GitLab offers an array of DevOps services, in one platform, all through one cohesive user interface. GitLab is fairly lightweight to host, the workflows in the UI are easy to navigate, and the GitLab forum has its fair share of contributors and positive feedback. GitLab seems like the perfect one-stop-shop... but what’s great in theory actually creates two big issues.
The first is uncovered by doing a quick search for GitLab integrations. You’ll discover very few exist, and that’s by design. Remember: all one platform. The expectation is you will be entirely using their services.
The only Continuous Integration tool supported? Jenkins. Maybe you just want to use GitLab for CI and want to use a different cd tool? Nope.
By nature, software development is an opinionated field, which is why some open-source developers won’t even entertain using non-open-source projects. It’s why an entire company toolchain can switch under a new CTO. GitLab lacks the flexibility for customers to continue using their preferred solutions.
The second relates to the breadth of the platform. GitLab is spread thin across several highly competitive market segments that each have robust multibillion dollar platforms in competition. The capability of GitLab’s platform solution is not always at parity with its competitors. Hence why it’s even more intimidating to get locked into a platform without major integrations.
For this evaluation, we took three major DevOps swimlanes that GitLab claims as core competencies and evaluated the competitors in that space. We relied heavily on user reviews and opinions while also considering feature comparison. This is, of course, based on our opinions and we’d love to hear what other thoughts you have on the listed tools.
The three swimlanes we will discuss are:
GitLab claims to compete across all three categories. This means the leaders of each category are offering stiff competition.
Harness is a SaaS software delivery platform. The platform has five key software delivery modules: Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery, Continuous Verification, Cloud Cost Management, and Feature Flags.
Harness is designed to provide a seamless delivery experience from start to finish, but if you already use a tool you’re partial to, Harness operates on an à la carte model. You can choose which modules best suit your needs. Harness’s mission is to help any company deploy like FAANG (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google).
*It should be noted that Harness can also be used on-premise on a corporate server.
GitHub hardly needs an introduction. Founded in 2008, GitHub became the de facto source code repository, and hence became the de facto resource for source code management. GitHub succeeds in part because of its widespread adoption, but mainly because it’s an intuitive tool that satisfies developers’ needs. An honorable mention goes to Bitbucket for repository management.
Jira is an Atlassian product that stands along with other household tech names like Confluence. Jira is designed to help developers plan, track, and report on software projects. Jira is the most tenured product on this list, being released in 2002. This is another example of a tool that became the de facto marketplace option.
GitLab has stiff competition in several areas, and it’s a shame the platform doesn’t offer more integrations. However, odds are Harness will integrate with your preferred toolsets. To see a more in-depth breakdown between Harness and other providers, take a look at our DevOps Comparison Tools page.
Enjoyed reading this blog post or have questions or feedback?
Share your thoughts by creating a new topic in the Harness community forum.