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Automate, customize CI/CD pipelines with Bitbucket Pipes

Atlassian's new Bitbucket Pipes helps developers automate and customize DevOps pipelines to boost developer productivity.

With its Bitbucket Pipes technology, Atlassian gives developers a way to automate their CI/CD pipelines, with integrations to more than 30 DevOps tools and services.

Bitbucket is Atlassian's Git-based tool for professional development teams. Bitbucket Pipes, released in late February, enables developers to customize their CI/CD pipelines to meet their specific needs.

Developers responsible for building and managing CI/CD pipelines typically have to use multiple tools and manually write pipeline integrations. However, Bitbucket Pipes eliminates that manual process, said Harpreet Singh, head of products for Bitbucket Cloud at Atlassian.

Building pipes

Atlassian worked with vendors, including Google, Microsoft, Slack, AWS and others, to build integrations -- or "pipes" -- to automate CI/CD pipelines, Singh said.

Bitbucket Pipes is analogous to plumbing that interconnects pipes to bring water into a house, he said. In a similar manner, when developers build CI/CD pipelines, they have to interact with a number of tools to build integrations. And these integrations are manually written as scripts within pipelines -- a process that can be error-prone, Singh said.

This can result in "duct tape DevOps," where these scripts are haphazardly connected, he said. Bitbucket Pipes automates this process, enabling developers to build sophisticated pipelines and avoid duct tape DevOps scenarios. It integrates with a set of DevOps tools that developers can just drop into their configuration, and Pipes will connect to the tool.

"It is a great step -- the ability to simplify how you plug in the various components you want to use as you build and deploy software," said Thomas Murphy, an industry analyst at Gartner.

Atlassian's Bitbucket Pipes provides a service-oriented approach that has become a common thread in software development, he said. This approach involves providing pluggable tools that are flexible enough to fit developer needs and adaptable enough to withstand changes in technology, Murphy said.

"We want to help you connect with the tools that you use today and take away the onus of writing these complex configurations," Singh said.

This can reduce the time it takes for developers to move code to production.

Code script before and after Bitbucket Pipes
Code script before and after Pipes

Integrating pipelines

Two of Atlassian's core philosophies are to make development teams work together better, and there is no one-size-fits-all tool for developers.

"Developers use all kinds of tools, and we want to meet them where they are," Singh said. Thus, Atlassian worked with 20 different vendors to provide 30 pipes to connect to products and services, such as Azure Web Apps, Google Cloud, AWS Elastic Beanstalk, Datadog, JFrog and others.

JFrog's DevOps tools help development teams release at high velocity, continuously updating from code commit through to production.

"Integrating our DevOps tools with coding and collaboration tools from Atlassian -- including Bitbucket Pipes -- is a development that will bind many companies' entire complete delivery pipelines together efficiently," said Kit Merker, vice president of business development at JFrog.

Other tools in the market with similar capabilities to Bitbucket Pipes include CircleCI Orbs from Circle Internet Services in San Francisco. CloudBees has done some work to simplify the pipeline, and there is some relation with GitHub actions -- though they are not a CI provider, Murphy said.

Fewer lines of code

Moreover, DevOps pipelines rely on a lot of different components, many of them open source, and the pieces change all the time.

Developers spend a lot of time just keeping their build and deploy scripts up to date -- not just for their code changes, but for changes to other components that the build relies on, Murphy said.

The bottom line is, if you have to write fewer lines of code, you are more insulated from changes, he said. And if the pipes are well-supported by third parties, it is all beneficial to developers.

It is a great step -- the ability to simplify how you plug in the various components you want to use as you build and deploy software.
Thomas Murphyindustry analyst at Gartner

"Does this mean that Atlassian is jumping out in front of others? Not so much," Murphy said. "But they are continuing to build a strong solution, and I think this is, in some ways, just a beginning for them and what they announce this year."

The challenge with a product like Bitbucket Pipes is whether the provider, Atlassian, has to create something special to support each of these vendors that is building "simplification," Murphy said.

Bitbucket is free to small teams of up to five users. Standard pricing for larger teams is $2 per user, per month, and starts at $10 a month. The Premium plan is a new pricing tier for larger teams that require granular admin controls, security and auditing capabilities. Premium pricing is $5 per user, per month, and starts at $25 a month. Each plan includes build minutes for Bitbucket Pipelines ranging from 50 minutes in the free plan to 1,000 minutes in the Premium plan.

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