Over the past couple of years, CloudBees has worked towards making Jenkins more accessible for both our CloudBees Jenkins Platform customers and Jenkins community users: first through best practices, then a knowledge center with training, support, and CloudBees documentation.
As Jenkins grows to over 132,000 installations with 6,400,000 plugins installed worldwide, the need for a healthy ecosystem of reliable and feature-complete plugins is greater than ever.
Manually verifying the compatibility and usability of all the plugins in a given Jenkins installation is a Herculean and expensive effort. Often administrators simply don’t have the time or resources to do this due diligence, but this exposes them to the instabilities that incompatible plugins can cause, as well as function-breaking updates between versions.
A more stable Jenkins foundation
To solve these pains, CloudBees is taking on this work and producing a new distribution of Jenkins: CloudBees Jenkins Enterprise. This distribution makes Jenkins and plugin management easier with pre-tested sets of some of the most popular community plugins, as well as plugins that are popular among CloudBees customers in particular. This distribution undergoes the highest levels of verification in the CloudBees Assurance Program, ensuring its components are verified for their compatibility with the CloudBees Jenkins Platform and the quality of their overall functionality.
In the long-term, CloudBees will verify all of the top 100 community plugins, but today we have verified most of the top 30, as well as select plugins for our customers’ more niche use-cases and tool sets. This release we paid special attention to plugins around security and credentialing to ensure that we have an impact on the widest range of Jenkins users; while not everyone uses a given SCM or build agents, credentials are fundamental to any installation.
A smoother update experience
Version conflicts are often at the heart of a failed update and while the CloudBees Jenkins Enterprise distribution offers a stable set of recommended versions, that alone is not sufficient to ensure these verified versions are actually used. To this end, CloudBees has also created the Beekeeper Upgrade Assistant, which offers compliance views of installed verified components as well as optional automatic enforcement mechanisms.
Beekeeper offers an atomic update mechanic to minimize the potential for instability caused by version conflicts and the lead time needed for upgrades. This, in turn, better enables administrators to leverage the new rolling releases of the CloudBees Jenkins Platform to get the latest stable features and fixes as soon as they are available.
The road ahead
Over the coming months, the CloudBees Assurance Program team will work on improving the Beekeeper upgrade experience, as well as verifying a larger set of useful plugins for our customers. In the near future, CloudBees Network will also start offering a marketplace-style view of the CloudBees Jenkins Platform and CloudBees Jenkins Enterprise distribution components to make it even easier to keep up with the latest and recommended feature sets.
Stay tuned as we roll out these things in the coming months and feel free to contact me with any feedback.