Harness provides a simple, safe, and secure way for engineering and DevOps teams across all industries and maturities to accelerate building, testing, and delivery of software artifacts.
At Optimizely, we're on a mission to help people unlock their digital potential. With our leading digital experience platform (DXP), we equip teams with the tools and insights they need to create and optimize in new and novel ways.
Optimizely is categorized as:
Harness Feature Flags vs. Optimizely
January 30, 2022
Developers, Product Managers, Ops, Eng Managers
Intelligent and automated feature flags
<with><with> SaaS, On-Prem Coming Soon
All Major Languages
<with><with> Coming Soon
<yes><yes> RBAC, SSO, More in Progress
<yes><yes> Reporting Across SDLC
Funnel analysis, feature adoption, A/B test
<no><no> SaaS Only
All Major Languages (Except .NET)
<with><with> Limited to FF Data
Delivering software is a process that starts at building an application. In the same way, feature flags should provide value to teams at each phase of the software delivery lifecycle. It’s not just about shipping code faster and creating improvements for users; feature flags should also make daily operations easier, and provide visibility and management ability. Harness Feature Flags was built to support all of these use cases across Developers, Product Managers, Operations, and Engineering Managers.
The focus is unleashing the power of feature flags for software delivery teams holistically. And while Harness focuses on a developer-first experience, the same workflows and processes are built to support software delivery teams where they struggle the most. Hint: it’s not just shipping features.
Optimizely only offers a SaaS version of their product. Harness currently offers a SaaS version, but is implementing an on-premise iteration as well. It should be available soon - if you’re interested in using this now, contact us to be part of the beta!
When building Feature Flags, Harness focused heavily on the developer experience - developers are, after all, the true arbiters of feature flags. Our intent was to make sure that the setup process is fast and intuitive, and that teams can get started and see value from feature flags right away. As of today, we don’t see this sort of first-class support for developers coming from Optimizely. In fact, with their primary focus being on marketing teams for web experiences, we’re not confident that they ever will create this support.
Harness features a visual drag-and-drop pipeline builder that supports hundreds of integrations, and this is a standard part of the Harness platform. Users unlock automated progressive delivery, and Harness uniquely allows for automated feature verification so that users don’t have to monitor stages of their rollout and can truly automate rollout and kill switches.
Optimizely, as a third-party tool, is completely abstracted from your CI/CD process, which perpetuates the view that feature flags are an ancillary step. Ideally, this view would be abolished. And of course, this isn’t even the group of users that Optimizely built their product for - why would they support this at all?
At Harness, we view feature flags as a crucial part of the CI/CD pipeline - and as such, it becomes a natural step in the everyday workflow of development teams and is integrated into CI/CD as a unified pipeline. This allows for users to get visibility into any change from code to release, and create standardized and automated processes across all stages of the SDLC.
As part of the Harness platform, users also can rest easy knowing that they can get a full audit log, manage teams with security like RBAC, share environments and APIs, and see cross-platform analytics. Of course, all of this is available for just Harness Feature Flags, and its power is more pronounced on the platform.
Optimizely’s user focus is on marketing teams for web experimentation. However, it’s typically the developer teams who are the arbiters of feature flags, with experimentation being a resulting capability. At Harness, we chose to focus on the development point of the value chain.
It’s important to meet developers where they are and work within their processes. With Harness, teams have the ability to create pipelines visually and combine that with a pipelines-as-code or config-as-code approach; visual pipelines create YAML files that can be changed to reflect back into the visual pipeline, and these can automatically be synced with Git so changes are reflected immediately and without added effort, all from within our platform.
Harness and Optimizely support all major languages, both server-side and client-side (except for Optimizely not supporting .NET). However, it would be unjust not to mention that Optimizely had a headstart and supports more SDKs for now. Harness Feature Flags has been on the market since July 2021 and supports a total of 10 SDKs. Optimizely supports 13, and it’s only a matter of time until Harness far outpaces the rate of SDK support from Optimizely because of our developer-first focus.
Harness initially pioneered the concept of Continuous Verification in the software delivery space. Having battle-tested the capability over years with hundreds of customers, the ability to have Harness automatically monitor deployments and take appropriate rollout or rollback options is extended into Harness Feature Flags. A unique capability in the world of feature flags, users can use the ML-based automated verification feature to have Harness automatically verify the health of live features and take appropriate remediation action should things go wrong - it obviates the need for users to manually monitor and make changes during a feature rollout.
At Harness, we take security extremely seriously, as evidenced by our DevSecOps approach. We took the same views with Feature Flags, ensuring RBAC was available from inception, with more controls coming soon. We don’t see the same level of investment in security and access control from Optimizely as of today - a key piece of evaluating any feature flags solution.
Harness takes governance and compliance seriously, providing CI/CD users with fine-grained RBAC, audit trails, many ways to manage secrets, and more. We’ve taken that same approach with Feature Flags and are investing heavily in the area, letting teams build rules and processes, and helping automate cleanup and flag management. Starting with RBAC and audit logs, there are plenty of future enhancements on the roadmap for this piece of the puzzle.
Since Optimizely is a standalone feature flags tool, reporting and dashboards are limited to data within the tool itself - understandably so. Harness, however, is in the process of linking Feature Flags data to the rest of the software development lifecycle, and as such, will provide reporting and dashboards for all products in the same easily-accessible place. Harness is actually the only platform on the market that brings together analytics across the whole SDLC into one place - one tool to rule them all, one tool to bind them.
But what if you’re using only feature flags and don’t care about CI/CD? Harness provides the most complete visibility into feature flags of any tool on the market. Any bit of data that’s related to your feature flags use and operation, you can visualize in Harness to create custom dashboards to show exactly what you need at any time.
*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.
Interested in seeing whats under the hood? Browse through the Harness Continuous Delivery (CD) Product.
Don’t just take our word for it, see why customers love Harness Continuous Delivery (CD) as compared to our competition.
Sam Hall, Head of Technology, Metrikus
Sam Hall, Head of Technology, Metrikus