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25 June 2024

Jenkins vs Ansible: What are the Differences and Which One is Better?

Jenkins vs Ansible: What are the Differences and Which One is Better?

Jenkins vs. Ansible—The tug-of-war between the two has captivated the attention of the DevOps landscape for some time now.

While both promise to streamline and enhance the development and deployment cycle of DevOps, choosing the right one hinges on your project’s requirements & infrastructure, compatibility with existing tools, and your team's expertise.

To settle this debate for once and all, we have created this comprehensive write-up showcasing the key differences between Ansible & Jenkins and which is better for your organization.

Let’s dive into it, shall we?

Jenkins vs Ansible: Discovering the Best Fit for Your DevOps Needs


What is Jenkins?

Introduced on 2nd February 2011 by Kohsuke Kawaguchi, Jenkins is a free-to-use automation server primarily created for automating the overall software development process, including building, testing, and deploying. It is flexible enough to integrate with diverse tools and software while ensuring seamless and consistent delivery.

Jenkins is licensed under MIT and written in Java 11 and 17. Its stable release, 2.459, was launched in the market on 21st May 2024.

Here are the key features of Jenkins

  • Automation: From building to testing and deploying, Jenkins automates the development environment, simplifying and accelerating the software creation process.
  • Plugins: One of the most appealing features of Jenkins is its library of plugins. It boasts 1500+ plugins, including Git, Docker, Kubernetes, Maven, and more, which can be readily integrated with existing tools and upgrade functionality.
  • Pipeline: Jenkins allows developers to create complex pipelines effortlessly through DSL or Domain Specific Language, or the Blue Ocean interface, sketching a vivid visual representation of CI/CD procedures.
  • Distributed Builds: Thanks to distributed builds, developers can manage large projects and tackle multiple jobs simultaneously. And the best part is that these builds can be scaled up or down depending on requirements.
  • Extensibility: The open-source nature of Jenkins permits developers to customize and extend its capabilities to meet the needs of the development team or project.
  • User community: Jenkins flaunts an active and large community that provides continuous support by answering queries in the forum, frequent updates, and an extensive range of documents, making it a powerful, versatile, and preferred tool in the CI/CD space.


What is Ansible?

Much like Jenkins, Ansible too is an open-source tool, harnessed for automating configuration management, application deployment, and orchestrating advanced workflows without a hitch. It was envisioned by Red Hat Software and brought to life on 20th February 2012 under the GNU General Public License.

Its latest version was released, 2.16.6, on 15th April 2024 and is written in Python, Powershell, and Shell. One of the most significant advantages of Ansible is its simple usage, perfect for novice and seasoned developers.

Below is a list of primary features of Ansible

  • Agentless Architecture: Among Ansible's many top-notch features, agentless architecture stands out as the most impressive one. It can be operated without special software or daemons, and because it uses standard SSH or Secure Shell for communication, it guarantees an easy-to-set-up and use process.
  • Playbooks: Its configuration, deployment, and instructions are written in YAML or Yet Another Markup Language files, also known as playbooks, that indicate which tasks should be performed on managed hosts.
  • Modules: Ansible extends a rich library of modules, permitting developers to carry out tasks such as package management, users, services, files, and more. Additionally, they can also create custom modules, depending on the demand of the project.
  • Inventory: Ansible's inventory feature lists and tracks hosts and groups of hosts, allowing the execution of a task in the relevant subset.
  • Idempotency: Developers can run a single playbook multiple times and idempotency will generate the same results, maintaining a consistent system state.
  • Roles: The fundamental function of Ansible roles is to organize playbooks and relevant files into reusable and modular components for trouble-free management and sharing of advanced configurations.
  • Ansible Galaxy: Think of Ansible Galaxy as a hub for sharing roles and collections. Users of the tool can download and contribute roles for an undemanding configuration and workflow.
  • Ansible Tower: This feature is applicable for enterprise users and provides accessibility to additional functionalities such as role-based access control, job scheduling, and graphical inventory management.

What are the differences between Jenkins and Ansible?




PurposeThe prime objective of Ansible is configuration management, application deployment & task automation.The sole reason for creating Jenkins is continuous integration and continuous (CI/CD).
ArchitectureIt is an agentless tool & uses SSH for communication.Jenkins requires agents or nodes for distributed builds.
Configuration LanguageIt is configured through YAML or Yet Another Markup Language.It utilizes Groovy for pipelines & XML for job configurations.
Task ExecutionAnsible engages with playbooks to outline tasks & workflows.Jenkins employs pipelines & projects to define CI/CD workflow.
Ease of SetupIt offers an easy & quick setup because of its agentless architecture.It takes time to set up, especially for distributed builds.
ExtensibilityIt has significant in-built modules & offers tailored module creation.It has a vast plugin ecosystem for diverse integrations.
Use CasesIt can automate infrastructure provisioning, configuration management & application deployment.It can be used to automate build, test, and deployment pipelines.
Inventory ManagementThe hosts in Ansible can be managed through inventory files or dynamic inventory plugins.It does not contain an existing inventory management system.
State ManagementThe idempotent feature provides a constant & desired state of development.Jenkins is stateless, which means each build is independent.
Web InterfaceIt does not have a comprehensive interface, just CLI & playbooks.It has an all-inclusive interface with a detailed dashboard & logs.
Community & EcosystemIt extends a strong, open-source community and Ansible Galaxy for roles.It has a wide & supportive community with a wide plugin range.
Commercial SupportThe Ansible Tower is the enterprise version & its features are specifically created for managing & automating the infrastructure of an organization effectively.The Jenkins Enterprise, offered by Cloudbees, is aimed to meet the needs of the firm with its continuous integration & continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipelines.
Integration With Other ToolsIt can be integrated with an array of tools like cloud providers & Docker.It is compatible with different tools, such as SCM & build tools.

This was all about Jenkins and Ansible. Since you know about these revolutionary tools, let’s address the elephant in the room — which is your right choice?

Which is Right For You?

You might have heard this several times, although the choice between Jenkins and Ansible depends on your requirements. So far, you have gauged the difference between the two, including their purpose, features, and use cases; the next step is to consider the aspects before finalizing the one.


  • Integration: While both tools highlight fantastic capabilities as a single entity, when combined, they can create magic. Jenkins for automation and Ansible for configuration management and infrastructure provisioning can simplify DevOps workflows, increase productivity, and ensure steady software delivery and IT environment management.
  • Complexity: Coordinating intricate projects with Jenkins often demands a greater investment in plugins and setup time than simpler tasks. Whereas Ansible has an uncomplicated approach. Its playbooks are notably easy to write and maintain when performing configuration management tasks.
  • Learning Curve: Ansible's learning curve is significantly seamless because it uses declarative YAML playbooks, which gives a Python development services provider or other developers the freedom to specify the look and feel of their system. Such simplicity not only helps experts but also opens the doors for new ones to understand and write automation scripts.

On the other hand, Jenkins is difficult to master as it is a script-intensive and plugin-reliant tool for showcasing CI/CD workflows, resulting in higher time and effort investment.

Final Verdict

To put it plainly, depend on Jenkins if you seek a powerful CI/CD pipeline for software development. If your goal is automated infrastructure administration, configuration management, and operations, Ansible is your safest bet.

Last Thoughts

We hope this blog offers you valuable insights on determining the best tool that meets your organization's needs and maximizes DevOps efficiency. Before arriving at a decision, do take these points into account and spend ample time understanding their strengths, weaknesses, and capabilities.

We are a leading DevOps services company that can help you in your next software development project. Contact our experts today!

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