Continuous Delivery (CD)
Octopus Deploy vs Harness
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Harness DevOps Tools Vs. Octopus Deploy
*Last Updated: 3/31/2021
Detailed Feature Comparison
Harness CD Vs. Octopus Deploy
Automation is grand, and Octopus thrives on it. Automated deployments: define your deployment process once, and choose from over 450 templated deployment steps in order to say goodbye to scripting. Automated runbooks: recovery processes, routine maintenance, and emergency operations tasks (like restarting web servers or resetting caches) can be automated and reused. Octopus Deploy allows for dev and test environments to be self-service, but prod deployments can be limited. It is very opinionated software, but does provide “escape hatches” as they call them, to allow for flexibility, should you disagree with how Octopus does things. They also have a nifty tutorial builder that builds upon your selected tech stack. Lastly, Octopus provides transparency to their users, offering a roadmap of features they plan to implement and release in the coming months. Overall, we rate Octopus Deploy as medium because of the learning curve, and because some of the features that make it “easier” also make it a bit too basic, in a way. For example, not having to write YAML might be great for newbies, but for people who like writing their own code, it’s off-putting. We like to err on the side of caution and give both options, so beginners and experts alike can enjoy their experience with the product. When comparing the initial setup and configuration of the platform, Harness comes out as the winner with time-to-value achievable within minutes, and a simple UI that is much more intuitive.
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. Octopus Deploy claims “there cannot be an automated rollback process” and instead recommends rolling forward. 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.
An area of improvement for Octopus Deploy would be secrets management. They handle secrets with AES128 encryption – and that’s about it. There are no supported third party providers, which makes it a questionable choice in heavily-regulated industries that require high governance and compliance standards. Harness, on the other hand, offers built-in secrets management. No third parties are required, but all of the major secrets managers are supported.
A quick note about audit trails in Octopus Deploy. Events that are logged are, in essence, changes. For example, anything new, deleted, or edited will be audited, including who was responsible for the change. However, Octopus does not save login/logout info or when data is read, unless there is sensitive information at play. 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. Octopus Deploy does not provide native Accelerate metrics dashboards. 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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