Knapsack Pro

Gitlab CI vs Rancher Pipelines comparison of Continuous Integration servers
What are the differences between Gitlab CI and Rancher Pipelines?

Gitlab CI

Rancher Pipelines
Unique feature

AutoDev Ops / Allows keeping code management and CI in the same place

DevOps tool for container orchestration

Type of product

SaaS / On Premise

On Premise

Offers a free plan


Very generous free plans for both the SaaS version as well as the on premise version.


Free, open source project
Predictable pricing


Clear and affordable pricing for both SaaS and self-hosted versions.


It's free!
Support / SLA


All paid plans include next business day support.


Paid support available:
Every CI servers tends to address this differently (parallel, distributed, build matrix). Some of it is just marketing, and some is just nuance. For this table, parallel means that tasks can be run concurrently on the same machine, distributed means that tasks can be scaled horizontally, on multiple machines
How to split tests in parallel in the optimal way with Knapsack Pro


Easily configure jobs you want to be run in parallel via the YML config file (gitlab-ci.yml)


You can run multiple parallel steps within a build stage
Distributed builds
distributed means that tasks can be scaled horizontally, on multiple machines
How to split tests in parallel in the optimal way with Knapsack Pro



Unclear from the documentation (probably not)
Containers support / Build environment


The Docker Container Registry is integrated into GitLab by default


Analytics / Status overview
Analytics and overview referrs to the ability to, at a glance, see what's breaking (be it a certain task, or the build for a specific project)



Not particularly clear, but it appears you can monitor stats in a Grafana dashboard:
Management support
How easy is it to manage users / projects / assign roles and permissions and so on



User management is available, with specific roles assigned, or permissions to certain resources and projects
Self-hosted option



Hosted plans / SaaS



Build pipelines
A continuous delivery pipeline is a description of the process that the software goes through from a new code commit, through testing and other statical analysis steps all the way to the end-users of the product.


Defined via YML config files


Pipelines as code (YML files), but also manageable via the UI
Reports are about the abilty to see specific reports (like code coverage or custom ones), but not necesarily tied in into a larger dashboard.



Besides the official documentation and software, is there a large community using this product? Are there any community-driven tools / plugins that you can use?



Specific language support: Ruby
Some CI servers have built-in support for parsing RSpec or Istanbul output for example and we mention those. Some others make it even easier by detecting Gemfiles or package.json and automate parts of the process for the developer.


Although not built into GitLab CI by default, the Docker support allows solving any Ruby specific need that may arise.


Pipelines / CI is just a small part of Rancher. No specific support mentioned.
Specific language support: JavaScript


Although not built into GitLab CI by default, the Docker support allows solving any Javascript specific need that may arise.


Pipelines / CI is just a small part of Rancher. No specific support mentioned.
1st party support for common tools (like Slack notifications, various VCS platforms, etc)


Plenty of third party integrations available throughout GitLab, most notably Kubernetes and GitHub, but also plenty of others:


Integrations available for GitLab, GitHub and Bitbucket
Custom integreation is available, via an API or otherwise, it's mentioned separately as it allows further customization than any of the Ecosystem/Integration options


Provides a REST API and a (new) GraphQL API, with plans to maintain the GraphQL API only going forward. Allows doing almost anything that can be done via the interface, at least in terms of CI needs.


REST API available. It provides introspection and documentation: It should offer enough access to allow building whatever customizations or integrations with 3rd party tools deemed necessary.



Allows logging to various systems (Kafka, Elastic, etc) which should make audit possible
Additional notes

The Auto DevOps feature might be interesting to people looking for a very hands-off experience with getting a CI/CD process up and running

Rancher is a full software stack for container orchestration, going as far as building their own Linux distribution (RancherOS). Using Rancher seems more like a decision to be made considering all other features Rancher offers, not just the CI server. Also worth noting that Rancher uses Jenkins under the hood, but the engine is locked so projects can't just be migrated between the two.

How to run parallel tests on Gitlab CI and Rancher Pipelines
to execute 1-hour test suite in 2 minutes?

Without Knapsack Pro

you have to wait 20 minutes for slow tests running too long on the red node


Run fast parallel CI build with Knapsack Pro

CI build completes work in only 10 minutes because Knapsack Pro ensures all parallel nodes finish work at a similar time


You can even run 20 parallel nodes to complete your CI build in 2 minutes

How it works

Step 1

Install Knapsack Pro client in your project

Step 2

Update your CI server config file to run tests in parallel with Knapsack Pro

Step 3

Run a CI build with parallel tests using Knapsack Pro

Diagram that shows files distributed to 3 parallel CI nodes

Knapsack Pro in Queue Mode splits tests in a dynamic way across parallel CI nodes to ensure each CI node finishes work at a similar time. Thanks to that, your CI build time is as fast as possible. It works with many supported CI servers.

How to install it

Programming Language Supported test runners Installation guide Knapsack Pro Library
README / Source
Ruby RSpec, Cucumber, Minitest, test-unit, Spinach, Turnip Install knapsack_pro gem
JavaScript Install @knapsack-pro/cypress
JavaScript Jest Install @knapsack-pro/jest
JavaScript / TypeScript Any test runner in JavaScript How to build native integration with Knapsack Pro API to run tests in parallel for any test runner @knapsack-pro/core
Any programming language Any test runner How to build a custom Knapsack Pro API client from scratch in any programming language -

Do you use other programming language or test runner? Let us know.

Do you know

Start using Knapsack Pro

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Get faster feedback from Gitlab CI and Rancher Pipelines server

  • save time & money
  • deliver features faster
  • catch errors earlier
Knapsack Pro terminal

GitLab CI parallelisation - how to run parallel jobs for Ruby & JavaScript projects

Gitlab CI parallelism integration

Introduction to CI parallelisation with Knapsack Pro

Run tests in parallel on Gitlab CI and Rancher Pipelines in the optimal way and avoid bottleneck parallel jobs.

How much can you save with faster tests
on Gitlab CI and Rancher Pipelines?


Monthly you can save hours
and up to $
on faster development cycle.

Features that make your tests perform better

Discover all features or see
how to use Knapsack Pro with your CI

Trusted solution

Join the teams optimizing their tests with Knapsack Pro.

We've been really enjoying Knapsack Pro, it's been saving us a ton of time.

Devin Brown Software Engineer at Pivotal

This is a fantastic product, it's been a total game-changer for us.

Geoff Harcourt CTO at CommonLit

We are using CircleCI and we noticed that builds were being limited by the slowest parallelized container. Knapsack Pro was really east to setup and we saw huge improvements right away. Thank you for making this tool!

Martin Sieniawski Software Engineer at Collage

Knapsack Pro has helped us build an insanely fast and scalable build pipeline with almost no setup or maintenance.

Tim Lucas Co-founder of

Knapsack Pro saves us hours of engineer waiting time every week, and is the best solution for keeping our tests load balanced that we've used to date.

Michael Amygdalidis Senior Software Engineer at Popular Pays

I've been playing with Queue Mode. Love it! Wow, I love how fast it goes.

Michael Menne CTO at

I just logged into my account expecting it to say that I needed to add a credit card and was so surprised and delighted to see the trial doesn't count usage by calendar days but by testing days! This is incredible! I love it!!!

I just wanted to say that I really appreciate that small but very huge feature. Thank you for being so thoughtful :)

Shannon Baffoni Senior Software Engineer
at Blue Bottle Coffee

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Start using Knapsack Pro with Gitlab CI or Rancher Pipelines

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