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What is GitHub Actions? How automation & CI CD work on GitHub

gitlab ci cd vs github actions

For Kubernetes users, GitLab offers its optional GitLab Agent to access the insides of a cluster without any additional tokens. The agent gets deployed within a cluster and communicates with a GitLab instance, allowing it to be accessed via the CI. GitHub Actions and GitLab CI are two very powerful CI/CD systems that allow users to automate almost every imaginable task within the software development life cycle. At a functional level, both systems are on a similarly equal level, but the way they are implemented differs significantly.GitHub offers a stable, versatile and modular platform to run almost every kind of imaginable task. Where needed, it allows for integration with standard solutions, such as the ability to run containers or authenticate with third-party services over OIDC. It relies heavily on its vast marketplace of official and community actions, which do most of the actual work, such as checking out code, installing software, using caches or publishing releases.

gitlab ci cd vs github actions

Databases and service containers

Both tools allow you to define and manage environments, but GitLab CI/CD goes a step further with features like dynamic environments and environment-specific variables. These features provide greater flexibility and control, which can be crucial for projects with complex deployment requirements. One of the standout features of GitHub Actions is its marketplace of community actions.

Dependencies between Jobs

I’m going to walk you through exactly how to build your own CI/CD pipeline, right from your repository on GitHub. Continuous Integration / Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) has long been—and continues to be—the domain of DevOps experts. But with the introduction of native CI/CD to GitHub in 2019 via GitHub Actions, it’s easier than ever to bring CI/CD directly into your workflow right from your repository. A full guide on the benefits of having built-in automation and CI/CD capabilities on GitHub, how GitHub Actions work, common use cases, and more.

gitlab ci cd vs github actions

GitHub Actions workflow syntax

There are many companies out therethat provide various types of CI, often for freefor open-source projects. Whether you’re working on an open source project, a side project, or a work project, there are some big benefits to adopting CI/CD—like producing more consistent and workable releases. But the biggest benefit of all is trusting that your code works after merging it to your main branch, testing it, and deploying it.

From macOS runners to secure deployments, what’s new from GitHub Actions

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  1. GitHub Actions goes beyond just DevOps and lets you run workflows when other events happen in your repository.
  2. You can use the rules keywordto configure jobs to run depending on conditions like the status of variables, or the pipeline type.
  3. To some, Microsoft will always be the Evil Empire, despite Microsoft’s constant showing its support for open-source methods and software — or how often Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella says he loves Linux.
  4. But the biggest benefit of all is trusting that your code works after merging it to your main branch, testing it, and deploying it.
  5. But silos across businesses can lead to duplication of effort, and potential to lose out on best practices.

Among the plethora of tools available for implementing CI/CD, GitLab CI/CD and GitHub Actions stand out as popular choices. This article aims to delve into a feature parity comparison of these two powerful tools, providing insights to help you choose the one that best aligns with your project’s needs. It also works better than its predecessors, such as Apache Subversion, Concurrent Versions System (CVS), Perforce, and Rational ClearCase.

Instead of relying on ANU’s machine as an instance for running stages, we can use self-hosted runners on gitlab from providers such as AWS (via EC2), Azure (via it’s VM service), etc. In this case, we assume that the host is the same as your local machine, and you needs to configure it to run the pipelines. GitHub Actions now offers Arm-hosted runners with images built by Arm for developers to begin building on the latest and most sustainable processors on the market. While it’s possible to use GitHub Actions with GitLab CI YAML files, this approach has limitations and may require additional configuration and maintenance.

In this case, no extra configuration is needed to make the jobs run in parallel.Jobs run in parallel by default, each on a different runner assuming there are enough runnersfor all the jobs. A GitHub Actions configuration is defined in a workflow YAML file using specific keywords.GitLab CI/CD has similar functionality, also usually configured with YAML keywords. When it comes to deployment strategies, GitLab CI/CD shines with its support for a variety of strategies, including canary, incremental rollouts, and blue/green deployments.

They are great for reusability and the abstraction of low-level tasks. However, users and organizations must keep in mind that actions in the community marketplace is code written by others. It is recommended to check all actions before using them and to pin their reference to a specific commit to prevent supply chain attacks. GitLab’s approach requires more effort upfront and a deeper knowledge about every step in the setup to perform. While GitLab also allows reusing jobs, it is not as powerful as the later sections will show.

This might sound pretty basic, but the first step to building a CI pipeline with GitHub Actions is creating or choosing a repository on GitHub. You can either use an existing project code base, fork a project you like on GitHub, or start from scratch. Choosing the CI platform that’s best for your organization really comes down to your goals. CircleCI is arguably the best option overall, as it is purpose-built with CI/CD pipelines as its core focus. On the other hand, many organizations find that GitLab and GitHub meet all their needs. In addition, these solutions often work better for organizations that aim to simplify their support structures by utilizing fewer vendors.

The sample YAML below imports the orb and then runs it within the job as a single step by passing it in the directory in which the application is stored. Both GitLab CI/CD and GitHub Actions offer managed and self-hosted variants of runners. In GitLab CI/CD, tags are used to run jobs on different platforms, while in GitHub Actions it is done with the runs-on key. Also, never store secrets as variables in your .gitlab-ci.yml file, which is public to allusers with access to the project. Storing sensitive information in variables shouldonly be done in the project, group, or instance settings.