CloudBees, at the KubeCon + CloudNativeCon 2019 conference this week, announced it has added a graphical user interface (GUI) to its distribution of Jenkins X, an open source continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) platform optimized for Kubernetes environments.
Mortiz Plassnig, vice president of cloud for CloudBees, says as users other than developers started interacting with Jenkins X, it became apparent there is a need to provide another way to interact with the CI/CD platform beyond providing the current command line interface (CLI). As more companies realize their business models revolve around software development, Plassnig says everyone from product owners to application designers needs to be able to track workflows and progress via the CI/CD platform.
The Jenkins X project created by CloudBees is now part of the Continuous Delivery Foundation (CDF), an arm of the Linux Foundation. The CDF now has 33 members after being launched by CapitalOne, CircleCI, CloudBees, Google, Huawei, IBM, jFrog, Netflix and Salesforce.
Plassnig says the decision to adopt Jenkins X is being driven by the need for a more opinionated CI/CD platform based around GitOps best practices that makes it simpler to build and deploy applications based on hundreds of microservices at scale. Some organizations may prefer to leverage their existing investments in Jenkins to build those applications. However, the more microservices-based applications organizations build and deploy on Kubernetes, the clearer it will become there is a need for a different approach to CI/CD, he says.
However, a debate is emerging around what degree CI and CD should be integrated in the age of Kubernetes. As in the case of monolithic application environments, CloudBees is making a case for using a common toolchain across both CI and CD. However, others are starting to contend it’s more efficient to deploy a separate CD platform to allow Kubernetes to pull code from a CI pipeline rather than relying on an integrated CI/CD platform to push code on to the Kubernetes cluster. Proponents of this approach note that despite the existence of CI/CD platforms, very few organizations are employing CD today because it’s too difficult to integrate manage both CI and CD together. However, Plassnig contends that rather than giving up on the potential benefits of having a single CI/CD platform, organizations that adopt Kubernetes will find it much easier to achieve that goal because of the inherent robustness of Kubernetes clusters when compared to the fragile nature of most legacy IT infrastructure.
As a secondary benefit, Plassnig notes Jenkins X also provides a higher level of abstraction that makes it easier to deploy Kubernetes clusters. As organizations launch multiple application development projects, Jenkins X makes it simpler for DevOps teams to spin up Kubernetes clusters without any intervention from a dedicated IT infrastructure team required.
It’s too early to say precisely how DevOps best practices will evolve as Kubernetes starts to gain more traction. However, more organizations than ever will be defining best DevOps processes that will be adopted more widely across the enterprise.