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Jenkins vs. Kubernetes | What are the differences?

by Pranisha Rai
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DevOps is the backbone of the entire IT life cycle operation starting from development to process completion. Rapid improvements in this model have helped many organizations with efficiency. Kubernetes and Jenkins are the integral segments of DevOps automation. This article compares Kubernetes and Jenkins by providing features, main differences, and similarities.

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What is Kubernetes?

Kubernetes is an open-source containerized program, also known as K8S, that was developed by Google. This tool automates the operational tasks of container management and scales the application to fit the requirements. 

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Features of Kubernetes

Features of Kubernetes
  •  Advanced Networking Capabilities: Helps organization to manage and monitor the network connection.
  • Built-in Load Balancing: Distributes the incoming traffic across the various containers equally to enhance overall performance.
  • Persistent Storage: Helps restore the data upon the deletion of the container. 
  • Advanced Monitoring and Logging: Simplifies the tracking and monitoring of the performance of the application.
  • Batch Execution: Manages CI workloads and restores containers that don’t operate anymore. 
  • Secrets: Stores the information; it helps to configure software without reestablishing the image.
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Pros & Cons

Automatic scaling and replication controllersComplex to set up
Automatic deployment, scaling, and updating of the applicationManaging can be challenging
Use redundancyResource intensive
High-availabilityLimited customization options
Use failover mechanismConsume most CPU memory
FlexibleDifficult to meet specific needs and requirements
Large community supportSteep learning curve
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What is Jenkins?

Jenkins is a leading Continuous Integration (CI)/Continuous Delivery (CD)deployment Java-based automation server.

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Features of Jenkins

  • Platform Agnostic: It is an independent Java-based program deployed with MAC, Windows, and Unix.
  • Web-Based Interface: This feature comes in handy to check faults. 
  • Easy to Install and Configure: It provides an array of environment configuration that makes installation smooth.
  • Cost Effective: It comes with active community support and is free to use.
  • Extensible: It provides rich library plugins to integrate into your development tools. 
  • Multi-factor Authentication: Jenkins provides security for both servers and users and ensures that any computer it runs on is secure.
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Pros & Cons

Automated building and testingNot beginner friendly
Flexible customizationTime-consuming
Integrates well with Docker and KubernetesNeeds frequent maintenance and updates
Comes with the extended toolsMaintenance requires the whole team to manage
Use failover mechanismVulnerable to security threats
Extensive library for plugins and add-onsScalability depends on plugins
Large community supportNot a monolithic systems
Free to use 
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Key Difference between Kubernetes and Jenkins

Key Differences b/w kubernetes and Jenkins
Kubernetes Jenkins
Automates desktop application with CI/CD Runs, builds, and tests tools for applications
Limits are up to 5,000 nodes Unlimited nodes
Not customizable Customizable
Built-in auto-scaling support Auto-scaling with Kubernetes
Deployment of CI/CD pipeline Builds and manages the CI/CD pipeline
Low fault tolerance Low fault tolerance
Infrastructure abstraction Easy user interface and experience
Support from CNCF Monitoring and notification capabilities
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How Does Kubernetes and Jenkins Work Together?

Kubernetes & Jenkins work

Kubernetes clusters add new automation layers to Jenkins and then it ensures whether the resources are used effectively or not. After that, it makes sure that the servers and underlying infrastructure are not overloaded. Ultimately, Kubernetes’ potential to orchestrate container deployment will benefit in keeping the right amount of resources to use later. 

On the other hand, Jenkins improves its overall performance by improving reliability and scalability. One of the added advantages of Jenkins with Kubernetes is that it can run on multiple nodes within the cluster. That in return ensures the CI/CD pipeline is working all the time. 

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Usage of These Automation Tools in Real-life

Netflix and LinkedIn heavily rely on it for the CI/CD pipelineSpotify fully relies on it to manage vast microservices architecture
It helps Uber to automate the build and deployment processIt helps Pinterest to enhance its infrastructure
Adobe depends on it for continuous delivery and deploymentBox (CMS) uses to manage resources efficiently
Google uses Jenkins to manage complex testing and deploymentNASA depends on it to manage data-intensive scientific work
Facebook, Udemy, and Twitch rely on itNordstrom uses it to optimize its e-commerce platform during peak shopping hours
 Tech giants companies such as Amazon, Microsoft, and Facebook rely on it
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Kubernetes and Jenkins Deployment and Integrations

The following cloud services are commonly used for Kubernetes and Jenkins deployment and integrations

Kubernetes Jenkins
Amazon (AWS) provides Amazon Elastic Container Service (ESK) AWS provides Amazon Elastic Container Service (ECS)
Google (GCP)provides Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) GCP provides  Google Cloud Build
Microsoft Azure provides Azure Container Instances (ACI) Microsoft Azure provides Azure DevOps
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Final Thoughts

These tools have different features and extends distinctive benefits to the DevOps toolkit. Instead of competing against each other, these two platforms work well with each other. Analyzing its differences can clarify which one will align best for your development.

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