For completing projects quickly and smoothly, many companies and large organizations look DevOps tools. These DevOps tools make it easier for your development teams to run operations smoothly and focus on other value based tasks. Let us tell you there are a ton of DevOps tools currently available in the market. Finding the right one for your organization that suits all your requirements is quite a daunting task. To make things easier for you, we have shortlisted the two most popular DevOps tools that have gained popularity in the market in a short time – Jenkins vs Ansible.
Ansible and Jenkins are the two leading automation tools that have made it easier for developers to run operations smoothly and benefit an organization in succeeding faster. There has always been a debate related to the two as to know which one is better for a company or organization. To close this debate, we have come up with a post that will help you compare the two leading tools of Jenkins vs Ansible and what are the differences of these tools on the basis of purpose, plugins, configuration, and more. We have listed the pros and cons of each tool, so you can decide for yourself what suits best for your company.
What is Jenkins?
Jenkins is an open source automation tool designed to build and test your software projects and integrate them along with numerous deployment technologies. Thus, further accelerating the software development process of your organization. This popular open-source automation server is written in Java and comprises 1500+ plugins for the Continuous Integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) process.
Jenkins is compatible with Windows, macOS, and UNIX-based platforms. The tool is easy to set up, install and configure. Developers can integrate software development life-cycle processes, such as building, testing, deploying, packaging performing static analysis, and more with Jenkins automation tool. The design of Jenkins makes it relatively easier to distribute work across multiple systems and platforms. Further, its exclusive feature enables developers to monitor repeated tasks, find and fix errors at an early stage. It has a highly active community. Jenkins has been in the industry for quite some time and is a preferred choice of many DevOps teams.
Benefits of Jenkins
- It is a free, open-source automation tool designed to accelerate the software development process.
- It runs an active community that holds public meetings and conferences to get more input and work for the better.
- It comprises 1500+ plugins built to work best with CI/CD tools
- Supports cloud-based architecture
- Built with Java and is Portable
- Supports work distribution
- Supports parallel execution
- It is much easier to install, configure, and upgrade the tool with its provided documentation.
- It helps easily monitor external jobs.
Pros and Cons of Jenkins
- Jenkins is free and open-source: The free-to-download feature and easily available source code have helped the product gained popularity over the years. Thus, making it easier for active developers to make efforts and contribute to the Jenkins project. As a result, chances of getting a more stable version every year is possible.
- Comprises a wide range of plugins: Having a large bunch of plugins makes it more convenient for developers and adds more benefits. This set of powerful plugins enable developers to extend Jenkins and customize the tool for their projects. Multiple SCMs, Green balls, Build pipelines, JDK Parameter Plugin, Embeddable-build-status, GitHub/GitLab Pull Request Builder are a few plugins built for CI/CD process.
- Integrates and Supports Work Distribution: Jenkins integrates will all version control tools, including Git, Docker, CVS, Subversion. Further, it makes it easier to distribute work across different platforms.
- It is Flexible and easy to use: Developers can use Jenkins for various size projects due to a large variety of plugins and its open architecture. There is no limit to the number of servers that can be integrated with Jenkins. In fact, its active and thriving community encourages new users or developers to understand the technology faster. The tool is highly flexible and easy to use.
- Has a Decent API suite: This in-built feature helps the developers to tailor the fetched data. This, as a result, aids servers to run a validation check against web applications every time you deploy.
- Unpredictable costs: Server hosting is not free under Jenkins. Thus, even it states that the tool is free, the automation tool holds an unpredictable cost.
- No collaboration features: Under Jenkins, a developer cannot see the commits made by the other team member. As a result, tracking the program gets difficult with large projects and trouble for the release manager.
- Lack of analytics: Providing analysis on the end-to-end deployment cycle is not possible with Jenkins, even with N number of plugins. Thus, a lack of overall tracking leads to a lack of analytics.
What is Ansible?
Ansible is one of the most popular IT automation tools used for application deployment, cloud provisioning, configuration management, intra-service orchestration, and deal with other IT requirements. Today, managing the IT environment has become a more difficult job. Thus, having an automation tool will add more efficiency to your organization. Further, using Ansible can simplify complex tasks and aid system administrators and developers to focus on other tasks and deliver quick results. With time many companies like Udemy, LaunchDarkly, and Tokopedia have started using Ansible for their organization.
Introduced in 2012, the tool is best for IT experts and DevOps engineers. It uses the simple YAML syntax, is free and easy to install.
Benefits of Ansible
- It is open source
- Highly flexible
- Can help manage complex IT workflows
- No need to install any extra software on the client platform
- It does not require developers to set up a separate management structure
- Offers better on-time delivery
- Helps perform more efficient IT operations
- Free up time to focus on revenue-oriented projects
- Uses the simple YAML syntax
Pros and Cons of Ansible
- Much Easier to Set up and Install: Unlike other automation tools, the setup and installation process with Ansible is much easier. One can easily configure the tool without the help of any professional system administrator. Following the guidelines, even a non-programmer can run this automation tool.
- Cost-Effective: Overall, ansible is a free open-source tool, but there are a few paid versions available in the market.
- Overhead Expenses: You do not require an additional expert or agent to manage the remote systems of Ansible. Thus, there are very limited overhead expenses or maintenance expenses an organization needs to pay. Also, there are fewer chances of performance degradation.
- Python scripted: Most machines with Linux distributions exercise python. Ansible is also an automation tool written in python that makes it easy for system administration and engineers to run simple tasks more efficiently.
- Hard to handle the complex task: Ansible is a module that is easy to use and has gain popularity due to its simplicity. But it cannot handle complex tasks and functions, which works as a setback for Ansible.
- Graphical User Interface (GUI): The Graphical User Interface (GUI) is quite poor and often out of sync with the command line. It is difficult to use the tool with a poor Graphical User Interface.
- No Notion of State: Ansible follows no concept of state or tracks dependencies. The tool stops as the sequential series of tasks get complete, fail, or encounters an error.
Jenkins vs Ansible - Compare the differences
Ansible vs Jenkins - Which One is Better?
Both the tools are popular, advantageous, and have their pros and cons. It is better to pick one based on your project requirement, budget, resources, and expertise. Ansible must be a preferred choice for organizations with a complex environment and various servers. An organization that needs an automation tool for smaller tasks, such as code quality analysis, building, and test must invest time and energy on Jenkins. Both the tools run reliable community support for additional knowledge and resolve issues. We have seen various versions of Ansible that have been a popular choice among DevOps teams. Thus, before concluding, compare both the automation tools properly, check out their pros and cons, and then make a final call for the product.