Tekton: A Modern Approach to Continuous Delivery

2 min read

What is Tekton?

What if you were able to build, test, and deploy apps to Kubernetes using an open source, vendor-neutral, Kubernetes-native framework?

That's the promise of Tekton, a set of shared components for building continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) systems, managed by the open source Continuous Delivery Foundation (CDF). 

The goal is to modernize continuous delivery by providing industry specifications for pipelines, workflows, and other building blocks. Tekton lets you build, test, and deploy across multiple cloud providers or on-premises systems by abstracting the underlying implementation details.

Tekton logo

How does Tekton work?

Simply put, the Tekton Pipelines project provides Kubernetes-style resources for declaring CI/CD-style pipelines. These resources are naturally described in yaml and stored in a code repository. This pipeline-as-code approach provides the benefits of versioning and source control.   

Tekton provides a set of Custom Resource extensions to Kubernetes that define pipelines and related concepts. The following are the basic Tekton Pipeline building blocks:

The following are the basic Tekton Pipeline building blocks:
  • Task: Defines a set of build steps, such as compiling code, running tests, and building and deploying images.
  • Pipeline: Defines the set of tasks that compose a pipeline.
  • PipelineResource: Defines an object that is an input (such as a Git repository) or an output (such as a Docker image) of the pipeline.
  • PipelineRun: Defines the execution of a pipeline. This resource references the Pipeline to run and which PipelineResource(s) to use as input and output.

Apart from being Kubernetes-native, a Tekton pipeline can be used to deploy to any environment (Kubernetes cluster, Cloud Foundry, virtual machines (VMs), etc.) and pipeline tasks are run securely in isolation, together providing the ability to flexibly meet the needs of modern continuous delivery.

IBM is committed to providing continuous delivery tools based on Tekton and, earlier this year, announced the first Tekton-based capability with private pipeline workers, allowing the ability to run Continuous Delivery Pipeline stages outside of the IBM public infrastructure. Stay tuned for additional Tekton features coming soon! 

For a closer look, see our video, "What is Tekton?":

The Continuous Delivery Foundation

The Continuous Delivery Foundation (CDF) serves as the vendor-neutral home of many of the fastest-growing projects for continuous delivery, including Jenkins, Jenkins X, Spinnaker, and Tekton. CDF supports DevOps practitioners with an open model, training, industry guidelines, and a portability focus.

IBM is a premier sponsor of the CDF and is actively participating in this community and its ecosystem to help shape the future of CI/CD. Our participation in this foundation ensures that we can offer our customers leading-edge, cloud native solutions that deliver high-quality applications with speed.


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