TeamCity vs Jenkins – Your Complete Guide [Updated Edition]
Build. Test. Deploy.
Every real-world application development involves the above three stages. But do they need to be in the same sequence?
Let’s start with the Waterfall model; it is sequential and moves forward in phases. But as the industry evolved, it became obsolete. Agile methodology took its place, which works iteratively to overcome its predecessor’s drawbacks. Yet again, the industry evolved to look for something more collaborative; agile no longer served the purpose precisely. CI/CD was chosen as the replacement, where both development and operations execute iteratively. It continues till application development and deployment is complete.
Here tools help, two of which are TeamCity and Jenkins—our topic of the day.
In this blog, we outline TeamCity vs Jenkins for your better understanding of the CI/CD. You will even understand how DevOps became the norm for organizations today for CI/CD to become an indispensable part of their operations.
Table Of Contents
- 1 What is CI/CD? Why is it Important?
- 2 What is TeamCity?
- 3 What is Jenkins?
- 4 Why Choose TeamCity?
- 5 Why Choose Jenkins?
- 6 Advantages of Jenkins
- 7 TeamCity vs Jenkins – Differences and Comparison
- 8 Which is Better: TeamCity or Jenkins?
- 9 Key Takeaways
- 10 Frequently Asked Questions
What is CI/CD? Why is it Important?
You must have come across the term ‘DevOps.’ We mentioned it earlier in this blog!
DevOps is a set of practices that combines software development with IT operations. CI/CD are the two practices DevOps engineers use to perform their tasks.
CI stands for Continuous Integration, a DevOps practice consisting of regular development, testing, and merging updated code in a shared file or repository.
CD stands for Continuous Delivery, the subsequent step to CI, which consists of an automatic pipeline where developers deploy code changes from different staging environments into a repository. The same can further be pushed to the production environment available to the customers.
Point to Note: A pipeline is a series of commands or points every new code passes through before moving to production, and you can automate this.
Another meaning of CD is Continuous Deployment, which refers to automatically moving the code changes from the repository to the production environment. It eases the load on the operations team to forward the updates manually, which improves the application delivery time.
While CI/CD might differ in meaning and concept, their purpose is to establish automation and continuous monitoring throughout the application development lifecycle. It supports developers in identifying defects at an early stage, enhancing product quality, and making a stable product build.
What is TeamCity?
TeamCity is a commercial CI/CD tool by Jetbrains that supports the automatic building and testing of applications. It is a Java-based CI server that provides build chain tools, source control, and detailed build history, features you will probably miss in free tools. Although it runs in a Java environment, you can still install it on multiple OS, such as Windows and Linux.
Being a commercial tool, TeamCity is paid, but it offers a license for up to 100 build configurations as a freemium model and 3 build agents. It is popularly known for its easy-to-use interface and configuration that supports several plug-ins and technologies. When your team is deploying TeamCity for DevOps, you can also use .Net frameworks and different IDEs, such as Eclipse and Visual Studio.
What is Jenkins?
Jenkins is a free-of-cost, open-source CI server that runs on Java. So, you can easily deploy it in Linux, OpenSUSE, Windows, and other operating systems. It assists developers in automatically building, testing, delivering, and deploying applications.
Jenkins supports developers in monitoring and documenting their product’s development through continuous integration and delivery rapidly. The USP of Jenkins is the scalability and an extensive library of nearly 1,500+ plug-ins. The platform’s extensibility increases fivefold as these plug-ins offer customization to support any size of CI project.
The initial version of Jenkins was similar to any other open-source tool, complex to configure, and difficult to navigate. But the new version is easier to set up with a user-friendly interface.
Why Choose TeamCity?
TeamCity supports integration with multiple third-party applications like:
- Jira to track and report issues
- Visual Studio and Eclipse to assist developers in beginning programming quickly
- Docker to automatically create containers
There are still more answers to ‘Why TeamCity.’ It supports the .Net framework and is an exceptionally reliable tool for freshers entering DevOps; you can run it on any OS of your choice. It has an in-built build artifact repository to store artifacts on the TeamCity server file system or external storage.
Why Choose Jenkins?
Jenkins is a free tool that offers a huge plug-in library – probably one of the biggest for any CI tool. Here are some reasons why Jenkins could become your CI tool of choice:
- Popular in the market
- Has an active and lively user community
- Integrates with numerous tools and technologies, including VCs like Git, Maven, and Amazon E2
Advantages of TeamCity
Although TeamCity is predominantly used by developers and operations teams, Jetbrains maintains that the tool’s advantage spans more than just a few teams. Here’s a list of advantages of TeamCity to help you further in your understanding of TeamCity vs Jenkins:
- Easy to setup, configure and begin the process
- Integrates with your build/test tools seamlessly and keeps a record of the history
- Offers complete visibility into your DevOps pipeline to keep you on the track
- Integration with IDEs allows you to build, analyze, and run automated tests without touching your code
- Helps you maintain configuration for large projects by providing full authority to write CI/CD configuration using Kotlin
- Provides real-time reporting throughout the building, testing, and deploying process
Advantages of Jenkins
But before you make your decision, we highlight the advantages of Jenkins for you to compare them with TeamCity:
- Consists of a highly scalable and large variety of built-in plug-ins
- Free to use and open-source tool with a huge active community
- Allows you to create and share unavailable plug-ins with the community
- Supports hybrid and multi-cloud environment
- Robust and reliable for extensive usage
- Requires little maintenance
- Contains in-built GUI tools to receive easy updates
TeamCity vs Jenkins – Differences and Comparison
Despite leading the market in their own way, commercial or otherwise, both TeamCity and Jenkins differ in their functioning. Here are some of the highlighting points of TeamCity vs Jenkins that are sure to help you pick the tool that best aligns with your CI goals:
Installation & Configuration
TeamCity’s installation and configuration are easy and straightforward if you follow the instructions carefully. You must download the appropriate TeamCity servers and follow the documentation available on TeamCity’s official website to complete the installation.
Even the installation and subsequent configuration of Jenkins are fairly simple. But it has two prerequisites—Java and Apache Tomcat. Then, in only three steps, you can complete Jenkins installation. Once installation is over, you can configure Jenkins using the in-built interface the tool offers.
Overall, both TeamCity and Jenkins have easy setup, installation, and configuration processes.
Extensibility & Customization
Both TeamCity and Jenkins are quite resourceful regarding extensibility; they offer support for RESTful APIs scalability.TeamCity has several methods to customize and extend your servers. Further options exist in TeamCity to perform interaction via RESTful APIs by using service messages in build scripts and creating plug-ins. But the website of TeamCity does not contain a document that properly guides you through the extensibility and customization process.
On the other hand, Jenkins has a well-documented guide and an active community. You can turn to such forums to help you extend and customize the tool. Here is the base knowledge where you can get started.
Jenkins wins this round. A thriving community and open discussion forum are two of the many reasons why Jenkins has a rich plug-in ecosystem. The tool has nearly 1500+ plug-ins that support the software’s build, analysis, delivery, deployment, and automation. Most of these plug-ins are community-supported and make customization easy and cost-effective.
In comparison, TeamCity has less than 400 plug-ins available to download. These plug-ins need a separate installation as they are not supported by the commercial tool.
Cloud & Key Integrations
Again, Jenkins takes the lead with its free plug-ins that offer integration with multiple third-party tools. You can also integrate Jenkins with cloud platforms, such as Amazon EC2, Microsoft, Google Cloud, and Atlassian Cloud. All of this consolidation is possible through the rich library of plug-ins the tool houses.
TeamCity is almost at par with Jenkins in cloud integrations; it connects with popular cloud solutions through plug-ins. The tool supports Amazon EC2, VMWare vSphere, Kubernetes via plug-ins, and Windows Azure, Google Cloud, and Digital Ocean Cloud via non-bundled plug-ins.
Being open-source has its advantages, and Jenkins knows that too well!
As Jenkins has been around for a while now, the tool has a very active, participative, and thriving community. The users majorly rely on their fellow Jenkins community members to guide them through installation, troubleshooting, plug-in development, and more.
But TeamCity is not far behind. It has a highly dynamic community that helps in knowledge sharing and problem sharing, especially around general topics and plug-ins development.
Overall, Jenkins takes the cake when it comes to having reliable community support.
Features & Capabilities
Honestly, both TeamCity and Jenkins are quite capable CI tools. Jenkins leads the way with its deep experience and rich features. TeamCity takes the stage as an ‘Intelligent CI tool’ of today.
With thousands of in-built plug-ins, Jenkins emerges not only as a code-building tool but also as a code-testing tool. There is support for multiple version control systems and build environments except only a few.TeamCity offers more than just the basic features of a CI tool. It supports .NET, Ruby, and Java. In addition, the tool allows you to build docker images easily, and integration with Jira and Bugzilla enables you to track and report issues.
Ease of Use
While both are easy to install and use, TeamCity boasts a user-friendly and clean interface. You can seamlessly customize TeamCity’s interface to match your requirements.For Jenkins, functionality comes before appearance. You would need time to learn the ins and outs of Jenkins. But if your team is big on ease of use, we suggest you give TeamCity a chance.
TeamCity is only available in the on-premise setup. But there is also the possibility of deploying it on a self-hosted server through a reverse proxy.
You can choose Jenkins if you don’t want to go through this whole configuration for hosting TeamCity. Jenkins is available in the cloud-based and on-premise versions and is ideal for installation in the cloud for running self-hosted pipelines.
Both Jenkins and TeamCity are frequent with update releases, but they follow differing release cycles.
The last version update of TeamCity was in 2021. Jetbrains came up with TeamCity 2021.1 with the tool supporting new build runners for Kotlin and Node.js and better integration.
Jenkins is also frequent with its release cycles but follows the Long-Term Support release concept. The latest updated version of Jenkins is 2.385, which came out on Jan 3, 2023.
Distributed execution is the only time when TeamCity vs Jenkins comes close to being similar. They both are equally compatible in running distributed tasks without impacting the GUI.
However, Jenkins might result in poor performance due to using the same instance for running GUI tasks.
The opposite of distributed runs is parallelism; it means running tasks simultaneously on the same machine. You can run parallel tasks in TeamCity and Jenkins. But it is easier to do it in the latter.
Jenkins allows parallelism through parallel stages, and you only need to enable the Parallel Test Executor plug-in to start the process. But one disadvantage of parallelism in Jenkins is that all the builds share the same environment, which might cause problems with shared resources.
TeamCity also supports parallelism, but it is fairly tough for users to implement. In TeamCity vs Jenkins, enabling the parallelism feature is far less complex in the latter.
Open Source or Commercial
Throughout this article, our emphasis was on Jenkins being an open-source CI tool and TeamCity being a commercial tool.
You see, this difference influences many other features we have discussed above. An open community, a rich set of plug-ins, and a dedicated user base make Jenkins a favorite of small enterprises. The tool comes under an MIT license.
TeamCity offers two options—Professional Server License and Build Agent License—which you can choose as per your need.
Which is Better: TeamCity or Jenkins?
Both TeamCity and Jenkins come close to being the two best and ideal CI tools for every enterprise. But as business needs change, the solutions require careful consideration as well. Hosting options, available integrations, reusable code libraries, container support, and ease of use are a few parameters to check before deciding on the tool.
If you are looking for an extensible open-source solution with a vision to learn and grow, Jenkins is your partner. But if usability and user-friendliness are your top priority, TeamCity should be your first choice despite being a commercial tool.
Both of these CI tools can run your software development and testing processes; you can choose which one benefits your operations the most.
The change in SDLC processes has given rise to continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD) environment, and every organization realizes its advantages. What they need, along with CI/CD, are tools supporting this idea, two of which are TeamCity and Jenkins.
In considering which CI tool to adopt, we venture into the topic of TeamCity vs Jenkins to highlight their differences and usability. While one is a commercial tool, the other is open-source. They have their advantages and drawbacks that add to your consideration for choosing the tool.
Overall, we suggest you either make an informed decision and deploy one tool for your operations or test both of them temporarily and adopt one after practical knowledge of both.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is TeamCity Based on Jenkins?
Although TeamCity and Jenkins are both CI tools, they differ in several features. TeamCity is easy to install and configure and has an easy interface. It is also a commercially licensed tool, whereas Jenkins is available free of cost and open-source.
What is the Use of TeamCity?
TeamCity enables DevOps engineers to build and test software in an automated way. The tool is extremely useful for quick feedback on every code change instance. It further reduces code integration problems and makes teamwork more effective and smooth.
Which Tool is Better than Jenkins?
There are many alternatives to Jenkins, one of which we discussed under TeamCity vs Jenkins. However, comparing all the CI tools and terming one better than another usually depends on business requirements.
Jenkins is best if you want an open-source CI tool with a community to back your software development efforts. But other tools help if you are looking for a better user interface and usability.
Is Jenkins Outdated?
No, Jenkins is not outdated. The tool’s recent release was on Jan 3, 2023, which has considerably improved the UI. Many other new CI tools might be available in the market today, but Jenkins still has a big hold with a lively and active community of more than 300,000 users.