This is a guest post by Brian Dawson at CloudBees, where he works as a DevOps Evangelist responsible for developing and sharing continuous delivery and DevOps best practices. He also serves as the CloudBees Product Marketing Manager for Jenkins.

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Last fall CloudBees asked attendees at the Jenkins User Conference – US West (JUC), and other in the Jenkins community to take a survey. Almost 250 people did – and thanks to their input, we have results which provided interesting insights into how Jenkins is being used.

Back in 2012, at the time of the last community survey, 83% of respondents felt that Jenkins was mission-critical. By 2015, the percentage saying that Jenkins was mission-critical was 92%. Additionally, echoing the importance of Jenkins, 89% of respondents said their use of Jenkins had increased over the last year, while 11% said it had stayed the same. 0% said that it had decreased.

The trend in the industry over the last couple of years has been to adopt continuous delivery (CD), thus pushing automation further down the pipeline – from development all the way into production. Jenkins being an automation engine applicable to any phase of the software delivery lifecycle, is readily supporting this trend. Jenkins' extensible architecture and unparalleled plugin ecosystem enables integration with and orchestration of practically any tool in any phase of software delivery.

The trend towards adoption of CD is clearly reflected amongst the community: 59% of respondents are using Jenkins for continuous integration (CI), but an additional 30% have extended CI into CD and are manually deploying code to production. Finally, 11% are practicing continuous deployment – they have extended CI to CD and are deploying code automatically into production.

Another trend tied to the adoption of CD and DevOps is the frequent deployment of incremental releases to production. 26% of those respondents using continuous delivery practices are deploying code at least once per day. Another 37% are deploying code at least once per week.

In keeping with the move to CD, 30% of survey takers are already using the relatively new Pipeline plugin to automate their software delivery pipelines. Of those not using the Pipeline plugin, 79% plan to adopt it in the next 12 months.

Survey respondents are also using Jenkins for many different activities. 97% of survey takers use it for "build" – no surprise, since that is where Jenkins got its start - but 58% now also use it for their deployment.

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When the 2012 community survey was conducted, container technology was not as well understood as it is today, and many didn’t know what a “Docker” was. A short four years later, 96% of survey respondents who use Linux containers are using Docker. Container technology has seen impressive adoption and arguably is revolutionizing the way application infrastructure is delivered. When coupled with Jenkins as an automation engine, containers help accelerate software delivery by providing rapid access to lightweight environments. The Jenkins community has recognized and embraced the power of containers by providing plugins for Docker and Kubernetes.

The Jenkins improvements which survey respondents desired the most were quality/timely bug fixes, a better UI and more documentation/examples. Interestingly, Jenkins 2.0 - which is just about to officially launch, provides UI improvements and the new website provides improved, centralized documentation.

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Finally, the respondents favorite Star Wars character was R2-D2, followed by Obi-Wan and Darth Vader. Yoda and Han Solo also got a fair amount of votes. The votes for Jar-Jar Binks and Jabba the Hutt left us puzzled. Notably, BB-8 had a write-in vote despite the fact the new Star Wars movie hadn’t been released yet.

As to where the community is headed, our prediction is that by the next Jenkins Community Survey:

  • More Jenkins users will have transitioned from just continuous integration to continuous delivery with some evening practicing continuous deployment

  • Pipeline plugin adoption and improvements will continue, leading to pipeline-as-code becoming an essential solution for automating the software (and infrastructure) delivery process

  • There will be a significant increase in use of the Docker plugin to support elastic Jenkins infrastructure and continuous delivery of containers using software development best practices

  • BB-8 will be the next favorite Star Wars character! <3

See you at Jenkins World, September 13-15, in Santa Clara, California! Register now for the largest Jenkins event on the planet in 2016 – and get the Early Bird discount. The Call for Papers is still open – so submit a talk and share your knowledge with the community about Jenkins.

About the Author
Brian Dawson

DevOps dude at CloudBees. Jenkins Marketing Manager. Tools geek.