TeamCity vs Jenkins. Which is the best for your organization ?

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In the last few years, a lot has changed in the method of software development life cycle. Earlier all the IT organizations used to follow the waterfall model for building applications and software. After the waterfall model, people shifted to the agile methodology, where the product is built iteratively. And now, most organizations have shifted towards DevOps, where the development and the operation teams execute their jobs relatively and continuously until the complete software is deployed and delivered to the client.

And in DevOps, the term CI/CD is most popular, which means continuous integration and continuous delivery. This is a practice in DevOps which is followed to develop and deliver applications quicker and reliably. Now two most popular CICD tools currently used are TeamCity and Jenkins. So, in this article, I will discuss what Jenkins and TeamCity are and their key differences.

What is TeamCity?

TeamCity is a powerful continuous integration tool from JetBrains designed for developers and build engineers that offer a rich set of out-of-the-box functionality appropriate for organizations and builds of all types. It is an enterprise-grade CI tool, available as a software-based self-hosted, on-premises solution or via a managed cloud service. It supports multi-platform development, extensive cloud integration, and advanced controls for complex builds. Users can view and manage their builds via a web UI or utilize the Kotlin DSL for managing build configurations as code. Suppose you are not ready to move completely to configuration-as-code. In that case, we also offer a hybrid approach, allowing users to make changes in the UI that are then committed to a configuration as code files in your source code repository.

 

Getting started with TeamCity has never been easier! There are two primary components.  The TeamCity Server provides the user interface for managing configurations and reviewing results. TeamCity build agents execute build configurations or build jobs and can be installed on-premises or in the cloud via providers like AWS and Azure. It supports the development of all types across various platforms, including Windows, Linux, and macOS.

In addition, TeamCity can be extended and integrated into other tools that make up your SDLC toolchain. You can get started using TeamCity for Free! All TeamCity installations, by default,  come with a perpetual free license that allows users to create up to 100 build configurations and run those configurations on up to 3 build agents. No signups or registration is required. There is no restriction on the number of build minutes or users in TeamCity. Anyone can utilize our free licenses, whether you are developing for commercial, open-source, or personal projects. Customers who require additional build capacity, dedicated technical support,  or unlimited build configurations can purchase enterprise licenses.

What is Jenkins?

Jenkins is fundamentally an automation engine written in java. This is an open-source server that can help you streamline your software development process, and it does facilitate this through Continuous integration. So once the developers actually finished coding, they will upload it on GitHub, and then at that point, Jenkins can take over and then build that piece of software. It can then go through the process of building and creating the container for this software in preparation to deploy, and then it can possibly then go through a process of testing. And once the test case passes, Jenkins will then go through the last step of actually deploying, and that can happen all automatically, facilitated or orchestrated by Jenkins.

So, let’s not think of Jenkins as something that will do all of those processes. Jenkins is going to orchestrate that through plugins. Then we will install Jenkins and then find that we need to add plugins that are going to provide those individual components that we need for our specific development process. Then orchestrate the complete process so that our code can navigate through that pipeline to the end, potentially where they get deployed automatically onto the server and are ready for the client. So, we will say that we have got a lot of control here. We don’t actually have to set up this whole pipeline, we can stop and start, we can add in different plugins. Jenkins has over 17000 plugins that are available, making it a very attractive piece of software to utilize. So, I would say in some respect, the power of Jenkins is within these plugins.

TeamCity vs Jenkins: Key Differences

Ease of Adoption

Jenkins is an open source tool which is made by the developers for the developers. And as it is open source, the setup procedures and the user flows are not that straightforward. So, you need to spend a lot of time working on Jenkins to gain complete knowledge and to get the most out of it. For example, in Jenkins, understanding when to use what kind of plugins is difficult in the beginning. It will become easier after gaining more experience on Jenkins. And because of that the team members working on Jenkins for a long period of time in a project are very crucial, and you can’t afford to lose them.

In comparison to Jenkins, TeamCity is very simple to use. You can easily install team city on your platform in very few simple steps. Even if you are a beginner in the CICD domain, you can still work with TeamCity without facing any trouble. Hence it is a pain-free experience while working with TeamCity. And in case you get stuck with any issue in TeamCity, there is a robust support team of JetBrains who are there to help you fix the problems you discovered. So, I would say TeamCity is easy to adopt that Jenkins.

Feature-set out-of-the-box

One of the core features of team city is technology awareness. it is the product philosophy that supports Python, Java, .NET, XCode Without using any plugins. Security is another essential feature which TeamCity offers as out of the box advantage.

Most of the features Jenkins are offered by the plugins integrated into it. By using plugins, Jenkins becomes as extensible as possible. So, to find the best plugin for a particular feature, you need to spend a reasonable amount of time searching, choosing, and adding those plugins.

Ease of Use

The user interface of Jenkins is not considered that great as it is built and maintained by an open-source community. But after working on Jenkins for some time, you get a grip on this tool. A lot of changes are being made by its open source community to make the user interface of Jenkins more friendly for ease of use.

On the other hand, the user interface of TeamCity is modern, attractive, and very easy to use. As a result, this tool’s UI/UX experience is one of the most important selling points in the IT industry. And without even writing the scripts for the CICD pipeline, you can still do a lot with TeamCity.

Security

As TeamCity is a commercial tool offered by JetBrains, any security issue found is fixed on priority by the JetBrains team. You can use the Snyk security plugin with TeamCity to scan the CICD pipeline to find its vulnerabilities. With the help of this plugin, you can find it in all the threats and risks available in your builds.

In comparison to TeamCity, Jenkins is not that great at security because it is an open-source tool, and a lot of development needs to be done on the security side of Jenkins. Furthermore, if a major security issue is found in Jenkins, the resolution time of that issue is dependent on the developer’s community of Jenkins. So, the resolution time is unknown. Hence it is sometimes risky to use Jenkins at the enterprise level in the production environment.

Release Cycle

The tools TeamCity Has a release cycle of about once a month. You can see all the past release updates and the entire changelog on the TeamCity portal. You can even download the previous releases/versions of TeamCity that you would like to.

As there are many contributors in the Jenkins community who continuously work towards improving the tool, it often has frequent and minor releases. And the support cycle for the older version of Jenkins is longer. So if the older version of Jenkins that you are currently using is not having any critical bugs, you need not update to the latest version of Jenkins.

Pricing

This is one of the major differences between the two tools Jenkins and TeamCity.

Jenkins is currently under MIT license, and as it is open source, it is free to use. And for this very reason, many small companies go for this tool for implementing CICD pipelines in their organizations as they cannot afford costlier tools. And support for Jenkins is also free, which comes from its community which is very active.

On the other hand, there are two versions of the product which TeamCity offers. They are TeamCity professional and TeamCity enterprise. TeamCity Professional offers 100 build configurations and 3 build agents for free. You can purchase additional build agent licenses for $299, which includes 10 additional build configurations and 1 build agent. TeamCity Enterprise has unlimited build configurations, and the starting price of its license is $1999, which gives you 3 build agents that can scale up to 200 build agents for $21,999. TeamCity also provides a 50% discount for startups and some free services for open source projects.

Community Support

Both the tools Jenkins and team city have good community support, which helps the user find enough information and troubleshoot issues related to these tools. But in comparison to TeamCity, the Jenkins community is much bigger because it is open source, and the developers keep on adding new updates to Jenkins. TeamCity offers professional support from the JetBrains team.

 

Below is a comparison table of Jenkins and TeamCity:

 

Jenkins TeamCity
Founded In 2011 2006
Written In Java Java
Developed By CloudBees, Kohsuke Kawaguchi, Free and open-source software JetBrains
License MIT License Proprietary commercial software
Programming Language Support C, C++, Fortran, Java, PHP, Python and many more scripting languages Java, .NET, Ruby, Python, C++, PHP, Node.js and more
Features ·       Open source

·       Rich set of plugins

·       Hosted internally

·       Free to use

·       Tons of integrations

·       Support for build pipelines

·       HTML Publisher

·       Workflow plugin

·       Throttle builds

·       Great to build, deploy or launch anything async

·       Technology Awareness

·       Cloud Integration

·       Build Infrastructure

·       Build History

·       Code Quality Tracking

·       Version controls systems Interoperability

·       User Management

·       System Maintenance

·       Pre-tested Commit

Popularity More popular Compared to Jenkins, it is less popular
Ease of Use Yes Yes
User Interface Decent User friendly interface
Community Bigger, as it’s open source Compared to Jenkins, it is lesser
Documentation Easy to follow Easy to follow
Pricing Free Professional Server license – 299$ per build agent after 3 free build agents

 

Enterprise Server license – Starting at 1999$

Integrations 1800+ integrations 300+ integrations
Release Cycle More frequent Less Frequent
Security Less Secured More Secured
Cloud Supports majority of Cloud Providers Supports majority of Cloud Providers
API Supports RESTful API: XML, JSON, Python Supports RESTful API using service messages and creates plugins using Open API
Reporting Provides detailed report for builds and tests Provides reports with better web UI
Container Support Using Docker plugin for Jenkins First-class Docker support out of the box

 

Final Thoughts

So that was all about TeamCity, Jenkins, and their key differences. I hope the insights shared in this article were useful for you to decide which CI tool to choose. When you are choosing a continuous integration tool for your organization, you need to check on multiple parameters such as integrations available, container support, hosting options, ease of use, community support, pricing, reusable code library, languages supported, etc. The tool that qualifies for most of the parameters per your requirements should be your continuous integration tool option. So go ahead and give either of the tools a try.

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