solution to a viable CD candidate, and then maintaining it. In fact, we’ve calculated that it takes between 2 to 5 engineers just to maintain Jenkins on a daily basis. Many organizations use Jenkins because it’s an open-source solution, but the cost required to maintain it often makes it an inefficient solution. Harness, on the other hand, incorporates declarative pipelines with minimal maintenance overhead. Using Harness saves developers and DevOps time and effort.
Jenkins… Where did you go wrong? Is it that you’re a decade old? Is it that you depend on plugins and scripts? Is it that you weren’t initially designed to be cloud-native? It’s a little bit of “all of the above.” The simple fact is that engineers will need some number of plugins/scripts in order to get Jenkins to work the way they need it to. That, in turn, requires maintenance – and opens engineers up to the dependency hell that is Jenkins. Harness, on the other hand, has a super simple, sleek UI. While there may be a learning curve, there is no need for scripting as pipelines are declarative.
Jenkins wasn’t designed to be cloud-native, but developers and DevOps teams have been making it work for years. There is a group of contributors and collaborators focusing on improving Jenkins’ cloud capabilities. For instance, they’ve created a Jenkins Kubernetes operator. While it’s definitely progress, albeit slow, we frankly don’t believe that CI/CD should be that hard.
As we mentioned, Jenkins wasn’t designed to be cloud-native, so this is the one thing it does well. But, Harness does it too – among a plethora of other things.
There is absolutely no native Canary deployment strategy with Jenkins. Sure, you can manually script a Canary deployment to a Kubernetes cluster with some serious edits to a Jenkinsfile, but it’s not easy. Harness provides guided Canary deployments out of the box – no coding required, only some minor config.
Continuous Verification is the process of monitoring your app for abnormalities after a deployment. For example, Continuous Verification could catch a latency issue or 5xx errors and automatically roll back your app to the previous version. The idea is to catch errors as quickly as possible – ideally, before customers notice – and make a seamless transition back to the prior version. Jenkins does not provide Continuous Verification. Harness, however, provides Continuous Verification out of the box, effectively reducing risk and reputational damage from downtime. Harness supports many vendors, including Prometheus, Datadog, AppDynamics, New Relic, StackDriver, CloudWatch, and custom monitoring and observability tools.
Jenkins does not offer native secrets management capabilities. There are many ways to do it through a third party, such as HashiCorp Vault or Helm Secrets. Harness, on the other hand, offers built-in secrets management. No third parties are required, but all of the major secrets managers are supported.
Jenkins does not feature native audit trail capabilities. To get audit trails, you must depend on plugins. Harness provides audit trails on every pipeline, workflow, step, execution, and change. It’s all audited by Harness so you have a complete trail of all user activity.
There are four key metrics when it comes to software development: Lead Time (the average amount of time it takes from the time code is checked in to the version control system to the point in time where it is deployed to production), Deployment Frequency (the number of times deploys to production occur in a time period), Mean Time to Restore (MTTR: how long it takes to resolve or rollback an issue in production), and Change Failure Rate (what percentage of changes to production fail). These metrics are paramount in truly understanding performance. Jenkins does not provide native Accelerate metrics dashboards – you must depend on third party integrations to achieve desired reporting. Harness offers a beautiful dashboard specifically for these metrics and allows you to set alerts as needed – for example, you could set an alert to notify you if the Change Failure Rate goes above 1%.
*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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