Ansible vs. Jenkins: Difference Between Ansible and Jenkins [2020]

If you’re familiar with DevOps tools, you must’ve participated in the Ansible vs. Jenkins debate. It’s a tricky question, but you should know the answer to it as a DevOps professional. Don’t worry, because, in this article, we’ve discussed the difference between Ansible and Jenkins so you can find the answer to this question. Let’s get started. 

What is Ansible?

A product of RedHat, Ansible is a management tool for service deployment. It is an open-source solution for software provisioning, application deployment, and configuration management; Ansible has become increasingly popular because it offers its users numerous facilities. You can automate multiple IT processes by using Ansible. Moreover, its design is for multi-tier deployment so it can handle your different systems together. 

Ansible is easy to deploy because it doesn’t use any additional security infrastructure or agents. You can use it through YAML, a relatively easy to use language as much of its syntax is in English, so performing tasks become simple. 

Advantages of Ansible

  • Allows you to model complicated IT workflows easily
  • It is open-source
  • No requirements for downloading additional software on the client platform 
  • No requirements for setting up separate management structures
  • Easy to use language with simple English-focused syntax

Site Reliability Engineers find Ansible-like tools as a must-have. That’s because such tools ensure that their environment has all the services they require. Ansible makes troubleshooting deployment easy by providing that all the necessary preparations are done. Due to this reason, deployment (and the related processes) become much faster and easier. 

Ansible will ensure that the port which needs to be open remains open. If the port is not open, Ansible will ensure that the deployment doesn’t resume until you fix the issue. However, it is only a deployment system and not a holistic tool. 

Read: Ansible vs Chef

What is Jenkins?

Jenkins is an open-source tool in Java for automation and Continuous Integration tasks. Jenkins allows users to create and test their projects continuously while integrating changes quickly. One of the biggest highlights of Jenkins is its large number of plugins. Plugins allow Jenkins to integrate with other software solutions and enhance its capabilities in multitudes. 

Jenkins can integrate the entire development life-cycle process of an application. This means it can handle creation, testing, packaging, deployment, analysis, and other operations. 

Advantages of Jenkins

  • It is open-source, so you can use it for free
  • It has an active and thriving community 
  • It has various plugins that enable it to work well with other CI and CD tools
  • Jenkins supports distributed builds
  • Easy installation, configuration, and upgrade
  • Easy to monitor external jobs

The nearly infinite configuration ability of Jenkins makes it the preferred choice of many DevOps teams. If you want to perform a specific task, you’d indeed find a Jenkins script for completing it. It has been in the industry for quite some time, and its highly active community has helped it become more versatile over time. Still, DevOps teams with large and complicated projects don’t use Jenkins due to its simple applicability. They look for a robust solution to handle the more detailed sections of their projects. 

Jenkins is linear. This means you perform tasks in steps here, and every script should know what the environment is like and how they should fail if they encounter something unprecedented. 

Also Read: Jenkins Project Ideas

Important to Note: Ansible Tower

As we pointed out earlier, Ansible’s main shortcoming is that it’s only a deployment solution. So DevOps teams with more sophisticated needs would avoid using it. Jenkins faces the same problem. It is not suitable for highly complicated and challenging DevOps projects. DevOps teams are forced to look for more robust alternatives that can handle multiple aspects of their projects at once in these situations. 

That’s when Ansible Tower comes in. It is a solution to automate repetitive tasks. It is a product of Red Hat and integrates perfectly with Ansible and its related tools. Ansible Tower was important to mention because it is also a prominent DevOps tool with relevant applicability. In the Ansible Vs. Jenkins discussion, Ansible Tower tips the scale in favor of Ansible. 

Difference Between Ansible and Jenkins

While Ansible and Jenkins might seem similar tools with different applications, they have considerable differences. Here’s a table to summarize the difference between Ansible and Jenkins:

Ansible Jenkins
Installation is a little difficult Installation is straightforward
Supports several plugins but fewer than Jenkins Supports numerous plugins 
Supports multiple platforms, including Windows, Linux, etc. However, it is a little challenging to use on Windows. Supports multiple platforms and works consistently on all of them
Easy to set up and configure A little challenging to set up and configure
Ansible is a cloud-based tool  Jenkins is a server-based tool
Uses YAML, an easy language with simple syntax Completely written in Java
Substantially light-weight  Not a light-weight solution

Ansible VS Jenkins: Which One Should You Choose?

Your choice of software depends entirely on your project requirements, resources, and expertise. Both of these tools have their advantages. Ansible is excellent for automating IT tasks, while Jenkins has various plugins to make it highly versatile. We can’t forget Ansible Tower, another popular choice among DevOps teams to automate repetitive tasks in their projects.

If your project has multiple scrips that work great together, you should use Jenkins; on the other hand, if your project is more complicated, you’d need Ansible with Ansible Tower. In the end, the choice depends on your project requirements and resources. 

Learn More About DevOps

We hope you found this article on the difference between Ansible and Jenkins. You can share your thoughts or suggestions in the comment section below. Both of these tools are popular in the DevOps industry due to their specific benefits and applicability. 

If you want to learn more about DevOps, we recommend heading to our blog. You’ll find many exciting and valuable resources on our blog, covering a range of topics.

If you are interested to become a DevOps engineer, check out IIIT-B & upGrad’s PG Diploma in Full Stack Software Development Program.

Do you prefer Ansible or Jenkins? Let us know in the comments. 

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