Thriving for maximum and optimum efficiency is the primary goal for every software development team. Following the process and methodology of continuous integration (CI) is one of the best ways of reaching higher levels of efficiency.
Selecting the best appropriate CI tool can be challenging, more so if one will use it for the first time. And why is it so important? With so many available DevOps tools for continuous integration, you must understand which one is the best fit for your team’s preferences and requirements. That’s why we are here to help you. Let’s start with what is Continuous Integration in DevOps?
What is Continuous Integration in DevOps? Why is it so Important?
Continuous integration is the process of build automation that verifies every check-in in a shared repository. The main goal of this process is to deliver a bug-free code that is fit for release.
Inside this build, the source code of your program is compiled into a format that the computer can use. Events then trigger the build, or it performs regular checks according to a schedule.
When it comes to creating and developing complex software and programs, more often than not, an entire team is behind the creation and development of the code rather than a single individual. Each developer uses different platforms and tools to develop a code.
A shared repository and built-in continuous integration simplify the process of testing the codes for any errors. Apart from this, other important aspects and benefits of the ongoing integration process are,
- It provides continuous and rapid feedback to detect any errors instantly.
- It also reduces the time taken to review the code.
- The continuous integration process eliminates duplicated codes and the possibility of conflicts while merging the principles in the repository.
- CI speeds up the entire coding and development process with instant bug detection and correction, leading to faster software releases.
- Being robust and reliable tools, CI reduces any backlogs or arrears in the development project.
The process of CI is followed by the continuous delivery (CD) process that aims at automated delivery of changes to the users.
Top 12 CI/CD DevOps Tools for Continuous Integration
Here are 12 of the best DevOps tools in 2021 and beyond.
Concourse is a continuous open-source integration and delivery tool that automates the application and builds tasks efficiently. It was built on the Pivotal Platform in 2014 and was designed to be versatile and safe.
When you configure jobs and resources to form a pipeline, it automatically detects various resource versions and simultaneously adds new builds to the queue. Concourse can quickly scale itself to simple as well as complex channels.
The general approach to automation makes Concourse a great choice when it comes to CI/CD operations.
Buddy is another CI/CD tool used to build, test, and develop the software code. Buddy was mainly designed for working on codes that are part of the Bitbucket and GitHub repositories.
Buddy’s streamlined and intuitive interface has proven to be one of the fastest and most efficient CI/CD tools with a reduced failure rate after deployment.
Other features of Buddy’s platform include its easy-to-use nature that only requires basic knowledge.
3. Apache Gump
Apache Gump is written in Python. It builds and compiles software code against the latest versions of projects. This allows Gump to detect incompatible modifications to that code within a short period (few hours) after such changes are uploaded onto the version control systems.
Buildbot is an open-source CI tool that automates software integration, build and testing processes. It is written in Python over twisted libraries. Buildbot allows the running of the builds on various operating systems like Windows, Linux, BSD, and OSX. Buildbot was constituted as a lightweight substitute to Mozilla’s Tinderbox project.
It supports software configuration management (SCM) integration with software like SVN, CVS, Mercurial, Git, Monotone, and BitKeeper.
Bamboo is a CI tool developed by Atlassian. Bamboo is available in two versions, cloud and server. For the cloud version, Atlassian offers a hosting service with the help of an Amazon EC2 account. For the server version, self-hosting needs to be done. Bamboo supports well known Atlassian products, JIRA and BitBucket.
CircleCI is a CI tool hosted only on GitHub. It supports several languages, including Java, Python, Ruby/Rails, Node.js, PHP, Skala and Haskell. It offers services based on containers. CircleCI offers one container free, and any number of projects can be built on it.
It offers up to five levels of parallelization (1x, 4x, 8x, 12x and 16x). Therefore, maximum parallelization of 16x can be achieved in one build. CircleCI also supports the Docker platform.
Draco.NET is a Windows service application created to enable Continuous Integration for DevOps. Draco.NET can check source control repositories like CVS, Visual SourceSafe, PVCS and SubVersion.
Draco.NET oversees the source code repository and automatically rebuilds the project if changes happen and then emails the build result along with a list of changes since the last build.
8. GitLab CI
GitLab CI is hosted on the free hosting service GitLab.com, and it offers a Git repository management function with features such as access control, bug tracking, and code reviewing.
GitLab CI is completely unified with GitLab, and it can easily be used to link projects using the GitLab API. GitLab CI process builds are coded in the Go language and can execute on several operating systems such as Windows, Linux, Docker, OSX, and FreeBSD.
9. Go CD
Go CD is a CI developed by the company ThoughtWorks. It is available for Windows, OSX, and Linux operating systems. Go CD implements the concept of pipelines which helps in making complex build workflows simple.
It is designed from scratch, and hence, it supports pipelines and thereby removes build process blockages by enabling parallel execution of tasks.
Jenkins is a cross-platform open-source CI tool written in Java. It offers configuration through both the GUI interface and the console commands. Jenkins is a very flexible tool to use because it offers an extension of features through plugins.
Its plugin list is very broad, and one can easily add their plugins to that list. Furthermore, Jenkins can test loads on several machines and distribute software builds.
11. Travis CI
Travis CI is an open-source CI service free for all open source projects hosted on GitHub. Since Travis CI is hosted, it is platform-independent. It is configured using Travis.Yml files which contain actionable data.
Travis CI supports various software languages, and the build configuration for each of those languages is complete. Travis CI uses virtual machines to create applications.
TeamCity is a Java-based sophisticated CI tool offered by JetBrains. It supports Java, Net and Ruby platforms. It also offers integration with several IDEs including, Eclipse, IntelliJ IDEA and Visual Studio.
TeamCity has a range of free plugins available developed both by JetBrains and third parties. Moreover, TeamCity allows the simultaneous running of multiple builds and tests in different platforms and environments.
How to Select the Best Continuous Integration Tool?
The DevOps tools can be categorized into five groups depending on their purpose in the particular stage of the DevOps lifecycle. We have all been accustomed to the essential tools required to implement DevOps; one of them is Continuous Integration. Most CI/CD tools offer similar features and interfaces that automate builds and verify the code. Focusing on your needs and requirements is the most crucial factor that you must keep in mind while choosing a continuous integration tool for your development team.
Ironically, change is the only constant in the technological sector. With constant change and evolution in the various coding languages and repositories, choose a tool that can smoothly adapt to these changes regularly.
Many CI/CD tools have established seamless integrations with other Source Code Management (SCM) solutions like GitHub and CVS. These repositories are used to store the build and source codes. But for local and quick development, it is also vital that the CI tool can work outside these SCM solutions.
The purpose of using CI/CD tools is to simplify your error-detection process. Complex tools with a steep learning curve make it more difficult for the DevOps team to produce efficient results. This is why a CI/CD tool must always be easy to use and learn for all its users.
Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) tools are essential in the current DevOps process. The benefits of efficient CI/CD tools are too many to ignore. Most developers have begun to understand this by implementing these tools in their development strategies.
You must ensure that you weigh in all the pros and cons of each CI/CD tool at the end of the day and choose one suited to provide the best results as per your requirements.
At Maruti Techlabs, we have successfully incorporated TeamCity as a continuous integration tool and Sonarqube as an inspection tool in the respective steps of DevOps. We use Amazon Web Services (AWS) as a virtualization tool for cloud computing and launching virtual servers. With our DevOps consulting services & agile practices, we deliver the highest quality products and automate workflows through rapid and incremental iterations.