What Is Jenkins X: An Overview of the Popular DevOps Tool

Since so many people and organizations rely on IT to do business, handle daily tasks, and find entertainment, there is a greater demand for new applications and software. Consequently, developers eagerly embrace procedures that boost software development’s efficiency and quality.

DevOps, the process that combines software development and information technology (IT) operations, works even better if the developers use the right tools. That’s where Jenkins X comes in.

We’re about to explore Jenkins X — what it is and why it’s a useful tool, the differences between Jenkins and Jenkins X, and Jenkins X applications.

Let’s begin the basics.

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What Is Jenkins X?

Jenkins X is an open-source solution that provides automated continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) and automated testing tools for cloud-native applications on Kubernetes. It supports all major cloud platforms such as AWS, Google Cloud, IBM Cloud, Microsoft Azure, Red Hat OpenShift, and Pivotal. Jenkins X is a Jenkins sub-project (more on this later) and employs automation, DevOps best practices, and tooling to boost development speed and improve overall CI/CD.

With Jenkins X, users need not expend so much effort and time in configuring a complex ecosystem. Jenkins X does most of the heavy lifting.

Jenkins X automates CI/CD for the cloud and figures out how to get the right configurations, plug-ins, and codes to work together. It provides complete support for continuous delivery and manages products in preview, production, and staging environments.

In summary, Jenkins X is a DevOps tool that lets users worry less about configuring underlying infrastructure, like installation and configuration, and devote more time to actual development and expediting CI/CD workflow.

What Are the Benefits of Jenkins X?

Okay, so Jenkins X is a fantastic CI/CD tool that helps developers better integrate CI/CD into their DevOps process. But how about some specific advantages?

Easy to Set Up 

Jenkins X features build packs that work with different types of projects, automates external tool installation and upgrades, and gets developers up and running with just a single line jx command.

Promotes New Environments via GitOps

Jenkins X lets users create different virtual environments dedicated to the development, production, staging, etc., using Kubernetes Namespace. Each domain gets assigned a specific configuration, with a list of applications and configurations saved to the Git repository.

Faster Recovery

GitOps generates a single truth source that versions everything for any pull request. This sole reliable source lets developers find the correct context and traceable information, enabling them to solve crashes and outages faster.

Isolation

Each development team runs its own Jenkins X instance, either in their separate clusters or in a shared cluster. If the teams opt for a shared cluster, they share resources, while each team has its own namespace, configuration, flows, and pipelines. If the teams go with separate clusters, each team gets its own resources and won’t be impacted by the other workloads.

Speed

There’s no need to worry about shipping logistics slowing down the process. Jenkins X has powerful commands that reduce most tasks to a simple line. Also, Jenkins X stores all application code, plus all the necessary files for containers, packaging, and pipelines, in a common repository, and the components are available “out of the box.”

Quicker Releases

Thanks to the “jx create devpod” command, each developer gets their own sandbox in the Jenkins X cluster. Since the devbuild pods are the same as those used in the production pipeline, it ensures that the code performs predictably.

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Jenkins X Drawbacks

Naturally, no tool is perfect. Jenkins X has its share of limitations, including:

  • Limited to Kubernetes. Jenkins X’s continuous deployment aspect is geared for a Kubernetes namespace.
  • Requires Access to Kubernetes’ Cluster-Admin Level. Jenkins X requires cluster-admin access to define and manage Kubernetes resources.
  • It Is Limited to Git Projects. Jenkins X assumes that all developers want to use Kubernetes to deploy and run their software and use Git for their source code and define environments. Furthermore, Jenkins’ serverless feature only works with GitHub for now.

What Is Jenkins?

Since we’ve already mentioned Jenkins (sans the X) and how it has a connection with Jenkins X, let’s take a closer look at it.

Jenkins is an open-source automation server written in Java language that lets developers reliably build, test, and deploy software. It’s a popular CI/CD tool used to support DevOps operations, using workflows called pipelines. You can learn more about Jenkins’ pipelines here.

Jenkins keeps track of version control systems and initiates and monitors a build system when changes arise. It monitors the entire process and keeps users informed via reports and notifications.

You can find out more about Jenkins with this tutorial and this informative article.

The Difference Between Jenkins x vs. Jenkins

At first glance, these two resources appear similar. However, on closer examination, we see where they diverge. For instance:

  • For starters, Jenkins X is more rigid than whereas Jenkins. Jenkins X uses certain best practices for orchestration tools and containerization, while Jenkins offers more flexibility and supports different configuration methods.
  • However, Jenkins needs several different plug-ins and integrations to accomplish configuration, while Jenkins X simplifies configuration by automating the setup.
  • Jenkins adapts the processes that are required or needed, while Jenkins X defines the processes.
  • Jenkins employs a Graphic User Interface (GUI) that lets admins configure pipelines, jobs, etc. On the other hand, Jenkins X relies on a command-line interface (CLI) and application programming interface (API).
  • Jenkins X is actually a Jenkins sub-project. The former is an enhancement of the latter.

To make a long story short, Jenkins is an open-source continuous integration (CI) server built with Java and offers more than 300 plug-ins to build and test almost any project. Jenkins X is an open-source continuous integration and continuous deployment tool for cloud applications on Kubernetes.

Jenkins X Applications

As DevOps gains popularity, more companies are looking for methods of delivering error-free software promptly. Jenkins X offers developers an easy and reliable way to meet today’s DevOps demands. Here are some popular applications.

Container Ecosystem

Many kinds of containers residing on the same host can deploy microservices built using different technologies and frameworks. This application gives developers the freedom to employ whatever technology they want to use.

Container Orchestration

Kubernetes has become increasingly popular in today’s IT world. For instance, many popular cloud providers such as AWS, Azure, GCP, and Oracle Cloud have announced integrating Kubernetes in their cloud platforms. Jenkins X upgrades container orchestration and simplifies operations.

Microservices

Defined as smaller granular and independent services, microservices are huge in today’s DevOps market. Jenkins X works well in this environment.

The key takeaway here is that there is no single straightforward way to manage Kubernetes clusters. There are too many options out there. However, Jenkins X, which is all about working efficiently with Kubernetes, is the perfect open-source tool to help developers maximize their DevOps Kubernetes resources without dealing with tedious setup and steep learning curves.

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Would You Like to Learn Jenkins?

If your job currently involves DevOps or you anticipate working with it, Simplilearn has all the resources you need to upskill and get up to speed. Furthermore, these courses are ideal for the aspiring developer who’s just beginning a new career using DevOps and wants to gain as much leverage as possible.

The CI/CD Pipelines with Jenkins Certification Training course teaches you the fundamentals of Jenkins and how to continually implement and deploy codes within a DevOps environment. You also learn how to integrate automated tests to verify the build pipelines and set up code quality reporting.

The Postgraduate Program in DevOps, designed in collaboration with Caltech CTME, prepares you for a DevOps career, bridging the gap between software developers and operations teams. You will master the art and science of improving your entire team's development and operational activities while building expertise via hands-on projects in continuous deployment, using configuration management tools such as Puppet, SaltStack, and Ansible.

Lastly, the DevOps Engineer Master’s Program helps you develop the key skills necessary to become a DevOps expert. You will master Configuration Management, Continuous Integration, Deployment, Delivery, and Monitoring using DevOps tools. The featured tools include Git, Docker, Chef, Jenkins, Puppet, and Nagios — all taught with a practical, hands-on, interactive approach. Finally, you will enhance your understanding of the fundamentals of Agile and Scrum methodologies and gain knowledge of the two major cloud platform providers: Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure.

Check out Simplilearn’s online courses and boot camps today, and strengthen your DevOps skills, or begin a whole new career!

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