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16 Jenkins Alternatives for Continuous Integration in 2021

by Iris Chubb, on Jun 1, 2021 9:45:00 PM

There's one of two reasons you're here. Either you're already sick and tired of Jenkins or you've heard the horror stories and want to avoid it like the plague. There are dozens of Jenkins alternatives to choose from and they all claim to be the fastest, most convenient, best value, best looking, etc. It's difficult to know where to start. We've created a concise summary and comparison of all the main alternatives along with a guide of what you need to know before making a decision below. 

Jenkins is one of the most popular DevOps tools, originally designed with one purpose in mind: be a great build automation server. It’s free and open-source, built for developers, and has lots and lots of plugins that you can configure to build anything. 

People love Jenkins for two main reasons: The impressive plugin library boasting over 1,700 plugins that extend the tool's functionality, and the stability it brings being a self-managed tool. But for every person that loves Jenkins, there are two that claim it’s the worst thing since unsliced bread. The ability to customize every Jenkins instance and experience creates confusing and complicated chaos. Many teams also find that their Jenkins expert quickly becomes a bottleneck.

As teams grow and develop a need for continuous delivery, they often find themselves looking for Jenkins alternatives. Jenkins wasn't built for CD -- and Jenkins Pipelines are not Continuous Delivery Pipelines -- but plenty of Jenkins users do CD every day. It might work for small jobs, in the same way that a knife could be used to tighten a screw. Jenkins putters along and get's the job done, but it's understandable when someone finally wants to switch to a tool designed to handle CICD.

It's not possible to do side-by-side comparisons with any of the following tools. They're all different and can all replace or augment Jenkins in one way. But we've done our research and created this in-depth analysis for those looking to escape Jenkins.

This is an in-depth analysis for those looking to escape Jenkins or those who are looking for an alternative before committing.

Tools We Compared to Jenkins

What to Consider When Switching from Jenkins

When considering a CI tool for your team, there’s long list of important criteria to consider: the difficulty of use, who’s hosting, capability of the tool, and of course cost.

Self-managed vs. Vendor-managed (SaaS)

Jenkins is self-managed and can be hosted in the cloud or on-premise. There are many benefits to self-management, which is one reason many people continue to choose Jenkins.

Self-management allows you to control updates and upgrade on your own schedule. That means you’re can evaluate and learn new features before committing instead of them surprisingly coming in; this helps reduce training and frustration of your users when things go down. Speaking of downtime, self-management means that your team can roll back to old versions if things ever do go wrong.

On the other hand, Vendor-managed (SaaS) tools come with the upside of simplicity but at the price of customizability and stability. Vendors update on their watch and aren’t as responsive to downtime as an internal team.

Many tools on this list are vendor-managed only. Switching management models is a much larger decision than simply switching tools and should be carefully considered. 

Pricing Model & Cost

Jenkins is free, and all alternatives on this list have a free version. However, most alternatives have a commercial offering. Some pricing structures are very simple, others are rather confusing.

Here are some license types:

  • Per User: Individual team members you have accounts/logins for
  • Per Remote Agent: Run on computers, other than the CI server, which allows users to use different environments for each build project, balancing the workload among multiple agents running projects in parallel
  • Per Concurrent Job: Every push to the repository starts a new build with a single or multiple jobs. Multiple concurrent jobs allow your team to get faster results

Note: A few vendor-hosted (Saas) plans offer "credit" or "per-minute" based pricing. These tend to be confusing and impossible to budget for. 

Capabilities

Some of the following alternatives are "CI Only", which is the closest to Jenkins. However, because a CI platform can serve as a general-purpose automation tool, you can use it for all sorts of workflows and development practices - including deployment and even running scripts for operations. However, like Jenkins, CI Tools weren't designed to do more than CI and bring serious limitations to businesses. CI tools aren't natively equipped to be an end-to-end CI/CD tool because it was never designed as one. 

CI/CD tools are designed to handle everything from source control to production. Using a CI/CD tool means you can not only replace Jenkins but also use the tool to deploy. Most tools require you to use their pipelines and need to fully replace Jenkins to work.

A few tools can do both CI/CD and CD with Jenkins. This means continuing to use Jenkins as your CI server in some cases (but having the tool take care of everything else on the way to production). They can also do CI/CD and fully replace Jenkins. Using one of these tools gives you flexibility and makes migration much easier.

"Monolith" tools were originally designed as source control repositories but gradually had additional features tacked on over the years. Eventually, these tools had enough extra features and tools added that they were able to handle all aspects of the software development process from idea to execution. "Monoliths" include everything from source control, issues, and are designed to be the one-and-only tool to host, develop, deploy, your software. They're expensive, and their strength is typically in source control. These are often only worth their price if your team plans on using every tool provided. 

Measuring Team Sizes

Measuring team size is difficult since businesses run very differently from one another. Small teams can be a single person and enterprise teams can be over 500. Below is a guide for what we assume the average small, medium, large, and enterprise business look like:

  Small Medium Large Enterprise
Users 20 50 100 250
Remote Agents 10 25 100 250
Concurrent Jobs 1-2 5 10 10+

 

Note: This list is up-to-date as of June 2021. Many of these products, prices, and services are updated bi-weekly.


BuildMaster (Inedo)

✔ Self-managed (on prem) Option ⚠ No vendor/cloud-hosting (SaaS)
👤 User-based Pricing ✔ CI/CD or CD with Jenkins
 

BuildMaster is a full CI/CD tool, which can deploy from Jenkins if you choose. Inedo designed BuildMaster to support legacy applications and the processes and other tools you already use. Only you and your team can decide what tools will get each CI job done right, which is why BuildMaster's Continuous Integration feature is just one of the CI options for BuildMaster.

BuildMaster Sample Pricing by Team Size

Small Medium Large Enterprise
Free $4,495 $9,745 $29,995
annual pricing based on listed prices and our [team size estimates]
 

BuildMaster vs Jenkins

According to the official Jenkins vs BuildMaster Guide, BuildMaster is an especially great Jenkins alternative for shops doing CI and CD. Jenkins was always meant to be a CI tool, so even though it has added on a CD extension, it's CD is minimally functional for most mature shops. BuildMaster has been a CI/CD tool from the start, rather than adding extra functionality after-the-fact, giving you end-to-end pipeline power.


TeamCity (JetBrains)

✔ Self-managed (on prem) Option ✔ Vendor/cloud-managed (SaaS) Option
💻 Agent-based pricing (self-managed)
😵 SaaS pricing is based on "build credits"
⚠ CI Only (separate CD required)
 

TeamCity is positioned as "hassle-free Continuous Integration" and a "powerful continuous integration for DevOps-centric teams", and like Jenkins, can serve as a general-purpose automation tool that allows the most flexibility for all sorts of workflows and development practices.

TeamCity (Self-managed) Pricing by Team Size

Small Medium Large Enterprise
Free $5,999 $12,999 $21,999
Annual pricing based on listed prices and our team size estimates.
 

TeamCity (Cloud-managed) Pricing by Team Size

Small Medium Large Enterprise
✗ Not available $3,600 $9,000 ⚠ Contact Sales
Annual pricing based on listed prices and our team size estimates.

 TeamCity vs Jenkins

We couldn't find a comparison by JetBrains. However, from looking over the features and screenshots, it's pretty clear that JetBrains has invested a lot in making a Jenkins alternative that's much easier to use out of the box. TeamCity has advanced CI and build-automation capabilities that are you could probably achieve in Jenkins, if you knew which plugins to use, and how. 


Circle CI

⚠ Limited self-managed (on-prem Option) ✔ Vendor/cloud-managed (SaaS) Option
😵 Credit system charges based on users and computing type. ⚠ CI Only (separate CD required)
 

CircleCI is a cloud-native Continuous Integration tool that oversees the setup, security, and maintenance of instances.

Circle CI (Self-managed) Pricing by Team Size

Small Medium Large Enterprise
⚠ Custom Quote:  Circle CI "Scale" performance plan offers self-management.
Annual pricing based on listed prices and our team size estimates.
 

Circle CI (Cloud-managed) Pricing by Team Size

Small Medium Large Enterprise
Free ⚠ Custom Quote: Circle CI "Performance" plans start at $30.
Annual pricing based on listed prices and our team size estimates.
 

Circle CI vs Jenkins

According to Circle CI's official Jenkins comparison guide: "On Jenkins, teams of on-call engineers often spend their time installing dependencies and troubleshooting complex issues. On CircleCI, all builds start in a clean environment and can be quickly debugged with SSH access. And, features like parallelism and customizable RAM and CPU help teams maximize build efficiency across projects."


 

Bamboo (Atlassian)

✔ Self-managed (on prem) Option   ⚠ No vendor/cloud-hosting (SaaS)
💻 Per-agent Pricing ⚠ CI Only (separate CD required)
 

Bamboo is a Continuous Integration server that supports multi-stage build plans, parallel automated tests, triggers to start builds upon commits, and agents to distribute your critical builds and deployments.

Bamboo (Self-managed) Pricing by Team Size

Small Medium Large Enterprise
$10 $14,500 $29,100 $72,700
Annual pricing based on listed prices and our team size estimates. Small team estimate offers NO remote agents. Enterprise offers 1000 remote agents.
 

Bamboo vs Jenkins

According to Bamboo's official comparison guide, Bamboo offers Built-in Git branching workflows, Built-in deployment Projects, Built-in Jira Software integration, and Built-in Bitbucket Server integration.


GitLab

⚠ Limited self-managed (on-prem Option) ✔ Vendor/cloud-managed (SaaS) Option
👤 User-based Pricing ⚠ Monolithic development platform
 

GitLab is a "DevOps platform" that serves as the single application to handle everything your IT organization may need: service desk, issue tracking, wiki, source code repositories, code review, continuous integration, vulnerability management, feature flags, ChatOps, infrastructure as code, logging, error tracking, and security orchestration.  

GitLab has two different pricing tiers (Premium and Ultimate) , each which provide different access to different features of the platform.

GitLab (Premium Plan) Pricing by Team Size

Small Medium Large Enterprise
Free $14,500 $29,100 $150,000
Annual pricing based on listed prices and our team size estimates. Free vendor-managed users will get 400 CI/CD minutes per month. Paid vendor-managed users will get 10,000 CI/CD minutes per month. 
 

GitLab (Ultimate Plan) Pricing by Team Size

Small Medium Large Enterprise
$23,760 $59,400 $118,800 $297,000
Annual pricing based on listed prices and our team size estimates. Vendor-managed users will get 50,000 CI/CD minutes per month. 
 

GitLab vs Jenkins

According to GitLab's official Jenkins comparison chart, GitLab outshines Jenkins in most fields including managing, planning, packaging, and defending functions. GitLab offers a list of technical criteria that Jenkins is missing. 


Buddy

✔ Self-managed (on prem) Option  ✔ Vendor/cloud-managed (SaaS) Option
👤 User-based Pricing ⚠ CI/CD Only (can't integrate Jenkins)
 

Buddy is an open-source tool CI/CD software to help organizations deploy their applications with an average time of 12 seconds.

Buddy (Self-managed) Pricing by Team Size

Small Medium Large Enterprise
$8,400 $16,800 $42,000 ⚠ Custom Quote
Annual pricing based on listed prices and our team size estimates.
 

Buddy (Cloud-hosted) Pricing by Team Size

Small Medium Large Enterprise
Free $12,480 $48,360 $96,120
Annual pricing based on listed prices and our team size estimates. Small Team (2 Concurrent Jobs + 2 parallel actions + 2GB & 2vCPU), Medium Team (5 Concurrent Jobs + 4GB & 2 vCPU + 2 parallel), Large Team (10 Concurrent Jobs + 8GB & 4vCPU + 4 parallel actions), Enterprise teams (10 Concurrent Jobs + 8GB & 4vCPU + 4 parallel actions)
 

Buddy vs Jenkins

According to Buddy's official Jenkins comparison guide, Buddy focuses on their ability to pipeline setup speed and performance. Buddy claims"15-minute configuration via GUI with instant export to YAML," and "Dependencies and Docker layers are cached in isolated containers optimized for performance."


Travis CI

⚠ Limited self-managed (on-prem Option) ✔ Vendor/cloud-managed (SaaS) Option
🛠 Per-job Pricing + 😵Credit based pricing
 ⚠ CI Only (separate CD required)
 

Travis CI is an open-source CI service used to build and test projects. Travis CI automatically detects new commits made and pushed to a GitHub repository. And after every new code commit, Travis CI will build the project and run tests accordingly. The tool provides support for many build configurations and languages like Node, PHP, Python, Java, Perl, and so on.

Travis CI (Self-managed) Pricing by Team Size

Small Medium Large Enterprise
⚠ Custom Quote: Self-managed (On-prem) plans are custom.
Annual pricing based on listed prices and our team size estimates.

Travis CI (Cloud-hosted) Pricing by Team Size

Small Medium Large Enterprise
Free $1,491 $2,379 ⚠ Custom Quote
Annual pricing based on listed prices and our team size estimates. Free users get 10000 Credits to use. Medium teams (2 Concurrent Jobs), Large teams (5 Concurrent Jobs), Enterprise teams (5 Concurrent Jobs)

Travis CI vs Jenkins

According to the Travis CI's official Jenkins comparison guide, their modern UI and API allows your team to have a great experience whether they use Travis CI Enterprise with their web browser or command line client. In addition, Travis CI is easy to maintain upgrade.


Drone

✗ No self-managed (on prem) Option ✔ Vendor/cloud-managed (SaaS) Option
⚠ Custom Quote Pricing  ⚠ CI Only (separate CD required)
 

Drone is a self-service Continuous Integration platform for busy development teams.

Drone (Self-managed) Pricing by Team Size

Small Medium Large Enterprise
⚠ Custom Quote: Self-managed (On-prem) plans are custom.
Annual pricing based on listed prices and our team size estimates.
 

Drone vs Jenkins

Drone doesn't have an official comparison chart. However, Drone has spent a lot of time focusing on adaptability and flexibility. Drone works with both Linux-based and Microsoft-based technologies, and also "works with any language, database or service that runs inside a Docker container. Choose from thousands of public Docker images or provide your own."


CloudBees CodeShip

⚠ Limited self-managed (on-prem Option) ✔ Vendor/cloud-managed (SaaS) Option
🛠 Per-Concurrent Build Pricing ⚠ CI/CD Only (can't integrate Jenkins)
 

CloudBees CodeShip is a Software as a Service (SaaS) solution that empowers engineering teams to implement and optimize CI and CD in the cloud. It helps small and growing teams develop everything from simple web applications to modern microservice architectures to achieve fast, secure and frequent code delivery.

CodeShip (Cloud-hosted) Basic Pricing by Team Size

Small Medium Large Enterprise
$588 $1,188 $4,788 $4,788
Annual pricing based on listed prices and our team size estimates. Small teams (1 Concurrent Build), Medium teams (2 Concurrent Builds), Large (5 Concurrent Builds)
 

CodeShip (Cloud-hosted) Pro Pricing by Team Size

Small Medium Large Enterprise
$900 $3,576 $14,352 $71,880
Annual pricing based on listed prices and our team size estimates. Small teams (1 Concurrent Build + 1-3 Parallel Tests), Medium teams (2 Concurrent Builds + 3-5 Parallel Tests), Large teams (5 Concurrent Builds + 6-10 Parallel Tests), Enterprise teams (10 Concurrent Builds + 14-18 Parallel Tests)
 

CodeShip vs Jenkins

CloudBees doesn't have an official comparison guide for their CodeShip product, either for Jenkins or for their "CloudBees Jenkins Platform" service. However, CodeShip's features and documentation show CodeShip focuses on providing simple setup, deployment, and GitHub integration. 



AppVeyor

⚠ Limited self-managed (on-prem Option) ✔ Vendor/cloud-managed (SaaS) Option
🛠 Per-Concurrent Job Pricing ⚠ CI Only (separate CD required)
 

AppVeyor is an open-source Continuous Integration solution for Windows and Linux.

AppVeyor (Self-managed) Pricing by Team Size

Small Medium Large Enterprise
⚠ Custom Quote: Self-managed (On-prem) plans are custom.
Annual pricing based on listed prices and our team size estimates.
 

AppVeyor (Cloud-hosted) Pricing by Team Size

Small Medium Large Enterprise
$590 $990 $1,590 $1,590
Annual pricing based on listed prices and our team size estimates. Small teams (1 Concurrent Job, Medium teams 5 Concurrent Jobs), Large teams (10 Concurrent jobs)
 

AppVeyor vs Jenkins

AppVeyor doesn't have an official Jenkins comparison guide. However, their documentation and website show incredible stress on the flexibility of integrated and utilized tools and other platforms. AppVeyor features "support for GitHub, GitHub Enterprise, Bitbucket, GitLab, Azure Repos, Kiln, Gitea or custom repos."


GoCD

✔ Self-managed (on prem) Option  ⚠ No vendor/cloud-hosting (SaaS)
Free & Open Source ⚠ CI/CD Only (can't integrate Jenkins)
 

GoCD’s value stream map shows your entire path to production in a single view. Easily navigate across jobs, spot inefficiencies, and optimize your process. No plugin required, out of box CD.

GoCD (Self-managed) Pricing by Team Size

Small Medium Large Enterprise
Free & Open Source: GoCD does not provide technical support.
Annual pricing based on listed prices and our team size estimates.
 

GoCD vs Jenkins

According to GoCD's official Jenkins comparison guide, they offer much more CD capabilities and aim to "support the most common CD scenarios out of the box without any plugin installation."


Semaphore

✗ No self-managed (on prem) Option ✔ Vendor/cloud-managed (SaaS) Option
😵 Per-second based pricing ⚠ CI/CD Only (can't integrate Jenkins)
 

Semaphore is a hosted CI/CD service used for testing and deploying software projects. Semaphore establishes CI/CD standards with a pull request-based development process.

Semaphore (Cloud-managed) Pricing by Team Size

Small Medium Large Enterprise
Per-second based pricing: Semaphore charges per-second making it difficult to budget.
Annual pricing based on listed prices and our team size estimates.
 

Semaphore vs Jenkins

Semaphore doesn't have an official Jenkins comparison guide. However, it's obvious from their documentation and website that Semaphore has invested a lot into creating a performance-driven CI/CD tool claiming to be almost twice as fast as some other competitors on this list. 


Buildkite

⚠ Limited self-managed (on-prem Option) ✔ Vendor/cloud-managed (SaaS) Option
👤 User-based Pricing ⚠ CI Only (separate CD required)
 

Buildkite is an open-source platform for running Continuous Integration pipelines that are fast, secure, and scalable. 

Buildkite (Standard) Pricing by Team Size

Small Medium Large Enterprise
Free $9,000 $18,000 $36,000
Annual pricing based on listed prices and our team size estimates. Free plan for open-source projects, students, and teaching organizations. Standard plans come with email support. 200 users maximum.
 

Buildkite (Enterprise) Pricing by Team Size

Small Medium Large Enterprise
$36,000 $36,000 $36,000 $53,400
Annual pricing based on listed prices and our team size estimates. Includes 100 users. Additional users $29/month (pro-rata)
 

Buildkite vs Jenkins

According to Buildkite's official Jenkins comparison guide, BuildKite surpasses Jenkins' scalability, security, and extendibility. "Buildkite provides a SaaS platform to define and visualize pipelines, and an agent to execute jobs on customer-managed infrastructure."


UrbanCode (IBM)

✔ Self-managed (on prem) Option  ✔ Vendor/cloud-managed (SaaS) Option
⚠ Custom Quote Pricing ✔ CI/CD or CD with Jenkins
 

IBM UrbanCode is a CI/CD and release management tool to help organizations deliver better software faster.

IBM Pricing by Team Size

Small Medium Large Enterprise
Custom Quote Pricing: IBM charges based on a service cost calculator.
Annual pricing based on listed prices and our team size estimates.
 

IBM vs Jenkins

IBM does not have an official Jenkins comparison guide. However, UrbanCode can not only integrate with Jenkins, but can replace Jenkins - so it's possible to test the waters before jumping ship.


 GitHub (Microsoft)

✔ Self-managed (on prem) Option  ✔ Vendor/cloud-managed (SaaS) Option
👤 User-based Pricing ⚠ Monolithic development platform
 

GitHub's Actions feature makes it easy to automate all your software workflows, now with world-class CI/CD. Build, test, and deploy your code right from GitHub. Make code reviews, branch management, and issue triaging work the way you want.

GitHub (Team) Pricing by Team Size

Small Medium Large Enterprise
Free $4,320 $4,800 $12,000
Annual pricing based on listed prices and our team size estimates. Free plan comes with 2,000 automation minutes/month, and web support. 
 

GitHub (Enterprise) Pricing by Team Size

Small Medium Large Enterprise
$5,040 $12,600 $25,200 $63,000
Annual pricing based on listed prices and our team size estimates. Includes 50,000 automation minutes/month, premium support and allows self-management.
 

GitHub vs Jenkins

Microsoft does not have an official Jenkins comparison guide. However, as a monolithic development platform, GitHub offers more features and options than Jenkins. However, teams looking to change need to consider if a tool this big fits the work that they do. 


Azure DevOps (Microsoft)

✔ Self-managed (on prem) Option  ✔ Vendor/cloud-managed (SaaS) Option
👤 User-based Pricing ⚠ Monolithic development platform
 

Use Azure DevOps to build, test, and deploy with CI/CD that works with any language, platform, and cloud. Connect to GitHub or any other Git provider and deploy continuously.

Azure DevOps (Cloud-Hosted) Pricing by Team Size

Small Medium Large Enterprise
Free $31,200 $62,400 $156,000
Annual pricing based on listed prices and our team size estimates. Basic + Test plan. Free plan is for up to 5 users.
 

Azure DevOps (Self-managed) Pricing by Team Size

  Small Medium Large Enterprise
VS Pro $23,280 $58,200 $116,400 $291,000
VS Enterprise $72,480 $181,200 $362,400 $906,000
Annual pricing based on listed prices and our team size estimates. Visual Studio is necessary to self-manage.
 

Azure DevOps vs Jenkins

Microsoft does not have an official Jenkins comparison guide. However, as a monolithic development platform, Azure DevOps offers more features and options than Jenkins. However, teams looking to change need to consider if a tool this big fits the work that they do. 

Which to Choose?

You know your company best. Is your small team really small? Or are you edging into medium? Do you really need to be budget conscious and pay-per-second? Or is a tool that's always running worth the price?

The best practice would be to pick a tool that takes care of all your DevOps needs today and tomorrow. This would include any of the CI/CD tools listed here. While Jenkins (and other alternatives) can be "hacked" to do continuous delivery, it's not what they were designed to do. Choosing a CI tool and forcing it to do CD might lead you back to this list (looking for a new alternative yet again) sooner than you'd like.

For those working in Windows environments, BuildMaster is the smartest choice. All other tools on this list would work on Windows, but often have certain critical features missing.   

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