Why Your CI Server Isn’t The Right Choice for Enabling CD

Expanding CI into CD without the right tooling takes too much work and defeats the whole purpose of automation. Especially considering modern, purpose-built solutions that do so faster, better, cheaper, and at a lower risk.

Continuous Integration (CI) servers, like Jenkins, are great at helping teams integrate code into a shared repository several times a day.  They’re not designed to orchestrate your end-to-end toolchain in a scalable, reusable way. And “just adding a few more jobs to the CI server” won’t bridge that gap. In fact, that approach makes them costlier and even harder to maintain, hampering your overall progress.

Success with Continuous Delivery and Deployment means consistent environments, artifacts, and deployment processes from Development through to Production. It means having a complete understanding of what is running where, who approved it, and how it got there – without requiring herculean efforts.  And for larger organizations, it means an easy way to achieve scale, control, efficiency, and security of these capabilities.

Listed below are just a few of the Application Release Automation capabilities that CI tools just can’t handle.

Jenkins & other CI Servers ElectricFlow
Model-based

Model-Driven

Separates the definition of the What (application components), Where (environments – machines, operating systems, middleware, etc.), and How (automation steps and actions) from its implementations to achieve portability, consistency, and reuse. Changes automation realization from huge customization projects to straightforward configuration efforts.

NO YES

Flexible, self-service standardization

Uses pre-built primitives and/or your own approved automation to accelerate time-to-value. Allows use of standardized pipelines and procedures that flex to accommodate team-based nuances.

NO YES

Quickly On-Board Teams and Projects

Allows easy configuration of managed, controlled, and approved processes and toolchains for each of your products, technologies, and groups as it makes sense for your business. On-board them via self-service.

NO YES
Deployment Automation

Advanced deployment capabilities

Eliminates scripting and provides any team members (Dev, QA and Ops) an easy way to leverage advanced patterns like Rolling Deployments and Automated Rollback on day one.

NO YES

Deployment portability

Deploys natively to all major stacks to simplify cloud, container and on-premises deployments and releases. Packages and tracks microservices and containers with ease.

NO YES

Drift Tracking

Compares what has already been deployed to an environment to either what is about to be deployed, or with a previous baseline.

NO YES

Incremental deployments

Automatically determines what has changed and only deploys those changes.

NO YES
Release Coordination

‘Choreograph’ Pipelines Across Teams

Aligns multiple teams working in parallel on a common release to easily plan and track progress against it.

NO YES

Track and Manage Inter-Component/Team Dependencies

Reduces rework, accelerates delivery, and prevents expensive and damaging release errors before they happen.

NO YES
Visibility and Control

Common Knowledge Store

Stores all activity and results in a centralized data repository – leverages a comprehensive ‘single source of truth’ to generate views, reports, and dashboards.

NO YES

Traceability and Inventory

Provides visibility into exactly what application versions are deployed where, including how they were packaged, tested, and promoted, to the lowest level of granularity.

NO YES

Comprehensive Audit Trail

Reports on every single action taken, by user and role, as well as all edits to every model/object definition by any user. Audits become a formality, not a new project.

NO YES
Enterprise Readiness

Up & Out Scalability

Handles growth in user base, automation scope, and frequency, application volume, and resource expansion without performance degradation or administrative escalation.

NO YES

Centralized Tool Administration

Enables teams to make changes once and have it apply everywhere, consistently, automatically.

NO YES

Role-Based Access Control and Permissions

Provides authorized users access to create, update, or activate any object in the system, including applications, environments, pipelines, releases, and resources.

NO YES

Right tool for the job

Use your CI Server for what it was meant to do: integrate code.  But, when you’re trying to create delivery pipelines to be used by Dev, Ops and Release Managers, consider integrating your CI Server with a solution designed for release automation.  Your customers, developers, and Ops staff will thank you for it.

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