gitlab ci cd vs github actions

If teams can, they should try each service so programmers can evaluate each option and best determine which tool is the best fit for their organization’s build and test processes. Many orbs — i.e., commands — exist for often-used services from cloud providers, such as AWS, Azure and Google Cloud Platform. For example, programmers can use a CircleCI orb to call a command like aws-ecr/build-and-push-image. For certain projects, it may make sense to use a larger instance size to improve build times at the cost of spending more credits. However, GitHub Actions only offers the ability to run on a Windows, MacOS or Linux machine with particular, unmodifiable specifications.

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  1. Their pipeline is also too big, so I think printing the full yaml directly to the console should be avoided.
  2. To begin building your CI/CD pipeline, open the GitHub Actions tab in your repository’s top navigation bar.
  3. Your workflow contains one or more jobs which can run in sequential order or in parallel.
  4. In these examples, the setup-terraform GitHub action and the Terraform.gitlab-ci.yml GitLab templateare not exact matches.
  5. As always, the best way to decide is to try out both tools and see which one works best for you.

A runner is a server that runs your workflows when they’re triggered. GitHub provides Ubuntu Linux, Microsoft Windows, and macOS runners to run your workflows; each workflow run executes in a fresh, newly-provisioned virtual machine. GitHub also offers larger runners, which are available in larger configurations.

gitlab ci cd vs github actions

GitLab CI/CD syntax for conditions and expressions

As developers, we’re trained to use peer reviews to make sure our code works. If you’re using Git, GitHub, and GitHub Actions to build a CI/CD pipeline, you should have confidence in your code. Moving from Jenkins/EC2 to Spinnaker/EKS and looking for a tool to cover our CI/CD needs. Both systems enable you to include additional containers for databases, caching, or other dependencies. The following list of recommended steps was created after observing organizationsthat were able to quickly complete this migration.

Using GitLab CI/CD with a GitHub repository

gitlab ci cd vs github actions

In recent times, GitHub Actions has gained popularity as a powerful CI/CD (Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment) tool. However, many developers have been using GitLab CI/CD for a while now. One question that arises is whether it’s possible to centralize the CI/CD configuration in a repository that contains GitLab CI YAML files for use with GitHub Actions.

This might sound pretty basic, but the first step to building a CI pipeline with GitHub Actions is creating or choosing a repository on GitHub. You can either use an existing project code base, fork a project you like on GitHub, or start from scratch. Variables can also be set up through the GitLab UI, under CI/CD settings, where you canprotect or maskthe variables. Masked variables are hidden in job logs, while protected variablescan only be accessed in pipelines for protected branches or tags. In both GitLab and GitHub you can use a matrix to run a job multiple times in parallel in a single pipeline,but with different variable values for each instance of the job. Jobs are a set of commands that run in a set sequence to achieve a particular result,for example building a container or deploying to production.

This example uses the push event, so a workflow run is triggered every time someone pushes a change to the repository or merges a pull request. This is triggered by a push to every branch; for examples of syntax that runs only on pushes to specific branches, paths, or tags, see “Workflow syntax for GitHub Actions.” A job is a set of steps in a workflow that is executed on the same runner. Each step is either a shell script that will be executed, or an action that will be run. Since each step is executed on the same runner, you can share data from one step to another. For example, you can have a step that builds your application followed by a step that tests the application that was built.

A CI/CD pipeline can and should be more complex than this if you’re building enterprise software, maintaining a big open source project, or working with a big team on any array of things. But if you’re just getting started, don’t worry about making your CI/CD pipeline meet every single need of a big team or ambitious project—just make it work for you. It means that dev/test/prod parity is simple to achieve and maintain. It’s also proven to be much easier to support than trying to deal with the problems that come with trying to force an app to fit into the nuances and constraints that are imposed by the containers/runtime of a CI service.

Container images can be built and stored directly fromGitLab CI/CD pipelines. In this case, no extra configuration is needed to make the jobs run in parallel.Jobs run in parallel by default, each on a different runner assuming there are enough runnersfor all the jobs. The Java job is set to only run when the staging branch is changed. A GitHub Actions configuration is defined in a workflow YAML file using specific keywords.GitLab CI/CD has similar functionality, also usually configured with YAML keywords.

Costs and data privacy, as well as the ability to self-host, are often more relevant factors than the differences between the CI/CD systems. The execution of jobs is quite different between GitHub and GitLab. While the GitLab solution seems more complex at first glance, knowledge of its runner architecture is not required by developers. Only for GitLab admins who implement their own runners need to know the details in order to decide for an appropriate executor. Depending on the size of the organization, a simple Docker or Kubernetes executor should cover most use cases for a CI/CD runner.

Only the GitHub/GitLab instances has to be accessible by the runners, the runners themselves don’t need to be exposed to the internet. While the CI/CD job scheduling is quite similar, there are some differences between GitHub and GitLab in how the jobs are executed. While the CI/CD Components are a step towards a more user-friendly and reusable CI code, they still don’t offer fine-grained control. GitHub’s conditional controls on workflow, job and step level offer a much more flexible setup and expose a cleaner solution than GitLab by including, merging, extending and overriding jobs from many sources.

If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form. You can write your own actions, or you can find actions to use in your workflows in the GitHub Marketplace. GitLab uses an open core model, so its base functionality is open source. As a result, it’s probably the most widely used Git repository within corporate data centers, even though the CI/CD integration is not included in the open core. GitHub Actions is the CI/CD functionality within the GitHub platform. GitHub’s platform is the most widely used Git platform on the planet, and it has extensive functionality beyond just Actions – including defect and project tracking, image repositories, and analytics.

Both services offer Hosted Runners that are owned and maintained by the respective provider (SaaS offering). Each provider offers a free plan for their CI/CD runners, which includes a certain amount of compute minutes. The table below shows a brief, none complete overview of their offerings. Also, never store secrets as variables in your .gitlab-ci.yml file, which is public to allusers with access to the project. Storing sensitive information in variables shouldonly be done in the project, group, or instance settings. In GitHub an Action is a set of complex tasks that need to be frequently repeated and is savedto enable reuse without redefining a CI/CD pipeline.

While it’s possible to use GitHub Actions with GitLab CI YAML files, this approach has limitations and may require additional configuration and maintenance. Instead, alternative approaches, such as using a templating language or a configuration management tool, can help ensure consistency and reduce duplication of effort when working with multiple repositories. Selecting the best CI/CD solution can feel like a daunting task because there are lots of things to consider. All three options reviewed in this article will meet the needs of most developers who desire to improve (or create) the CI/CD pipelines that handle their builds, tests, and even deployments.

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