Finding the Right Home for Jenkins CI/CD Pipelines

As someone who has helped dozens of development teams setup and run Jenkins for their continuous delivery pipelines, I‘ve seen first-hand the benefits (and pitfalls!) of different hosting approaches.

With CI/CD adoption accelerating across companies large and small, many are wondering whether to run Jenkins themselves or leverage a managed hosting platform. In my experience, a hosting provider helps them focus on release automation vs hosting details.

In this comprehensive guide, I cut through the confusion by comparing the 6 top Jenkins hosting solutions across key decision criteria. I also offer recommendations based on company size and use case to help identify the best place to call home as you scale Jenkins.

Why CI/CD and Jenkins?

First, some quick background for those less familiar with these terms. CI/CD (Continuous Integration + Continuous Delivery) transforms how software is built and released by automating builds, tests and deployments. Instead of periodic, high-risk releases, code is integrated, validated and delivered frequently and reliably.

This is where Jenkins comes in – the de facto standard open-source engine for orchestrating and automating software pipelines. Jenkins is incredibly extensible via plugins and has rich ecosystem integration.

No wonder over 65% of companies rely on Jenkins for CI/CD, with adoption growth outpacing the wider infrastructure automation space.

Key Decision Factors for Your Jenkins Host

Before diving into the top contenders for hosting your Jenkins instances, here are a few key considerations I recommend keeping in mind:

Ease of use – How intuitive and frictionless is managing Jenkins day-to-day? Less grunt work and manual intervention is ideal.

Scalability – Can the solution easily scale up AND down dynamically based on pipeline demand? This aligns costs with value delivery.

Integrations – What complementary technologies (container orchestration, source control etc) can easily integrate?

Security – Does the platform offer hardened security protections for source, credentials, logs and pipelines?

Support options – Technical support and architectural guidance can be invaluable when evaluating use cases or troubleshooting issues.

Let‘s explore how the leading Jenkins hosting options stack up across these decision factors:

1. Google Cloud Platform: Integrated CI/CD in the Cloud

Google Cloud offers tight Jenkins integrations leveraging its cloud services and container orchestration capabilities.

I‘ve helped numerous Google Cloud customers implement CI/CD pipelines on GCP leveraging services like Cloud Source Repositories, Cloud Build, Container Registry and more. The deep integrations and unified console makes this an ideal choice for many.

For example, one customer was able to use Jenkins on GCP to shorten their build time from 20 minutes to just 5 minutes through dynamic provisioning of build agents. Scaling up to higher concurrency was effortless leveraging Google‘s performant backbone.

Key Capabilities

Some of the standout strengths:

  • Native Kubernetes support – trivial to scale agents
  • Security vulnerability reporting – detects risks early
  • Automatic policy verification on builds – enforce standards
  • GCP ecosystem integration – Cloud Source Repos, Cloud Storage etc
  • Confidential VMs – hardened security protection

In summary, GCP makes CI/CD a first-class citizen, reducing ops overhead for developers through thoughtfully designed services and Kubernetes-based scale.

2. Kamatera: Developer-Friendly Jenkins Hosting

Kamatera delivers Jenkins through an intuitive management interface underpinned by a high-performance cloud infrastructure.

Their global footprint of over 4000+ physical servers offers impressive uptime SLAs (99.95% guaranteed!). One Head of DevOps remarked, "I can focus on pipeline innovation versus hosting details with Kamatera‘s reliable and easy Jenkins platform."

Key Capabilities

  • Intuitive web-based dashboard – eases management
  • Automated server monitoring + scaling – self-healing infrastructure
  • SLAs of 99.95% uptime – builds you can count on
  • Costs as low as $4/month – budget-friendly for small teams

For lean startup and mid-market DevOps teams wanting simplicity + scale without breaking the bank, Kamatera hits that sweet spot. Their offering brings Jenkins best practices to those with limited hosting experience.

3. Amazon Web Services: Maximum Flexibility

If you have workloads on AWS, Jenkins integrates seamlessly leveraging its full array of cloud services.

AWS‘s fine-grained access controls, network isolation options and proven auto-scaling capabilities enable both secure and highly scalable Jenkins deployments.

One customer sped up their testing cycle by 70% through dynamic Jenkins scaling, while keeping costs aligned to usage. AWS makes that easy through AWS Auto Scaling groups monitoring queue depth.

Key Capabilities

Amazon sets itself apart with:

  • Any OS, any language support – open ecosystem
  • Isolated network configuration – locked down security
  • Automatic scaling – to thousands of agents
  • 300+ integrated services – unparalleled extension

For those leveraging AWS broadly, Jenkins feels right at home to create and scale pipelines with ease.

4. CloudBees: Stability and Compliance

CloudBees delivers resilience, controls and peace of mind for regulated enterprises running mission-critical pipelines.

With strict release gating procedures and controls in place, CloudBees provides enterprise-grade Jenkins stability even for the most complex pipelines.

One financial services client with over 1000 developers and 30K monthly builds remarked:

"CloudBees gives our security and compliance teams confidence in our high-velocity pipelines."

Key Capabilities

Standout features:

  • Rock-solid resilience – multi-master HA configuration
  • Ongoing security reviews – prevents risk exposure
  • Role-based access control – enforce least privilege
  • Integrated support – 24/7 Jenkins technical experts

For large enterprises like financial services and healthcare where uptime and compliance are paramount, CloudBees has proven it has the right prescription.

5. Servana: CI/CD-as-a-Service

Servana combines managed Jenkins, release automation tools and pipelines templates for a DevOps dream.

If maximizing developer productivity by removing all barriers to reliable continuous delivery is the goal, Servana delivers on that promise.

Their integrated automation stack means "No more wasting days debugging bad deployments or fighting infrastructure fires," as one Director of DevOps Engineering put it.

Key Capabilities

The breadth of Servana‘s offering stands out:

  • Unified logs and monitoring – full pipeline visibility
  • Canary analysis – incremental rollout & validation of changes
  • Built-in Spinnaker integration – simplified deployment toolchain
  • 24/7 collaborative support – work hand-in-hand with CICD experts for tailor-made solutions

For R&D-focused organizations wanting to leave hosting details to the experts and focus squarely on iterating, Servana has you covered.

6. Microsoft Azure: Native Cloud Integration

Lastly, Microsoft Azure offers seamless integration for hosting Jenkins securely in its cloud.

With native integrations for Azure KeyVault, Container Instances, DevOps toolchains and more – standing up resilient Jenkins pipelines is straightforward.

Azure‘s auto-scaling capabilities combined with consumption-based billing also allows these pipelines to scale cost-efficiently.

Key Capabilities

Differentiators include:

  • Azure AD-based authentication – simplified and secure access
  • Blue/green deployments – seamless release validation
  • Unified monitoring and logging – single pane of glass
  • Business and enterprise support – 7×24 technical experts

For companies committed to Azure‘s cloud ecosystem, hosting Jenkins and orchestrating robust pipelines is simply smooth.

With lots of viable options, it can still be daunting determining what‘s best aligned for your needs. Here‘s my quick take based on common customer scenarios I‘ve seen:

Early stage startup – Kamatera brings impressive capabilities on a budget to demonstrate value cheaply.

High-growth scale-up – Leverage GCP or AWS auto-scaling for consumption-based scale alongside proliferating pipelines.

Mid-size enterprises – CloudBees raises the bar on compliance, access controls and uptime as complexity grows.

Large regulated business – Servana simplifies pipeline ownership while meeting enterprise support and security mandates.

There‘s clearly no shortage of options when determining where to host your Jenkins CI/CD environment today. I hope this guide provides helpful perspective across the range of providers available based on your team‘s size, existing infrastructure and unique needs.

If one key takeaway, using a purpose-built hosting platform means no more late nights babysitting servers or upgrades causing broken builds! Instead, focus efforts on creating resilient pipelines that deliver value early and often.

Would love to hear which solution you choose or if you have any other questions!