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

Heroku CI

https://www.heroku.com/continuous-integration

Gitlab CI

https://about.gitlab.com/product/continuous-integration/
Unique feature

Heroku Flow

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

Type of product

SaaS

SaaS / On Premise

Offers a free plan

No (partial)

For CI only, the cost starts at $10 for pipeline, plus a variable amount depending on how long the build runs for (prorated per second). The servers used for CI cost $250 for a full month, which means you get about 3 hours for $1. For hosting, there's a free tier, limited to 1 web/1 worker with 512 MB RAM. One of the more annoying limitations is that free dynos are put into sleep mode after 30 min. of inactivity, which increases loading times considerably.

Yes

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

Yes

Clearly defined, offers a calculator.

Yes

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

Yes

Yes

All paid plans include next business day support.
Paralellism
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 optimal way with Knapsack Pro

Yes

Up to 16 nodes. You can ask Heroku support to enable up to 32 parallel dynos.

Yes

Easily configure jobs you want to be run in parallel via the YML config file (gitlab-ci.yml)
Distributed builds
distributed means that tasks can be scaled horizontally, on multiple machines
How to split tests in parallel in optimal way with Knapsack Pro

N/A

Yes

Containers support / Build environment

Yes

Builds run in isolation on new dynos (Heroku containers). Wide support via buildpacks: https://devcenter.heroku.com/articles/buildpacks

Yes

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)

Yes

Great visual overview built-in.

Yes

Management support
How easy is it to manage users / projects / assign roles and permissions and so on

Yes

One of the more mature solutions for teams on the market, Heroku Teams is available for free for 1-5 people, and comes at a cost for 6+ team members: https://www.heroku.com/pricing#team-comparison. Allows setting roles and app-level permissions with ease.

Yes

Self-hosted option

No

Yes

Hosted plans / SaaS

Yes

Yes

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.

Yes

Very easy and intuitive process that allows defining a pipeline from code commit, to code review (review apps), user acceptance testing and production deployment, via Heroku Flow. Works best if the project is also hosted on Heroku.

Yes

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

Yes

Yes

Ecosystem
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?

Yes

Wide array of 3rd party add-ons available via Heroku Elements: https://elements.heroku.com/addons. Custom buildpacks are also available for almost any stack you might be using (over 5500 buildpacks available at the moment)

Yes

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.

Yes

Although not specifically built in to Heroku, it's guaranteed that any Ruby specific need that might arise would be solved via add-ons, buildpacks or other integrations available.

Yes

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

Yes

Although not specifically built in to Heroku, it's guaranteed that any Javascript specific need that might arise would be solved via add-ons, buildpacks or other integrations available.

Yes

Although not built into GitLab CI by default, the Docker support allows solving any Javascript specific need that may arise.
Integrations
1st party support for common tools (like Slack notifications, various VCS platforms, etc)

Yes

The strongest built-in integrations are with GitHub and Slack (ChatOps) but even allows integrating 3rd party CI servers in the workflow if you so require, among others.

Yes

Plenty of third party integrations available throughout GitLab, most notably Kubernetes and GitHub, but also plenty of others: https://docs.gitlab.com/ee/integration/README.html
API
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

Yes

Offers a feature rich API that allows CRUD operations on the most important features, such as promoting an app to production, or inspecting a specific pipeline.

Yes

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.
Auditing

Yes

Yes

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 https://docs.gitlab.com/ee/topics/autodevops/

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

How it works

1. Install Knapsack Pro client in your project


2. Add Knapsack Pro client to your current CI server and run your tests in parallel



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

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

Do you know

Start using Knapsack Pro

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Get faster feedback from Heroku CI and Gitlab CI server

  • save time & money
  • deliver features faster
  • catch errors earlier

How to leverage Heroku CI to run your tests faster?

Introduction to Knapsack Pro Heroku add-on

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

Heroku CI parallelism integration

Gitlab CI parallelism integration

Introduction to CI parallelisation with Knapsack Pro

Run tests in parallel on Heroku CI and Gitlab CI in optimal way and avoid bottleneck parallel jobs.

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

minutes
$

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

Features that make your tests perform better

  • Queue mode see video

    Dynamic tests allocation across Heroku CI and Gitlab CI parallel jobs. Autobalance tests to get optimal test suite split betweeen CI nodes.

  • Regular mode see video

    Test suite split based on time execution. Generates subset of test suite per CI node before running tests.

  • Fallback mode

    Network issues? Not a problem, run tests anyway! Auto switch to the fallback mode to not depend on Knapsack Pro API.

  • All supported test runners

    Ruby: RSpec, Minitest, Test::Unit, Cucumber, Spinach, Turnip.

    JavaScript: Cypress.io, Jest

    Do you use different programming language or test runner? Let us know in the poll

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 scaleable build pipeline with almost no setup or maintenance.

Tim Lucas Co-founder of buildkite.com

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 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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