Jenkins x : overview

Jenkins x : overview
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Written by Nilima PaulDecember 13, 2021
9 min read
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Nilima Paul

Technology Security Analyst

In this blog post, we will know about Jenkins x.

What is Jenkins X?

So what is Jenkins X? James Strachan, distinguished engineer at CloudBees and chief architect of Jenkins X, defines Jenkins X as an “open source opinionated way to do continuous delivery with Kubernetes, natively,” without worrying too much about the underlying infrastructure. Jenkins X supports all major cloud platforms including Amazon, Azure, Google, IBM Cloud, OpenShift and Pivotal. It is a sub-project of Jenkins and uses automation, tooling and DevOps best practices to increase development speed and improve CI/CD.

With Jenkins X, Kubernetes can be leveraged without spending too much time and effort configuring the complex ecosystem. It reduces the complexities and provides a guided approach with the right selection of tools, all within a system that is easy to use and learn. Jenkins X ensures that when a project is started, it’s not necessary to spend a lot of time creating the structure and gathering the required files. If you need a Kubernetes cluster, all the tools can automatically be in working condition without worrying about installation and configuration. In fact, a single jx command in Jenkins X can create CD pipelines, Git repositories and set webhooks. The list of what Jenkins X does is vast, and grows daily.

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Features of Jenkins X

Automated CI /CD:

Jenkins X offers a sleek jx command-line tool, which allows Jenkins X to be installed inside an existing or new Kubernetes cluster, import projects, and bootstrap new applications. Additionally, Jenkins X creates pipelines for the project automatically.

Environment Promotion via GitOps:

Jenkins X allows for the creation of different virtual environments for development, staging, and production, etc. using the Kubernetes Namespaces. Every environment gets its specific configuration, list of versioned applications and configurations stored in the Git repository. You can automatically promote new versions of applications between these environments if you follow GitOps practices. Moreover, you can also promote code from one environment to another manually and change or configure new environments as needed.

Extensions:

It is quite possible to create extensions to Jenkins X. An extension is nothing but a code that runs at specific times in the CI/CD process. You can also provide code through an extension that runs when the extension is installed, uninstalled, as well as before and after each pipeline.

Serverless Jenkins:

Instead of running the Jenkins web application, which continually consumes a lot of CPU and memory resources, you can run Jenkins only when you need it. During the past year, the Jenkins community has created a version of Jenkins that can run classic Jenkins pipelines via the command line with the configuration defined by code instead of the usual HTML forms.

Preview Environments:

Though the preview environment can be created manually, Jenkins X automatically creates Preview Environments for each pull request. This provides a chance to see the effect of changes before merging them. Also, Jenkins X adds a comment to the Pull Request with a link for the preview for team members.

How Jenkins X works?

  1. The developer commits and pushes the change to the project’s Git repository.
  2. JX is notified and runs the project’s pipeline in a Docker image. This includes the project’s language and supporting frameworks.
  3. The project pipeline builds, tests, and pushes the project’s Helm chart to Chart Museum and its Docker image to the registry.
  4. The project pipeline creates a PR with changes needed to add the project to the staging environment.
  5. Jenkins X automatically merges the PR to Master.
  6. Jenkins X is notified and runs the staging pipeline.
  7. The staging pipeline runs Helm, which deploys the environment, pulling Helm charts from Chart Museum and Docker images from the Docker registry. Kubernetes creates the project’s resources, typically a pod, service, and ingress.

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.

Conclusion

Contributions included various document improvements, adding jira as an issue tracker for generating changelogs and adding initial support for external vault!

The top contributors to Jenkins X in hacktoberfest 2021 were:

  • Marten Svantesson
  • Christopher vig
  • James Rawlings
  • Hays Clark
  • Anatoli Babenia

We would also like to thank all the contributors who participated and made it a success. The strength of Jenkins X lies in it’s vast community, and we hope to see many more major contributions from them in the near and far future.

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jenkins x overview
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