Continuous Delivery (CD)
Jenkins X vs Harness
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Harness DevOps Tools Vs. Jenkins X
*Last updated: 3/31/2021
Detailed Feature Comparison
Harness CD Vs. Jenkins X
Jenkins X 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.
Jenkins X was created as a cloud-native version of Jenkins, and with that comes Kubernetes, pipeline automation, GitOps, Terraform, secrets management, and more. All this to say, compared to the OG Jenkins, this is a treasure trove of modern features. Less toil, fewer setup issues, no scripting. Fewer person hours on maintenance. Fewer plugins. Easy scaling. But – let’s switch the focus from Jenkins X vs. Jenkins, and look at what we’re all really after: Jenkins X vs. Harness. From a general standpoint, Jenkins X could use further improvement. The tool’s UI is complex, it doesn’t offer good error messaging (ie: why did my build fail?), and lacks integrations. Jenkins X has only a few plugins to its name as well, most of them in this GitHub repo. While Jenkins X is an open-source solution, the cost required to maintain it often makes it an inefficient solution. And, again, as it is an open-source product, bugs can sometimes take a long time to be addressed/fixed and documentation could definitely be more in-depth. Harness, on the other hand, saves developers and DevOps time and effort. Harness also boasts a super simple, sleek UI. Additionally, Harness eliminates plugin and integration maintenance by running everything as containers. Getting a simple pipeline up takes 15 minutes, ensuring time-to-value is minimal.
Canary deployments are possible in Jenkins X thanks to a Kubernetes operator named Flagger. Copied from their GitHub repo: Flagger implements several deployment strategies (Canary releases, A/B testing, Blue/Green mirroring) using a service mesh (App Mesh, Istio, Linkerd) or an ingress controller (Contour, Gloo, NGINX, Skipper, Traefik) for traffic routing. For release analysis, Flagger can query Prometheus, Datadog, New Relic or CloudWatch and for alerting it uses Slack, MS Teams, Discord and Rocket. It’s a bit involved to get canary deployments going on Jenkins X. 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 X 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 X does not offer native secrets management capabilities, but it comes pretty close. It leverages Kubernetes External Secrets, an open-source tool created by GoDaddy engineers, which integrates with third-party secret management tools, such as HashiCorp Vault, AWS Secrets Manager, Azure Key Vault, and Google Secret Manager. 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 X does not feature native audit trail capabilities, though if you employ GitOps, there will be audit through that. 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 X does not provide native Accelerate metrics dashboards, which is odd considering the emphasis it places on following Accelerate capabilities as standards. 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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