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Chef vs Jenkins: What are the differences?

Chef: Build, destroy and rebuild servers on any public or private cloud. Chef enables you to manage and scale cloud infrastructure with no downtime or interruptions. Freely move applications and configurations from one cloud to another. Chef is integrated with all major cloud providers including Amazon EC2, VMWare, IBM Smartcloud, Rackspace, OpenStack, Windows Azure, HP Cloud, Google Compute Engine, Joyent Cloud and others; Jenkins: An extendable open source continuous integration server. In a nutshell Jenkins CI is the leading open-source continuous integration server. Built with Java, it provides over 300 plugins to support building and testing virtually any project.

Chef and Jenkins are primarily classified as "Server Configuration and Automation" and "Continuous Integration" tools respectively.

Some of the features offered by Chef are:

  • Access to 800+ Reusable Cookbooks
  • Integration with Leading Cloud Providers
  • Enterprise Platform Support including Windows and Solaris

On the other hand, Jenkins provides the following key features:

  • Easy installation
  • Easy configuration
  • Change set support

"Dynamic and idempotent server configuration" is the primary reason why developers consider Chef over the competitors, whereas "Hosted internally" was stated as the key factor in picking Jenkins.

Chef and Jenkins are both open source tools. Jenkins with 13.2K GitHub stars and 5.43K forks on GitHub appears to be more popular than Chef with 5.83K GitHub stars and 2.35K GitHub forks.

According to the StackShare community, Jenkins has a broader approval, being mentioned in 1753 company stacks & 1479 developers stacks; compared to Chef, which is listed in 359 company stacks and 80 developer stacks.

Advice on Chef and Jenkins
Needs advice
on
Jenkins
and
Azure Pipelines

We are currently using Azure Pipelines for continous integration. Our applications are developed witn .NET framework. But when we look at the online Jenkins is the most widely used tool for continous integration. Can you please give me the advice which one is best to use for my case Azure pipeline or jenkins.

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Replies (1)
Recommends
GitHub

If your source code is on GitHub, also take a look at Github actions. https://github.com/features/actions

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Mohammad Hossein Amri
Chief Technology Officer at Axceligent Solutions · | 3 upvotes · 190.7K views
Needs advice
on
Jenkins
and
GoCD

I'm open to anything. just want something that break less and doesn't need me to pay for it, and can be hosted on Docker. our scripting language is powershell core. so it's better to support it. also we are building dotnet core in our pipeline, so if they have anything related that helps with the CI would be nice.

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Replies (1)
Ankit Malik
Software Developer at CloudCover · | 1 upvotes · 177.1K views

Google cloud build can help you. It is hosted on cloud and also provide reasonable free quota.

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Needs advice
on
Jenkins
and
Concourse

I'm planning to setup complete CD-CD setup for spark and python application which we are going to deploy in aws lambda and EMR Cluster. Which tool would be best one to choose. Since my company is trying to adopt to concourse i would like to understand what are the lack of capabilities concourse have . Thanks in advance !

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Replies (1)
Maxi Krone
Cloud Engineer at fme AG · | 2 upvotes · 93.8K views
Recommends
Concourse

I would definetly recommend Concourse to you, as it is one of the most advanced modern methods of making CI/CD while Jenkins is an old monolithic dinosaur. Concourse itself is cloudnative and containerbased which helps you to build simple, high-performance and scalable CI/CD pipelines. In my opinion, the only lack of skills you have with Concourse is your own knowledge of how to build pipelines and automate things. Technincally there is no lack, i would even say you can extend it way more easily. But as a Con it is more easy to interact with Jenkins if you are only used to UIs. Concourse needs someone which is capable of using CLIs.

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Needs advice
on
Puppet Labs
Chef
and
Ansible

I'm just getting started using Vagrant to help automate setting up local VMs to set up a Kubernetes cluster (development and experimentation only). (Yes, I do know about minikube)

I'm looking for a tool to help install software packages, setup users, etc..., on these VMs. I'm also fairly new to Ansible, Chef, and Puppet. What's a good one to start with to learn? I might decide to try all 3 at some point for my own curiosity.

The most important factors for me are simplicity, ease of use, shortest learning curve.

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Replies (2)
Recommends
Ansible

I have been working with Puppet and Ansible. The reason why I prefer ansible is the distribution of it. Ansible is more lightweight and therefore more popular. This leads to situations, where you can get fully packaged applications for ansible (e.g. confluent) supported by the vendor, but only incomplete packages for Puppet.

The only advantage I would see with Puppet if someone wants to use Foreman. This is still better supported with Puppet.

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Gabriel Pa
Recommends
Kubernetes
at

If you are just starting out, might as well learn Kubernetes There's a lot of tools that come with Kube that make it easier to use and most importantly: you become cloud-agnostic. We use Ansible because it's a lot simpler than Chef or Puppet and if you use Docker Compose for your deployments you can re-use them with Kubernetes later when you migrate

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Needs advice
on
Jenkins
Travis CI
and
CircleCI

From a StackShare Community member: "Currently we use Travis CI and have optimized it as much as we can so our builds are fairly quick. Our boss is all about redundancy so we are looking for another solution to fall back on in case Travis goes down and/or jacks prices way up (they were recently acquired). Could someone recommend which CI we should go with and if they have time, an explanation of how they're different?"

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Replies (6)
Dustin Falgout
Developer at Elegant Themes · | 13 upvotes · 198.5K views

We use CircleCI because of the better value it provides in its plans. I'm sure we could have used Travis just as easily but we found CircleCI's pricing to be more reasonable. In the two years since we signed up, the service has improved. CircleCI is always innovating and iterating on their platform. We have been very satisfied.

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Peter Thomas
Distinguished Engineer at Intuit · | 9 upvotes · 176.6K views
Recommends
Travis CI
at

As the maintainer of the Karate DSL open-source project - I found Travis CI very easy to integrate into the GitHub workflow and it has been steady sailing for more than 2 years now ! It works well for Java / Apache Maven projects and we were able to configure it to use the latest Oracle JDK as per our needs. Thanks to the Travis CI team for this service to the open-source community !

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I use Google Cloud Build because it's my first foray into the CICD world(loving it so far), and I wanted to work with something GCP native to avoid giving permissions to other SaaS tools like CircleCI and Travis CI.

I really like it because it's free for the first 120 minutes, and it's one of the few CICD tools that enterprises are open to using since it's contained within GCP.

One of the unique things is that it has the Kaniko cache, which speeds up builds by creating intermediate layers within the docker image vs. pushing the full thing from the start. Helpful when you're installing just a few additional dependencies.

Feel free to checkout an example: Cloudbuild Example

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Recommends
Travis CI

I use Travis CI because of various reasons - 1. Cloud based system so no dedicated server required, and you do not need to administrate it. 2. Easy YAML configuration. 3. Supports Major Programming Languages. 4. Support of build matrix 6. Supports AWS, Azure, Docker, Heroku, Google Cloud, Github Pages, PyPi and lot more. 7. Slack Notifications.

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Oded Arbel
Recommends
GitLab CI

You are probably looking at another hosted solution: Jenkins is a good tool but it way too work intensive to be used as just a backup solution.

I have good experience with Circle-CI, Codeship, Drone.io and Travis (as well as problematic experiences with all of them), but my go-to tool is Gitlab CI: simple, powerful and if you have problems with their limitations or pricing, you can always install runners somewhere and use Gitlab just for scheduling and management. Even if you don't host your git repository at Gitlab, you can have Gitlab pull changes automatically from wherever you repo lives.

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Recommends
Buildkite

If you are considering Jenkins I would recommend at least checking out Buildkite. The agents are self-hosted (like Jenkins) but the interface is hosted for you. It meshes up some of the things I like about hosted services (pipeline definitions in YAML, managed interface and authentication) with things I like about Jenkins (local customizable agent images, secrets only on own instances, custom agent level scripts, sizing instances to your needs).

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Decisions about Chef and Jenkins
Stephen Badger | Vital Beats
Senior DevOps Engineer at Vital Beats · | 2 upvotes · 75.8K views

Within our deployment pipeline, we have a need to deploy to multiple customer environments, and manage secrets specifically in a way that integrates well with AWS, Kubernetes Secrets, Terraform and our pipelines ourselves.

Jenkins offered us the ability to choose one of a number of credentials/secrets management approaches, and models secrets as a more dynamic concept that GitHub Actions provided.

Additionally, we are operating Jenkins within our development Kubernetes cluster as a kind of system-wide orchestrator, allowing us to use Kubernetes pods as build agents, avoiding the ongoing direct costs associated with GitHub Actions minutes / per-user pricing. Obviously as a consequence we take on the indirect costs of maintain Jenkins itself, patching it, upgrading etc. However our experience with managing Jenkins via Kubernetes and declarative Jenkins configuration has led us to believe that this cost is small, particularly as the majority of actual building and testing is handled inside docker containers and Kubernetes, alleviating the need for less supported plugins that may make Jenkins administration more difficult.

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Jenkins is a pretty flexible, complete tool. Especially I love the possibility to configure jobs as a code with Jenkins pipelines.

CircleCI is well suited for small projects where the main task is to run continuous integration as quickly as possible. Travis CI is recommended primarily for open-source projects that need to be tested in different environments.

And for something a bit larger I prefer to use Jenkins because it is possible to make serious system configuration thereby different plugins. In Jenkins, I can change almost anything. But if you want to start the CI chain as soon as possible, Jenkins may not be the right choice.

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Pros of Chef
Pros of Jenkins
  • 109
    Dynamic and idempotent server configuration
  • 76
    Reusable components
  • 47
    Integration testing with Vagrant
  • 43
    Repeatable
  • 30
    Mock testing with Chefspec
  • 14
    Ruby
  • 8
    Can package cookbooks to guarantee repeatability
  • 7
    Works with AWS
  • 3
    Has marketplace where you get readymade cookbooks
  • 3
    Matured product with good community support
  • 2
    Less declarative more procedural
  • 2
    Open source configuration mgmt made easy(ish)
  • 522
    Hosted internally
  • 464
    Free open source
  • 314
    Great to build, deploy or launch anything async
  • 243
    Tons of integrations
  • 209
    Rich set of plugins with good documentation
  • 109
    Has support for build pipelines
  • 72
    Open source and tons of integrations
  • 63
    Easy setup
  • 61
    It is open-source
  • 54
    Workflow plugin
  • 11
    Configuration as code
  • 10
    Very powerful tool
  • 9
    Many Plugins
  • 8
    Great flexibility
  • 8
    Git and Maven integration is better
  • 7
    Continuous Integration
  • 6
    Slack Integration (plugin)
  • 6
    Github integration
  • 5
    Self-hosted GitLab Integration (plugin)
  • 5
    100% free and open source
  • 5
    Easy customisation
  • 4
    Docker support
  • 3
    Platform idnependency
  • 3
    Excellent docker integration
  • 3
    Fast builds
  • 3
    Pipeline API
  • 2
    Hosted Externally
  • 2
    It`w worked
  • 2
    Can be run as a Docker container
  • 2
    Customizable
  • 2
    AWS Integration
  • 2
    It's Everywhere
  • 2
    JOBDSL
  • 1
    NodeJS Support
  • 1
    PHP Support
  • 1
    Ruby/Rails Support
  • 1
    Universal controller
  • 1
    Easily extendable with seamless integration
  • 1
    Build PR Branch Only

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Cons of Chef
Cons of Jenkins
    Be the first to leave a con
    • 12
      Workarounds needed for basic requirements
    • 8
      Groovy with cumbersome syntax
    • 6
      Limited abilities with declarative pipelines
    • 6
      Plugins compatibility issues
    • 5
      Lack of support
    • 4
      No YAML syntax
    • 2
      Too tied to plugins versions

    Sign up to add or upvote consMake informed product decisions

    What is Chef?

    Chef enables you to manage and scale cloud infrastructure with no downtime or interruptions. Freely move applications and configurations from one cloud to another. Chef is integrated with all major cloud providers including Amazon EC2, VMWare, IBM Smartcloud, Rackspace, OpenStack, Windows Azure, HP Cloud, Google Compute Engine, Joyent Cloud and others.

    What is Jenkins?

    In a nutshell Jenkins CI is the leading open-source continuous integration server. Built with Java, it provides over 300 plugins to support building and testing virtually any project.

    Need advice about which tool to choose?Ask the StackShare community!

    What companies use Chef?
    What companies use Jenkins?
    See which teams inside your own company are using Chef or Jenkins.
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    What tools integrate with Chef?
    What tools integrate with Jenkins?

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    What are some alternatives to Chef and Jenkins?
    Ansible
    Ansible is an IT automation tool. It can configure systems, deploy software, and orchestrate more advanced IT tasks such as continuous deployments or zero downtime rolling updates. Ansible’s goals are foremost those of simplicity and maximum ease of use.
    Puppet Labs
    Puppet is an automated administrative engine for your Linux, Unix, and Windows systems and performs administrative tasks (such as adding users, installing packages, and updating server configurations) based on a centralized specification.
    Terraform
    With Terraform, you describe your complete infrastructure as code, even as it spans multiple service providers. Your servers may come from AWS, your DNS may come from CloudFlare, and your database may come from Heroku. Terraform will build all these resources across all these providers in parallel.
    Capistrano
    Capistrano is a remote server automation tool. It supports the scripting and execution of arbitrary tasks, and includes a set of sane-default deployment workflows.
    Fabric
    Fabric is a Python (2.5-2.7) library and command-line tool for streamlining the use of SSH for application deployment or systems administration tasks. It provides a basic suite of operations for executing local or remote shell commands (normally or via sudo) and uploading/downloading files, as well as auxiliary functionality such as prompting the running user for input, or aborting execution.
    See all alternatives