What is Jenkins?

Learn more about the world's most popular CI/CD server

Jenkins® is an open source automation server. With Jenkins, organizations can accelerate the software development process by automating it. Jenkins manages and controls software delivery processes throughout the entire lifecycle, including build, document, test, package, stage, deployment, static code analysis and much more.

You can set up Jenkins to watch for any code changes in places like GitHub, Bitbucket or GitLab and automatically do a build a with tools like Maven and Gradle. You can utilize container technology such as Docker and Kubernetes, initiate tests and then take actions like rolling back or rolling forward in production.

Jenkins History

The Jenkins project was started in 2004 (originally called Hudson) by Kohsuke Kawaguchi, while he worked for Sun Microsystems. Kohsuke was a developer at Sun and got tired of incurring the wrath of his team every time his code broke the build. He created Jenkins as a way to perform continuous integration – that is, to test his code before he did an actual commit to the repository, to be sure all was well. Once his teammates saw what he was doing, they all wanted to use Jenkins. Kohsuke open sourced it, creating the Jenkins project, and soon Jenkins usage had spread around the world.

Jenkins Today

Originally developed by Kohsuke for continuous integration (CI), today Jenkins orchestrates the entire software delivery pipeline – called continuous delivery. For some organizations automation extends even further, to continuous deployment. Continuous delivery (CD), coupled with a DevOps culture, dramatically accelerates the delivery of software.

Jenkins is the most widely adopted solution for continuous delivery, thanks to its extensibility and a vibrant, active community. The Jenkins community offers more than 1,700 plugins that enable Jenkins to integrate with virtually any tool, including all of the best-of-breed solutions used throughout the continuous delivery process. Jenkins continues to grow as the dominant solution for software process automation, continuous integration and continuous delivery and, as of February 2018, there are more than 165,000 active installations and an estimated 1.65 million users around the world.

CloudBees and the Jenkins Community

CloudBees is an active participant in the Jenkins community and plays a significant role in supporting the project. A number of key contributors to the Jenkins project are employed by CloudBees. In support of the community, CloudBees is the lead sponsor of DevOps World

Engineers from the CloudBees support and product teams regularly contribute code to the Jenkins project, are active in Jenkins chats and project meetings, and contribute to the Jenkins project mailing lists. Additionally, all fixes made by CloudBees in the open source code are contributed back to the project – which helps us all to enjoy an ever-higher quality Jenkins experience.

Jenkins and the Continuous Delivery Foundation

In 2019, the Continuous Delivery Foundation (CDF) was launched operating under the umbrella of the Linux Foundation. CloudBees led the launch initiative, in collaboration with the Jenkins, Google, the Linux Foundation, and more.

The CDF is focused on developing, nurturing and promoting open source projects, best practices and industry specifications related to continuous delivery. The CDF houses a variety of open source projects, including Jenkins, Jenkins X, Spinnaker and Tekton. Additional projects are expected to join, with the goal of bringing together a continuous delivery (CD) ecosystem to build specifications and projects around portability and interoperability. CloudBees participates as a founding member and contributes technologies and resources to the project on an ongoing basis

Additional Resources

Related Assets


The Guide to Advanced Jenkins®

Read the technical cheat sheet on setting up efficient, secure Jenkins pipelines.


Guide to Streamlining CI with Declarative Pipelines

Discover how declarative pipelines in Jenkins® offer many technical and business benefits.


Jenkins Pipeline with Plugins

This technical guide will show a number of common use cases for plugins with Jenkins Pipeline.


Best Practices for Jenkins Pipeline

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Jenkins Tutorial: Get Started Quickly and Easily With CI

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to quickly build a Jenkins server and create a CI job using Docker and Docker Compose.


UI Improvements to Jenkins and CloudBees CI

Discover how the Jenkins project has over 1800 plugins and components developed by contributors to enhance its flexible CI/CD space, allowing for a variety of tool.

Install Our Free Plugin

Start using Jenkins Health Advisor by CloudBees today in a few easy steps.