ToolsTop CI/CD Pipeline Tools to Master in 2023

Avya Chaudhary · 2023-01-11

Today's software development runs at the healthy intersection of quality with quantity while maintaining optimum speed. An automated and continuous delivery cycle ensures a solid SDLC and in turn, better product quality. That's where CI/CD pipeline tools come into the picture. 

Continuous integration tools involve managing source control versions and bringing automation into your software development flow. Likewise, continuous delivery tools deal with everything related to rollback, deployment strategies, change management, approvals, and testing. An ideal CI/CD pipeline toolstack should not only reduce the need for manual interventions in your delivery cycle but also refine the dev workflow, with added focus on process transparency, and faster updates. 

The software economy is already dazed by the growing presence of CI/CD tools, making teams struggle for the right stack that suits their developmental needs. This list contains the "Top CI/CD pipeline tools engineering teams should use in 2023" and how each one suits different teams and their methodology to get work done. 

Why Are CI/CD Tools So Important?

  • A unified approach towards software development: building, deploying, testing, monitoring, and maintenance; all under the same place, from a single tool stack. 
  • Team handoffs are automated, requiring minimal manual intervention, snowballing into reduced expenses, and better management of time crunches (a consistent engineering problem for decades!)
  • Automation ensures developers now have time to focus on their core tasks, build new features, and don't get consumed with repetitive work.
  • A strong CI/CD pipeline ripples into increased test reliability, shorter resolution time, and a reduced backlog; all leading to faster release rates. 
  • Customer contention by resolving bugs and issues way before users encounter them. 

Only the right use of CI/CD pipeline tools ensures continuous improvement of your team's workflow, development process, products, and services. 

Best CI/CD pipeline tools used by engineering teams

1. Jenkins

Jenkins CI/CD pipeline tool

Hands down, Jenkins was the first CI/CD tool ever developed. How? Once Jenkins got enough recognition as a CI tool, devs created custom scripts over Jenkins to build full deployment, making it a part of CD as well. With around 300,000 known installations in 2022, Jenkins is one of the most widely used open source CI/CD automation servers. It provides over 1,800 plugins for automating projects, making Jenkins highly adaptable to IT environment changes. Plugins also help maintain Jenkins' flexibility; making it a widely deployed tool.  

Jenkins Key Features

  • Easy installation and configuration with its Java-based program that’s self-contained and works out-of-the-box.
  • High extensibility through 1800+ plugins.
  • Smooth integration with cloud platforms like Google Cloud, AWS, Google Cloud, Azure, Atlassian Cloud, and VMWare vSphere Digital Ocean.
  • Jenkins is unopinionated; making it a go-to choice for all kinds of cloud environments, including hybrid, multi-cloud, and complex ones. 
  • An open source community and rich how-to guides, and product documentation to help whenever devs are stuck with Jenkins configuration 

Companies Using Jenkins

Meta, Netflix, Twitch, Udemy, and LinkedIn

Pricing

Users are only charged for hosting services 

2. CircleCI

CircleCI continuous integration tool

Named as a leader in Cloud Native continuous integration by Forrester Wave in 2019, CircleCI is a CI/CD platform for large-scale, open source projects. CircleCI is both a SaaS provider and an on-premise solution offering its services through CircleCI Cloud and CircleCI Server. However, CircleCI is more of a CI tool with an architecture designed for developers, rather than SREs and DevOps engineers, making it ideal for building and testing source code, and not deploying it. 

CircleCI Key Features

  • CircleCI is OS-agnostic and is compatible across Windows, ARM, macOS, and Linux. 
  • A proprietary software consuming artefacts from third-party applications. The connection with Git services offers CircleCi an upper hand in listening to events triggering pipelines or consuming source codebase for builds; making it a developer-friendly platform. 
  • Fast deployment and compatibility with Bitbucket, GitHub, and other major VCSes. CircleCI also integrates well with popular cloud platforms such as AWS, Google Cloud, Azure, and others. However, CircleCI is often known to be SCM agnostic, depending on the tool stack of the engineering team involved. 
  • The parallel testing features allow teams to administer tests in parallel across various executors.
  • Insights dashboard to monitor everything and anything under the CI/CD pipeline, with added focus on workflow status, consumption data, and duration. 
  • An option to optimize resource consumption, including analyzing credit spending, workflow, predictability, and other financial activities. 
  • Reusing configuration of 'orbs' and SOC2 compliance 

Companies Using CircleCI

Accenture, Condé Nast, Spotify, Coinbase, Stitch Fix, BuzzFeed, and Samsung

Pricing

The licensing model begins with a freemium plan providing access to 6,000 build minutes per month. Then you can also opt for higher priced plans that offer more features or go for a customized plan. As soon as a PR is triggered, users are charged $15. CircleCI has a detailed pricing plan for different computes and credits. 

3. GitHub Actions

GitHub Actions

A relatively new CI/CD tool, GitHub Actions allows you to directly come up with custom SDLC workflows within your GitHub Repo. It is well-suited for beginners and provides a free plan that integrates Git concepts with CI automation tools. 

GitHub Actions Key Features

  • Smooth administration of tests across multiple containers by adding support for the docker.
  • Allows users to make, share, reuse, and even fork their software development processes.
  • Its matrix workflows simultaneously run tests across several operating systems and therefore save time.
  • GitHub Actions enables you to handle all administration from a single, centrally-managed location, owing to its integration with GitHub. 
  • Added support for Docker files for multi-container setups 
  • Numerous CI templates, making it easy to get started. 

Companies Using GitHub Actions 

HENNGE K.K, UpstageAI, Typeform, BlaBlaCar, and Bepro Company.

Pricing

The free plan offers about 2000 build minutes per month, the Team plan costs $44 a year and offers 3000 build minutes per month and the Enterprise plan comes at $231 a year with as many as 50,000 build minutes per month. 

4. Bitbucket

Bitbucket

A Git repo management platform, Bitbucket runs automated tests on each push and pull request to help users detect bugs before they escalate into a larger problem. Moreover, Bitbucket also offers continuous delivery lines, inline discussions for comments, IP whitelisting, code merges, and an integrated query management system. 

Bitbucket Key Features

  • A part of Atlassian's product catalog, Bitbucket has a natural integration with Jira and Confluence. 
  • Provides a continuous integration service for Git repositories, enabling developers to use it for building, testing, and deploying their applications conveniently. 
  • Allows developers to easily track the status of their codebase, preventing anyone from breaking the build.
  • Central management of incoming user permissions
  • Bitbucket domain available for all static websites hosted on the company cloud 
  • Cloning through smart mirrors while providing space to transfer status on Bitbucket server 

Companies Using Bitbucket

CRED, Tech Stack, Figma, Hepsiburada and Stack.

Pricing

The first tier of pricing is free and provides 50 build minutes per month. Bitbucket's standard plan is available at $3 per month and the premium is priced at $6 per month.

5. Phabricator

Phabricator

Phabricator is an open source collection of web-based applications that offers continuous integration, review designs, and internal chat channels. 

Phabricator Key Features

  • Supports Git, Mercurial, and Subversion repositories with Diffusion.
  • Allows for post-commit auditing, which could either be a part of the primary workflow or allows rule-based triggers to be checked again.
  • Keeps a track of bugs and award tokens.
  • Phabricator has been primarily meant to assist single users or teams of developers who can locally install the application at no cost and later pay for the cloud-based package through a monthly fee. 

Companies Using Phabricator

Facebook, Robinhood, Wikipedia, Tokopedia and Quora.

Pricing

It has three pricing options: the free plan, the subscription, and the free trial. The subscription starts at $20 per month.

6. Harness

Harness.io CI/CD tool

Harness’s AI-based software delivery platform allows developers to create, test and deploy software on-demand using cloud cost optimization, feature flags, change tracking, and other tools.

Harness Key Features

  • Allows users to simultaneously deploy multiple cloud providers from the same pipeline and facilitates collaboration amongst different stakeholders.
  • Equipped with single sign-on (SSO), role-based access control, and audit capabilities, making it enterprise-ready. 
  • Availability through either SaaS or on-premises software ensures easy installation.
  • The AI delivery platform can help users prioritize which tests to run, automate cloud costs and canary verifications and assess the impact of changes, thereby strengthening the delivery pipeline.

Companies That Use Harness

FreeAgent, Zepto, Astra, and Relicx 

Pricing

The first plan is free and allows users to deploy up to 5 services. Team plan is priced at $100 per service every month and the enterprise plan can be customized.

7. Azure DevOps

Azure DevOps server

Azure DevOps provides a simple way to create CI/CD pipelines to Azure along with several advanced capabilities designed to speed up the development process. Some of these capabilities are Azure Pipelines, Software Delivery Services, and Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS). 

Azure DevOps Key Features

  • Azure boards ensure agile planning, and team visualization, making management easy. 
  • Cloud-agnostic with an option to store private git repositories 
  • Support across npm, Maven, NuGet, and Python for package movement from public and private sources 
  • Flexible across environments, VMs, Kubernetes, and containers 
  • Provides a variety of features such as Version Control Systems, code repository management, and build automation.
  • For any open source project, AzureDevOps offers users ten complimentary parallel tasks along with unlimited build minutes.

Companies Using Azure DevOps

Ruangguru, ViaVarejo, Mews, accuRx, Queue-it and Core Banking.

Pricing

It is priced at $40 per Microsoft-hosted CI/CD parallel job and costs $15 for every extra self-hosted CI/CD parallel job with unlimited minutes.

The Next Step: Getting the Most Out of Your CI/CD Tools

CI/CD is now a decade old and has helped teams to build a solid software delivery pipeline. To maintain a tool stack, teams must introspect over the requirements of development teams and clients, compliance, security, and the evolution of the test automation infrastructure. The CI/CD pipeline and software development trend will continue to mature, with more tools replacing the ones here, or changing their positions. Going forward, the debate wouldn't be about the best CI/CD tools anymore, but how to maximize team workability amidst limited resources and cost crunch.

That's where employing an engineering management platform becomes vital. Hatica helps engineering teams to figure out their CI/CD bottlenecks and create better workflows by mapping activities of all work apps at one place. The idea is to create a 360 degree picture of how the whole SDLC process looks like, along with process improvement, boost visibility, and preserve developer productivity. Discover how Hatica can equip your engineering teams to perform at their best. 

Stay tuned to the Hatica blog for more and request a demo with Hatica today!

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Table of Contents
  • Why Are CI/CD Tools So Important?
  • 1. Jenkins
  • 2. CircleCI
  • 3. GitHub Actions
  • 4. Bitbucket
  • 5. Phabricator
  • 6. Harness
  • 7. Azure DevOps
  • The Next Step: Getting the Most Out of Your CI/CD Tools