CircleCI Adds Free Unlimited Access Tier to CI/CD Service

CircleCI has added a free unlimited level of access to its Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) platform.

Jim Rose, CEO of CircleCI, said that unlike other “freemium” offerings, CircleCI’s free tier provides developers and DevOps teams frictionless access to all of the platform’s premium capabilities. These capabilities include up to 6000 build minutes per month, unlimited users, and the ability to tune pipelines with caching, concurrency, test segmentation, security tools, and health metrics.

CircleCI claims that more than 200,000 teams are now using its CI/CD platform. The freemium layer aims to make it easier for the DevOps team to take advantage of the CI/CD platform while initiating an application development project, Rose noted. He added that as this project develops and matures, many of these teams will eventually require commercial support and other services from CircleCI.

CircleCI’s free tier of cloud service comes at a time when many organizations are trying to speed up the rate at which apps are built and deployed. Digital business transformation initiatives, in particular, have become a much higher priority in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The CI/CD free tier will likely encourage more experimentation simply because it reduces the level of overhead associated with setting up an application development environment.

With the number of applications being developed steadily increasing, the competition between CI/CD platform providers is becoming more intense with more and more organizations adopting DevOps best practices to accelerate application development. Meanwhile, DevOps teams are relying more than ever on cloud services to host CI/CD platforms in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It remains unclear whether DevOps teams will choose to rely on a proprietary platform versus an open source platform. While the open source platform prevents organizations from locking out vendors, the ease of use of the cloud service may reduce these concerns due to the lower cost of switching from one cloud service to another.

One way or another, the use of CI/CD platforms will increase sharply in 2022. It is not uncommon for different DevOps teams within the same organization to use different CI/CD platforms despite efforts to encourage standardization. In the name of productivity, DevOps teams tend to exercise a fair amount of independence within many organizations.

The biggest challenge, of course, will not necessarily be building applications but publishing them. Despite the availability of CI/CD platforms, the processes that most organizations rely on to deploy an application is still largely manual. However, in the age of the cloud, it should become easier to automate application delivery thanks to cloud service providers exposing their APIs. In fact, 2022 could be the year when DevOps teams finally master the CD. CI/CD platform providers, of course, have a vested interest in making sure that the full promise of an integrated CI/CD platform finally becomes an everyday reality at DevOps.

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