Continuous integration (CI) and continuous deployment (CD) leverage the power of automation to build, test and deploy software. One particular CI/CD tool, Jenkins, has long been the gold standard in DevOps — but newer paid contenders, such as Bamboo, might challenge Jenkins’ supremacy. Read on to compare the features of DevOps tools Bamboo and Jenkins.
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What is Bamboo?
Bamboo is a continuous integration server offered by Atlassian. Bamboo allows you to automate the release management of a software application, creating a continuous delivery. This CI/CD tool enables your DevOps team to spend less time creating and running time-intensive yet redundant scripts and more time building the code that matters.
What is Jenkins?
Jenkins offers an open source way to create a continuous integration and continuous delivery environment. Over the past decade, Jenkins has become the de facto standard in CI/CD tools due to its open source nature and free price tag. However, some newer market entrants — including Bamboo — are now challenging Jenkins’ traditional approach and interface.
Feature comparison: Bamboo vs Jenkins
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Branch builds help software teams work in parallel and keep works in progress separate from tested code that is ready to go. Branch builds help stop you from accidentally publishing code that is not ready to go. Unfortunately, Jenkins only recently started offering built-in branch management functionality, and many users say that it feels tacked on and can’t compare to the seamless experience offered by certain competitors. There are some branch management plug-ins out there that you can add yourself, but that’s an extra step you will have to take if you want a more robust version of branch management in Jenkins.
Bamboo does offer integrated branch management, which is in keeping with its approach as a comprehensive CI/CD solution. Bamboo has offered this built-in feature for longer than Jenkins has and it is much more comprehensive and easier to use. If branch management is important to your DevOps team and you want the smoothest experience, Bamboo is a more solid bet.
Unfortunately, Jenkins does not include built-in deployment as part of the basic package. Since it has been around so long, and deployment is such a critical part of DevOps, there are multiple plug-ins you can install to automate deployment. However, this is an additional hoop you will have to jump through — and definitely a necessary one, given how time consuming it is to write and run deployment scripts from scratch.
In contrast, Bamboo includes automated deployment as part of its software package, so you don’t have to hunt for a plug-in that will automate this process the way you want it to. Considering how integral deployment is, this is a big point in Bamboo’s favor and a reason why many DevOps reams find it worth the financial investment compared to Jenkins.
Jenkins is open source, which is a huge reason for its widespread popularity and its position as the industry standard CI/CD tool. Its open source nature means that more than 1,800 plug-ins created by the community are available for your use. However, this can be a bit of a double-edged sword, because there’s no guarantee that these plug-ins will be maintained by whoever created them, which could potentially leave you scrambling for a fix if one breaks.
Bamboo is closed source, and has a price tag to match. While it does offer plug-ins, there are fewer options available than for Jenkins. However, Bamboo has more functionality built into the native tool itself, such as the automated deployment discussed above, and you can rest assured knowing that Atlassian is maintaining and updating the tool frequently.
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Choosing between Bamboo and Jenkins
Jenkins and Bamboo each take a different approach to CI/CD work. Jenkins is more of a legacy product and takes a more traditional approach to integration and deployment. This history means that it has extensive documentation and lots of plug-ins, and that it is commonly known in the industry (so anyone you hire in DevOps has probably worked with Jenkins at some point). The free price tag also continues to be one of Jenkins’ main differentiating factors and can be a big sell for bootstrap startups that need to make things work on a shoestring budget.
On the other hand, Bamboo is proof that you get what you pay for when it comes to CI/CD resources. Not only is its interface more updated than Jenkins, it offers more out-of-the-box functionality, which means you never have to worry about an essential open source plug-in breaking because it hasn’t been maintained frequently enough. If you’ve got the budget and are looking for a next-generation CI/CD tool, Bamboo is definitely worth your consideration.
That being said, Jenkins and Bamboo aren’t the only CI/CD options that are available to your company. Check out our other DevOps tool comparisons to find the perfect one for your company’s needs.