Harness is categorized as:
Cloud Cost Management
Cloud Cost Optimization
Service Reliability Management
Security Testing Orchestration
Software Engineering Insights
GitLab CI works to integrate code provided by your team in a shared repository. Developers share the new code in a merge request (MR).
Gitlab is categorized as:
GitLab CI vs Harness CI: DevOps Tools Comparison
January 24, 2023
Free & Paid
<yes><yes> .25 FTE
<yes><yes> Per User
Harness CI Vs. GitLab CI
GitLab CI comes with a set of test suites out-of-the-box. They are pretty standard and apply to any language. Harness CI goes beyond that. Test Intelligence is one of Harness CI's most advanced features, and it is unique in the CI market. Test Intelligence dramatically reduces build times. It does so by running incremental builds which allows Harness to run relevant tests and bypass unnecessary tests. With Test intelligence on, Harness CI customers have seen build times shrink by 40%. These are just a few of the gains an advanced testing feature like Test Intelligence can provide to a modern CI system compared to GitLab CI.
GitLab is not an open-source product. It offers a free plan with 400 CI/CD minutes – possibly good for personal projects and small businesses – but otherwise, expect to pay a hefty bill for your CI needs. When Harness acquired Drone, it committed to keeping it open-source forever. Harness recently reaffirmed its investment in the open-source solution with a massive release where a sleeker interface, new visual pipeline builder, governance and security features, and real-time debugging tools were added. While this feature-rich version is free, there is also a paid version of Drone that provides access to enterprise support and more integrations and features yet. Additional features include secrets management options, autoscaling, custom plugins, and more.
A plus to using GitLab is that it was, initially, a source code management tool / Git repository. As such, converting to their CI/CD platform would have advantages when it comes to easy integration. However, if GitLab is your SCM tool of choice, rest assured that Drone easily integrates with it as well. When it comes to self-service in GitLab, some features are buggy and the overall system can be quite slow. Documentation is lacking for more complex setups. The UI is clean, but not intuitive – it definitely has a learning curve and needs improvements in order to be less confusing. Lastly, CI can be hard to integrate with automatic and manual tests users have created in the past with their prior CI tool. Drone offers an easy “get started” experience where you can be up and running in 5 minutes. Drone also benefits from roughly 150 containerized plugins, profoundly extending the functionality of the tool. Drone scales on demand. All of this means less person hours spent by engineers maintaining the tool or waiting for slowness to resolve, and more time on what matters: getting that code to artifact.
If you have an extremely simple setup, you can possibly avoid scripting in GitLab – but realistically, there will be scripts. While scripting isn’t the bane of our existence, it is time that could be spent shipping code. It is toil. Drone is much more intuitive and is mostly configuration as code. Gone are the days of scripting.
GitLab does not offer native secrets management capabilities. They have selected Vault by HashiCorp as their first supported secrets management partner, which means you must first configure your Vault server. Drone offers encryption on its open-source version. Meanwhile, the enterprise version offers these alternatives: encrypted, native, or external, through third-party providers such as AWS Secret Manager, Kubernetes Secrets, and HashiCorp Vault. No matter how you want your secrets to be handled, Drone can rise to the occasion.
GitLab, on average, requires 2 FTEs to set up and maintain. Drone is incredibly lightweight and self-service, and as a result, only requires .25 FTEs. The amount of maintenance is extremely low thanks to simple, container-native infrastructure.
When comparing products, it is imperative to take all costs into account. With a product like GitLab, you’re not just paying for the tool – you’re paying for the 2 FTEs it takes to keep the tool in working condition. It’s a large cost to take into account. With Drone, the end result is a tool that is very affordable, with a small commitment of .25 FTEs and low or free pricing (depending on if you decide the features for the enterprise plan are too good to pass up – who doesn’t want autoscaling?).
GitLab offers, as mentioned above, a free plan that aligns well with personal projects or small businesses just starting out, with 400 CI/CD minutes built in. Otherwise, plans are priced per user per month, with extra features on each paid plan. For the premium plan, you’ll be paying $19 per user per month. The ultimate plan will run your company $99 per month per user. Drone does offer an open-source version that is free, and while the enterprise version does provide an arguably more robust product, the free version is already quite feature-rich and will suffice for many use cases. Download Drone now. To familiarize yourself with enterprise pricing, please contact sales.
*Please note: Our competitors, just like us, release updates to their products on a regular cadence. We keep these pages updated to the best of our ability, but there are bound to be discrepancies. For the most up-to-date information on competitor features, browsing the competitor’s new release pages and communities are your best bet.