Running Jenkins Pipelines in AWS Lambda

jenkins-lambdaThe Jenkinsfile-Runner-Lambda project is a AWS Lambda function to run Jenkins pipelines. It will process a GitHub webhook, git clone the repository and execute the Jenkinsfile in that git repository. It allows huge scalability with 1000+ concurrent builds and pay per use with zero cost if not used.

This function allows Jenkinsfile execution without needing a persistent Jenkins master running in the same way as Jenkins X Serverless, but using AWS Lambda instead of Kubernetes. All the logs are stored in AWS CloudWatch and are easily accessible.


Why not?

I mean, it could make sense to run Jenkinsfiles in Lambda when you are building AWS related stuff, like creating an artifact and uploading it to S3.


Lambda limitations:

  • 15 minutes execution time
  • 3008MB of memory
  • git clone and generated artifacts must fit in the 500MB provided

Current implementation limitations:


Three lambda layers are created:

  • jenkinsfile-runner: the main library
  • plugins: minimal set of plugins to build a Jenkinsfile
  • tools: git, openjdk, maven

You can add your plugins in a new layer as a zip file inside a plugins dir to be expanded in /opt/plugins. You could also add the Configuration as Code plugin and configure the Artifact Manager S3 to store all your artifacts in S3.

Other tools can be added as new layers, and they will be expanded in /opt. You can find a list of scripts for inspiration in the lambci project (gcc,go,java,php,python,ruby,rust) and bash, git and zip (git is already included in the tools layer here)

The layers are built with Docker, installing jenkinsfile-runner, tools and plugins under /opt which is where Lambda layers are expanded. These files are then zipped for upload to Lambda.


Create a lambda function jenkinsfile-runner using Java 8 runtime. Use the layers built in target/layer-* and target/jenkinsfile-runner-lambda-*.jar as function. Could use make publish to create them.


  • handler: org.csanchez.jenkins.lambda.Handler::handleRequest
  • memory: 1024MB
  • timeout: 15 minutes
aws lambda create-function \
    --function-name jenkinsfile-runner \
    --handler org.csanchez.jenkins.lambda.Handler::handleRequest \
    --zip-file fileb://target/jenkinsfile-runner-lambda-1.0-SNAPSHOT.jar \
    --runtime java8 \
    --region us-east-1 \
    --timeout 900 \
    --memory-size 1024 \
    --layers output/layers.json

Exposing the Lambda Function

From the lambda function configuration page add a API Gateway trigger. Select Create a new API and choose the security level. Save the function and you will get a http API endpoint.

Note that to achieve asynchronous execution (GitHub webhooks execution will time out if your webhook takes too long) you would need to configure API Gateway to send the payload to SNS and then lambda to listen to SNS events. See an example.

GitHub events

Add a GitHub json webhook to your git repo pointing to the lambda api gateway url.


More information in the Jenkinsfile-Runner-Lambda GitHub page.

Jenkins Kubernetes Plugin: 2018 in Review

kubernetesLast year has been quite prolific for the Jenkins Kubernetes Plugin, with 55 releases and lots of external contributions!

In 2019 there will be a push for Serverless Jenkins and with that a shift to make agents work better in a Kubernetes environment, with no persistent jnlp connections. You can watch my Jenkins X and Serverless Jenkins demo at Kubecon.

Main changes in the Kubernetes plugin in 2018:

  • Allow creating Pod templates from yaml. This allows setting all possible fields in Kubernetes API using yaml
  • Add yamlFile option for Declarative agent to read yaml definition from a different file
  • Support multiple containers in declarative pipeline
  • Support passing kubeconfig file as credentials using secretFile credentials
  • Show pod logs and events in the Jenkins node page
  • Add optional usage restriction for a Kubernetes cloud using folder properties
  • Add Pod Retention policies to keep pods around on failure
  • Validate label and container names with regex
  • Add option to apply caps only on alive pods
  • Split credentials classes into new plugin kubernetes-credentials

Full Changelog

2018-12-31 kubernetes-1.14.2
2018-12-24 kubernetes-1.14.1
2018-12-19 kubernetes-1.14.0
2018-12-19 kubernetes-1.13.9
2018-12-13 kubernetes-1.13.8
2018-11-30 kubernetes-1.13.7
2018-11-23 kubernetes-1.13.6
2018-10-31 kubernetes-1.13.5
2018-10-30 kubernetes-1.13.4
2018-10-30 kubernetes-1.13.3
2018-10-24 kubernetes-1.13.2
2018-10-23 kubernetes-1.13.1
2018-10-19 kubernetes-1.13.0
2018-10-17 kubernetes-1.12.9
2018-10-17 kubernetes-1.12.8
2018-10-11 kubernetes-1.12.7
2018-09-07 kubernetes-1.12.6
2018-09-07 kubernetes-1.12.5
2018-08-28 kubernetes-1.12.4
2018-08-09 kubernetes-1.12.3
2018-08-07 kubernetes-1.12.2
2018-08-06 kubernetes-1.12.1
2018-07-31 kubernetes-1.12.0
2018-07-31 kubernetes-1.11.0
2018-07-23 kubernetes-1.10.2
2018-07-16 kubernetes-1.10.1
2018-07-11 kubernetes-1.10.0
2018-07-11 kubernetes-1.9.3
2018-06-26 kubernetes-1.9.2
2018-06-26 kubernetes-1.9.1
2018-06-26 kubernetes-1.9.0
2018-06-22 kubernetes-1.8.4
2018-06-22 kubernetes-1.8.3
2018-06-19 kubernetes-1.8.2
2018-06-13 kubernetes-1.8.1
2018-06-13 kubernetes-1.8.0
2018-05-30 kubernetes-1.7.1
2018-05-30 kubernetes-1.7.0
2018-05-29 kubernetes-1.6.4
2018-05-25 kubernetes-1.6.3
2018-05-23 kubernetes-1.6.2
2018-05-22 kubernetes-1.6.1
2018-04-25 kubernetes-1.6.0
2018-04-16 kubernetes-1.5.2
2018-04-09 kubernetes-1.5.1
2018-04-01 kubernetes-1.5
2018-03-28 kubernetes-1.4.1
2018-03-21 kubernetes-1.4
2018-03-16 kubernetes-1.3.3
2018-03-07 kubernetes-1.3.2
2018-02-21 kubernetes-1.3.1
2018-02-21 kubernetes-1.3
2018-02-16 kubernetes-1.2.1
2018-02-02 kubernetes-1.2
2018-01-29 kubernetes-1.1.4
2018-01-10 kubernetes-1.1.3

KubeCon: Jenkins X: Continuous Delivery for Kubernetes


The video of my talk at KubeCon 2018 Seattle

Jenkins X is a new open source CI/CD platform for Kubernetes based on Jenkins.
Jenkins X runs on Kubernetes and transparently uses on demand containers to run build agents and jobs, and isolate job execution. It enables CI/CD-as-code using Jenkins Pipelines and automated deployments of commits and pull requests using Skaffold, Helm and other popular tools. We will demo how to use Jenkins X on any Kubernetes cluster for fully automated CI and CD using a GitOps approach.

JavaZone: Using Kubernetes for Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery

javazone@2x-luftThe video of my talk at JavaZone 2018

Building and testing is a great use case for containers, both due to the dynamic and isolation aspects. We will share our experience running Jenkins at scale using Kubernetes

Jenkins is an example of an application that can take advantage of Kubernetes technology to run Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery workloads. Jenkins and Kubernetes can be integrated to transparently use on demand containers to run build agents and jobs, and isolate job execution. It also supports CI/CD-as-code using Jenkins Pipelines and automated deployments to Kubernetes clusters. The presentation and demos will allow a better understanding of how to use Jenkins on Kubernetes for container based, totally dynamic, large scale CI and CD.

Kubernetes Plugin for Jenkins 1.7.1 Security Release

A minor security issue has been found and fixed in 1.7.1

  • Do not print credentials in build output or logs. Only affects certain pipeline steps like withDockerRegistrysh step is not affected

Other interesting new feature is the support of multiple containers in declarative pipeline #306 JENKINS-48135

<pre>pipeline {
  agent {
    kubernetes {
      label 'mypod'
      defaultContainer 'jnlp'
      yaml """
apiVersion: v1
kind: Pod
    some-label: some-label-value
  - name: maven
    image: maven:alpine
    - cat
    tty: true
  - name: busybox
    image: busybox
    - cat
    tty: true
  stages {
    stage('Run maven') {
      steps {
        container('maven') {
          sh 'mvn -version'
        container('busybox') {
          sh '/bin/busybox'


  • Do not print credentials in build output or logs. Only affects certain pipeline steps like withDockerRegistrysh step is not affected SECURITY-883


  • Add option to apply caps only on alive pods #252
  • Add idleMinutes to pod template in declarative pipeline #336 JENKINS-51569


  • Use Jackson and Apache HttpComponents Client libraries from API plugins #333 JENKINS-51582



  • Transfer any master proxy related envs that the remoting jar uses to the pod templates with addMasterProxyEnvVarsoption #321


  • Some fields are not inherited from parent template (InheritFrom, InstanceCap, SlaveConnectTimeout, IdleMinutes, ActiveDeadlineSeconds, ServiceAccount, CustomWorkspaceVolumeEnabled) #319


  • Support multiple containers in declarative pipeline #306 JENKINS-48135
  • Expose pod configuration via yaml to UI and merge tolerations when inheriting #311
  • Resolve NPE merging yaml when resource requests/limits are not set #310
  • Do not pass arguments to jnlp container #315 JENKINS-50913



You can find the full changelog in GitHub.

Kubernetes Plugin for Jenkins 1.5

15 releases have gone by in 7 months since 1.0 last September

Some interesting new features since 1.0 and a lot of bugfixes and overall stability improvements. For instance now you can use yaml to define the Pod that will be used for your job:

def label = "mypod-${UUID.randomUUID().toString()}"
podTemplate(label: label, yaml: """
apiVersion: v1
kind: Pod
    some-label: some-label-value
  - name: busybox
    image: busybox
    - cat
    tty: true
) {
    node (label) {
      container('busybox') {
        sh "hostname"


You can use readFile step to load the yaml from a file in your git repo.

  • Allow creating Pod templates from yaml. This allows setting all possible fields in Kubernetes API using yaml JENKINS-50282 #275
  • Support passing kubeconfig file as credentials using secretFile credentials JENKINS-49817 #294

You can find the full changelog in GitHub.

Serverless CI/CD with AWS ECS Fargate

Amazon AWS has recently launched ECS Fargate to “run containers without having to manage servers or clusters”.

So this got me interested enough to patch the Jenkins ECS plugin to run Jenkins agents as containers using Fargate model instead of the previous model where you would still need to create and manage VM instances to run the containers.

How does it work?

With the Jenkins ECS plugin you can configure a “Cloud” item that will launch all your agents on ECS Fargate, matching jobs to different container templates using labels. This means you can have unlimited agents with no machines to manage and just pay for what you use.

Some tips on the configuration:

  • Some options need to be configured, like subnet, security group and assign a public ip to the container in order to launch in Fargate.
  • Agents need to adhere to some predefined cpu and memory configurations. For instance for 1 vCPU you can only use 2GB to 8GB in 1GB increments.


Price per vCPU is $0.00001406 per second ($0.0506 per hour) and per GB memory is $0.00000353 per second ($0.0127 per hour).

If you compare the price with a m5.large instance (4 vCPU, 16 GB) that costs $0.192 per hour, it would cost you $0,4056 in Fargate, more than twice, ouch! You could build something similar and cheaper with Kubernetes using the cluster autoscaler given you can achieve a high utilization of the machines.

While I was writing this post someone already beat me to submit a PR to the ECS plugin to add the Fargate support.