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Bamboo vs Jenkins: Showdown Of CI/CD Tools

himanshusheth004 profile image himanshuseth004 Originally published at lambdatest.com ・12 min read

Continuous integration and continuous delivery is a method to derive delivery consistency in an SDLC. As a process, it helps you automate your development pipeline while making sure everything is tracked. The interesting part is the introduction of automation into the stages of development. When we talk about integration and delivery, one more process that gets aligned with it is “continuous testing” or what we sometimes call DevOps testing.

While Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Delivery (CD) has become a big part of DevOps, DevOps teams often land themselves in a fix when selecting the best tools. This can’t be imagined without the CI/CD tools that make it possible.

Does an open-source tool suit your project requirements or should you opt for a proprietary tool? What about the feature updates and existing customer feedback?

that makes my brain hurt

My team is often haunted by these glaring questions, encouraging us to do a comparison of various CI/CD tools. In this article, we will carefully breakdown Bamboo vs Jenkins and ensure that you have deeper insights to make the right choice of CI/CD tools.

Before we get down to a detailed Bamboo vs Jenkins comparison, let’s start with the basics first.

What Is Jenkins?

Jenkins is one of the widely-used CI/CD tools in the market today. It has been in usage for a long time and is suited for organizations that are looking for an ideal open-source CI/CD tool. Written in java, Jenkins provides you with a plethora of features and portability with major platforms.

Jenkins

Being open-source and free to use, Jenkins is the most preferred choice for early-stage startups. Many growth-stage organizations also prefer Jenkins, as they can accelerate software product development through automation. Jenkins is available for use on platforms like Windows, macOS, and different flavors of Unix such as openSUSE, Red Hat, Ubuntu, and more.

Jenkins is extensible and has a thriving plugin ecosystem. Plugins in Jenkins help in the integration of various DevOps stages. It follows two release lines – Weekly and LTS (Long Term Support), similar to other commonly used open-source projects.

At the time of this Bamboo vs Jenkins article, the latest version of Jenkins (LTS) was 2.235.1, and Jenkins (Weekly) was 2.242 respectively.

Main Features of Jenkins

  • Free and Open-Source
  • Great plugins
  • Extensive community
  • Supports pipelines
  • Support for parallel execution
  • Extensive integration capabilities
  • Easy setup
  • Offers REST APIs

What Is Bamboo?

Bamboo Server is also a popular tool for Continuous Integration (CI). It was developed by Atlassian in 2007, the organization is popularly known for project tracking software – JIRA. Bamboo is a commercial product that lets you perform automated builds, tests, and releases together in a single workflow.

Bamboo

With the Bamboo server, you get end-to-end visibility into the release, implementation, quality, and status with seamless integration of Jira and Bitbucket servers. It also comes with features such as built-in deployment support, automated merging, and Git branching. Bamboo supports programmed stretching and combining. Bamboo is available for platforms such as Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. At the time of this Bamboo vs Jenkins article, the latest version of the Bamboo server was 7.0.3.

Main Features of Bamboo

  • Seamless migration from Jenkins to Bamboo
  • Built-in Jira Software and Bitbucket Server integrations
  • Built-in Git branching workflows
  • Built-in deployment Projects
  • Test automation
  • Support for parallel execution
  • Offers REST APIs
  • Easy setup

Let us now do a face-off between Bamboo vs Jenkins and witness how the tools fare with respect to usability, support, and other integral features essential for good CI/CD tools.

Face-off between Bamboo vs Jenkins

Now that you have been introduced to the CI/CD tools in question, it is time to get down to business. Below are the major parameters that we have used for Bamboo vs Jenkins comparison:

Installation and Configuration

Jenkins is easy to install considering that it is a self-contained Java program that can be run out of the box. One must have Java installed on the target machine and prior to that, the installation is quite simple. Jenkins supports JDK8 and recent versions have also started supporting Java 11 environments.

Once installed, the check for configuration is performed using a simple web interface. The setup for Jenkins is available for Windows, Mac OS X, and popular flavors of the Unix operating system. We can also run Jenkins as a servlet in different Java servlet containers such as GlassFish or Apache Tomcat. However, Jenkins lacks hands-on support but boasts a massive community to support you with queries. Since it’s an open-source tool, this can be justified.

There are more steps involved in the installation and configuration of the Bamboo server as compared to that of Jenkins. Per usual, Java needs to be installed on your machine and then, a dedicated user has to be created for running Bamboo. Here a home directory has to be created, post which you can start and configure the Bamboo server according to your requirements. The installation might be a little time-taking but you would find Bamboo to be more user friendly in terms of its user interface.

As far as ease for setting up and configuring the respective CI/CD tools is concerned, both Jenkins and Bamboo stand well. This parameter can also be subjective to assess as it depends on your requirements.

Extensibility and Customization

Jenkins and Bamboo both offer RESTful API for extensibility. Bamboo REST APIs can be used if you plan to integrate your application with the Bamboo server. It can also be used by administrators that plan to have interactions with the Bamboo server in their scripts. The default response format is JSON but there is an option to request XML instead of JSON.

The remote-access APIs for Jenkins are available for Python, XML, and JSON. Like APIs in Bamboo, Jenkins APIs can also be leveraged for actions such as triggering a new build, creating jobs, getting consumption related information from Jenkins, and more.

Ease of Use

When it comes to user-friendliness, Bamboo is a winner by a huge margin in the Bamboo vs Jenkins battle. Bamboo has a friendly and intuitive user-interface, which can be customized as per the user requirements. But does it downvote Jenkins? Absolutely not! It totally depends on your approach towards these tools. Once you start using Jenkins, you realize that their primary focus is on functionality and the secondary focus is on usability.

Whenever a new task is added in Bamboo, it provides you detailed information about the build and deployment status. As far as Jenkins is concerned, developers can leverage the richness of plugins in Jenkins to customize the experience as per their convenience.

You’ll have to strike a balance between functionality and user-friendliness when it comes to choosing better CI/CD tools between Bamboo vs Jenkins.

Plugin Ecosystem

Plugins provide greater functionality to CI/CD tools but you need to be picky about the ones that will help you. One of the major advantages of Jenkins over Bamboo is its thriving plugin ecosystem. As Jenkins is open-source, the global community is strong and contributing which can be proved by the wide availability of plugins. At present, there are 1500+ community-contributed Jenkins plugins that help in building, DevOps testing, deploying, and automating a project.

On the other hand, there are close to 200 Bamboo plugins (or add-ons) on the Atlassian marketplace. Built-in integration with Bitbucket, Jira, and Confluence are the biggest USPs of the Bamboo server.

As Jenkins is more functionality-centric (via plugins), the customization is cost-effective which, in turn, nullifies the costly in-house customization. Jenkins plugins are way ahead of the competition due to its large volume.

Hosting (Cloud or On-Premise)

Bamboo is only available in the on-premises variant, as the cloud version was discontinued in early 2017. Although the service was replaced with BitBucket pipelines but a replacement couldn’t match the Bamboo cloud.

On the contrary, Jenkins is available in both cloud-based and on-premise variants. Jenkins is best-suited for installation on the cloud for self-hosted pipelines. Architecting for scale using Jenkins is a good reference if you plan to use an on-premise variant of Jenkins for the DevOps testing or development.

Jenkins has a clear-cut upper hand when it comes to CI/CD tools on the cloud.

Parallelism

Parallel builds are supported in Jenkins as well as Bamboo. As per the Bamboo server, each stage has a single job by default but it can be used to group multiple jobs. For executing jobs in parallel in Bamboo, there has to be more than one agent (i.e. jobs are processed in parallel on multiple agents). Each stage has to complete all its jobs before the next stage in the plan can be executed.

  • Tasks execute sequentially within a Job
  • Jobs execute in parallel within a Stage
  • Stages execute sequentially within a Plan

On the other hand, parallelism in Jenkins boils down to its pipeline. We can-

  • Configure tests to run in parallel based on our choice of language
  • Configure Jenkins builds as Parameterized builds
  • Configure Jenkins project by setting it as a Matrix Project

The Parallel Test Executor plugin further helps you in dividing test units of the same size, which are then converted to an exclusion list. However, only partial parallelism is supported in Jenkins for DevOps testing since the same environment is shared by the builds. This factor can cause problems when a shared resource like a filesystem is used.

Parallelism with Bamboo and Jenkin for DevOps testing work as per the user expectation and there is no clear winner for this factor in the Bamboo vs Jenkins face-off.

Clouds Integrations

Bamboo has robust and most popular integrations with JIRA, Bitbucket as a default option These integrations aid in providing complete transparency about release implementation, quality, and status. Bamboo is available only for Windows, Linux, Solaris, and macOS (or OSX) platforms. It also supports AWS. The Bamboo Server EC2 Wizard can get the Bamboo server up and running in AWS within a span of a few minutes.

There is a feature request for deploying Bamboo plans on the Azure cloud. However, as per the Azure documentation, the Azure PowerShell can be used for deploying the Bamboo server on Azure. Automation can be performed using a Script Task. This thread on StackOverflow about Continuous Deployment to Azure using Bamboo can be of great help when using Bamboo with Azure. Further, Bamboo integration with LambdaTest assists all your seamless DevOps testing needs.

On the other hand, Jenkins supports integration with numerous cloud platforms such as VMWare vSphere, Amazon EC2, Google Cloud, etc. The integration can be performed using plugins. Again, LambdaTest offers a plugin for seamless integration with Jenkins for efficient DevOps testing, you can read more about it on the support doc for Jenkins Plugin for Integration.

  • Amazon EC2
  • Google Cloud
  • Microsoft Azure
  • Digital Ocean

Community Support

As Jenkins is an open-source project, there is greater involvement of the community. Community support is the primary reason why Jenkins has more plugins than other commercial CI/CD tools like Bamboo. There is active community involvement when it comes to troubleshooting, experience sharing, reviews, documentation, and more. Jenkins also has an active Jenkins Community Blog that provides insightful information on Jenkins.

Bamboo also has a support forum under the existing Atlassian community. At the time of this article, there were 7,890 posts in the community on the Bamboo server. Apart from the support forum, there are blogs on Bamboo on the official Atlassian blog.

As Jenkins is open-source and has been in development (and usage) for many years, Jenkins wins hands-down in the community support category between Bamboo vs Jenkins.

Features And Capabilities

A strong community has been the backbone for Jenkins but you can’t ignore the featureset. Jenkins can be used for building and analyzing code. It supports all popular version control systems and builds systems. Collaborative initiatives are an integral part of the future development and expansion of the Jenkins project.

Bamboo supports automated merging that helps in streamlining the process of merging Git and Mercurial branches. It comes with built-in Git branching and workflows that help to automatically detect, build, test, and merge branches, to the (staging or production) servers based on the branch name. Jira is a widely-used tracking software and built-in Jira software integration is a big plus point for Bamboo.

Apart from this, Bamboo also has built-in deployment support which helps in automatically sending a continuous flow of builds to test environments and release builds to customers when they are ready.

Release Cycle

Like other open-source projects, Jenkins also follows LTS (Long-Term Support) and Weekly release cycles. Jenkins 2.235.1 that was released on June 17, 2020 is the latest stable version of Jenkins. Changelogs for LTS and weekly releases of Jenkins are available on the official website.

The latest Bamboo server release available at the time of this article was 7.0.3 (March 2020). The older versions of Bamboo are also available for download in the Bamboo archives section.

On the whole, Jenkins and Bamboo are both good (and timely) when it comes to the release cycles.

Distributed Run (or Execution)

Both Bamboo and Jenkins can run distributed jobs. As mentioned in the Bamboo Community, the master-slave concept is used for achieving distributed runs in Bamboo.

There can be performance issues when using distributed runs with Jenkins, as it uses the same instance on which the GUI related tasks are running.

Open Source vs. Commercial

Free or commercial, this is the biggest question when it comes to choosing the ideal CI/CD tools.

Jenkins is an open-source project hence, it is free to use. Hence, an obvious choice for early-stage startups that are looking for the best CI/CD tools to accelerate their build and test process. The only cost involved with Jenkins is the infrastructure cost. Though there is a learning curve involved with Jenkins, it would be better if you understand your team’s comfort level with Jenkins.

Bamboo is a commercial product from Atlassian. It is available for a 30-day trial. As mentioned on their official website, Bamboo is for teams of all sizes. The pricing depends on team size, a number of agents, and the number of jobs.

  • Bamboo Server for small teams – $10 (maximum 10 jobs, unlimited local agents, and no remote agents).
  • Bamboo Server for growing teams – Starting with $1,270 (unlimited jobs, unlimited local agents, and remote agents depending on the plan).

The choice of CI/CD tools depends on your budget and project requirements.

Bamboo vs Jenkins Comparison Snapshot

Here is the snapshot of Bamboo vs. Jenkins comparison

Feature Jenkins Bamboo
Open source or Commercial Free (open-source) Commercial License
Product Type Self-hosted/On-Premise On-Premise
Setup and Installation Easy Easy
Ease of use More focus on functionality than usability Easier to use and customize
Official Support No official support, as it is an open-source project. Support available on IRC, Jenkins Forum, and other support channels. Yes
Plugin ecosystem Rich plugin ecosystem (1500+ plugins) Close to 200 plugins on the Atlassian marketplace
Parallelization Yes (partial) Yes
Reporting Yes Yes
Build Pipelines Custom pipelines through Jenkins Pipeline DSL Bamboo Cloud discontinued in 2017 and replaced with BitBucket pipelines. It has not received favorable response
Integrations Yes Yes
REST APIs Yes Yes
Easy Enterprise-grade permissions Supported through plugins Yes
Online Documentation Yes Yes
Built-in Git branching workflows Not supported Yes
Built-in Jira Software integration Not supported Yes

Bamboo vs Jenkins: Which CI/CD Tool Should You Choose?

There is no predefined thumb rule when it comes to choosing the ideal CI/CD tool. You have to perform a clear evaluation of the tool from the technical and budget perspective. Also, have a look at the know-how of the CI/CD tools available within your team, as there will be a major learning curve involved in the process.

If you are looking for a CI/CD tool that has good functionality, then go for Jenkins. However, your team should have a DIY (Do It Yourself) attitude as they will have to work on the customization using Jenkins plugins.

Unless you are looking for a tool that comes with good user experience and integrates well with your existing tech stack, checks out Bamboo. It is recommended to perform a dry run with the tools before you (and your team members) come up with a decision.

Choosing the best CI/CD tool is half the battle won, as you still have to focus on deployment which is an integral part of agile development for DevOps testing. It is recommended not to ignore test automation (or automated testing) in CI Pipeline. When it comes down to performing automated DevOps testing, a cloud-based testing platform can be of major help with integrations and migrations. LambdaTest is a cloud-based cross browser testing platform that also offers integration with popular CI/CD tools (including Jenkins and Bamboo) to fast track your robust delivery pipeline.

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himanshusheth004 profile

himanshuseth004

@himanshusheth004

I am an engineer with 15+ years of experience. Worked with multi-national companies as well as startups. Also an avid blogger on technology.

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