7 Popular Open Source CI/CD Tools

Content By Devops .com

DevOps is a software development strategy that incorporates agile practices for fast, efficient product creation and release. It focuses on integration of development and operations teams, continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) and automation of tasks and processes.

Typically, DevOps teams use pipelines to streamline and standardize processes. DevOps pipelines are toolchains that teams can use to automate tasks and provide visibility into the software development life cycle. In this article, we’ll cover seven popular open source CI/CD tools.

How DevOps Will Change in the Near Future

Although DevOps has been around for just over a decade, it has continued to evolve. New DevOps technologies and changing infrastructure have caused teams to adapt and technology advancements that will continue to drive change. Below are a few of the ways you can expect DevOps to evolve in 2021 and beyond.

AI and Data Science

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning have significant potential to improve current DevOps processes. Teams can use AI to identify inefficiencies in pipelines, optimize testing or evaluate user needs. Increasing amounts of data about environments, customers, markets and individual habits can all be applied to increase productivity and, ultimately, revenues.

Serverless Architectures

Serverless platforms, such as the AWS serverless ecosystem, including AWS Lambda and Fargate and the Azure serverless platform, including Azure Functions and Azure App Service, are becoming increasingly popular. These platforms enable DevOps teams to focus on just their code and eliminate many other variables, such as concern for host operating systems. These architectures provide scalability, deployment speeds, and user experiences that are difficult to match. This value will further secure FaaS in the coming years.


The growth of cloud-native applications has both driven and been driven by widespread adoption of cloud services. The containers and microservices that make up many cloud applications are used in many pipeline deployments and environments. Efficiently developing cloud-native applications require agility and automation that are difficult to meet without DevOps strategies.

For the above reasons, DevOps has become almost synonymous with cloud-native. As cloud-native technologies change, tooling and processes adapt, as well. Additionally, since cloud growth isn’t slowing down, you can expect that DevOps will continue to focus on and refine cloud-native development.


When developing applications in an automated CI/CD pipeline, security cannot be an afterthought. Especially in complex microservices architectures, security must be built in from the planning and development stages. Everyone must be aware of security requirements – developers, DevOps engineers and infrastructure teams.

Transitioning to a DevSecOps paradigm requires a culture change, but also a new technology stack. Shifting security left requires tight integration of application security tooling into the development life cycle, and implementation of cloud security solutions that can help gain visibility, and apply automated security controls, to complex cloud environments.

Which CI/CD Tools will You Use in 2021 and Beyond?

As technologies change, so does tooling. While you can continue to use the same tools you started with, you should at least consider if other tools can increase your efficiency. Below are a few popular, open source tools you might want to integrate.

Argo CD

Argo CD is a CI/CD tool for Kubernetes development. It is an open source project which is currently in the incubation status at the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). It uses Git repositories to store the state of Kubernetes applications, monitors applications and can resync clusters to the desired state, as represented in the git configuration.

This innovative approach also allows you to store multiple desired states of a Kubernetes application, using branches, tags, or by pinning manifest versions using a Git commit. This provides a flexible environment for managing Kubernetes configurations during the development process.


CircleCI is an open source CI/CD tool. It includes features for job orchestration, resource configuration, caching, debugging, security and dashboard reports. CircleCI integrates with a variety of tools, including GitHub, Heroku, Slack and Docker.

CircleCI is available in three tiers, one of which is free. You can use it in the cloud or on-premises with Linux, Mac or Windows machines.

GitHub Actions

GitHub Actions are a recently released open source tooling feature you can use to automate workflows. It enables you to build, test and deploy code directly from GitHub. You can base your automation on any GitHub events, including push or issue creation.

GitHub actions include features for matrix workflows, hosted runners for all major operating systems, built-in secrets storage and live log reviews. It supports all common programming languages.

GitHub actions includes hosted runtime environments that are free to use for the first 2000 minutes of use per month. If you need more time for testing, you can purchase time by the minute or in bulk. You can use GitHub actions by including them in your YAML files.


GoCD is an open source build tool that lets you build CI/CD development pipelines. At its core, it is a continuous integration (CI) server, which lets you work with complex release workflows. It goes beyond classic CI to let you construct a full continuous delivery (CD) pipeline, all the way from automated and secure deployment to production.

GoCD defines pipelines using code checked into source control – this infrastructure-as-code (IaC) approach lets you test, manage and reuse pipelines across multiple projects. Pipelines can be represented by JSON or YAML templates.

Another feature of GoCD is the ability to run pipelines both sequentially and in parallel, with configurable dependencies. You can view entire workflows from development to production and track a feature from initial commit to production deployment, using value stream mapping.

GoCD is extremely flexible, providing an ecosystem of plugins and the tool also allows you to develop and contribute your own.


Gradle is an open source build automation tool that has been around for about a decade. It continues to be well-adopted and supported. Although it is not a new tool, it can be a good alternative if you’re looking to replace Maven as your build management solution. Gradle is more extensible and faster than Maven, and can be used for native development of C/C++ applications.

Gradle includes features for incremental builds, build caching and parallel execution. It supports a variety of languages and platforms, including Java, Scala, Android and C/C++. You can integrate Gradle with a range of tools, including Eclipse, IntelliJ and Jenkins.

You can use Gradle on-premises or with a virtual machine in the cloud. Gradle is free to use; however, if you want enterprise support or training, you need to pay an additional fee.


Helm is an open source Kubernetes package manager. You can use it to define, install and upgrade Kubernetes-orchestrated applications. Helm includes a wide range of pre-built charts (sets of distributable Kubernetes resources) that you can use to deploy services faster and more easily. You can use Helm on Linux, Mac and Windows devices.

Jenkins X

Jenkins X is an updated version of the well-known Jenkins. It builds on the existing features of Jenkins with capabilities tailored to Kubernetes and Docker workflows. It includes features for pre-built pipelines, integrated GitOps support, automatically generated preview environments and feedback integration.

Jenkins X integrates with Tekton, Prow, Helm, Knative and Skaffold. You can use it on Linux, Mac or Windows machines.

CI/CD and Automation Go Hand-in-Hand

Agile teams need automation tooling, especially when creating and working with CI/CD pipelines. DevOps environments are dynamic, built for fluid workflows and constant change. Automation helps DevOps teams maintain a high level of visibility and reduce time spent on repetitive tasks. When adding AI and data science into the mix, DevOps teams gain the ability to make data-driven decisions, in addition to automated alerts and response.

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