Getting Started with Jenkins X in 5 Minutes

Getting Started with Jenkins X in 5 Minutes

Play this article

Jenkins works perfectly well as a stand-alone open source tool but with the shift to Cloud native and Kubernetes, it invites challenges in terms of management and operation. In a recent past Jenkins X has emerged as a way to improve and automate continuous delivery pipelines to Kubernetes and cloud native environments. Jenkins X is a CI/CD solution for modern cloud applications on Kubernetes. It helps us create great pipelines for our projects and implement a full CI and CD. Jenkins X provides an automated CI/CD for your modern cloud applications on Kubernetes and enables developers to quickly establish continuous delivery best practices.

Container orchestration tools such as Kubernetes allow DevOps teams to manage these containers, leading to faster deployments and shorter time to market, while also satisfying heightened customer expectations and remaining competitive.

Compelling Feature of Jenkins X

Jenkins X is not just a CI/CD tool to run your builds and deployments, it is an attempt to automate the whole development process end to end for containerised applications based on Docker and Kubernetes. It is obviously open source, as are all best applications. Jenkins X builds upon the DevOps model of loosely-coupled architectures. It is designed to support deployment of large numbers of distributed microservices in a repeatable and manageable fashion, across multiple teams.

Today Developers shouldn’t spend time figuring out how to package software as docker images. They shouldn’t really create the Kubernetes YAML to run their application on Kubernetes, even shouldn’t care about creating Preview environments or even learn how to implement CI/CD pipelines with declarative pipeline-as-code Jenkinsfiles. They should focus on their code and hence, on delivering value! Jenkins X is a project which rethinks how developers should interact with CI/CD in the cloud with a focus on making development teams productive through automation, tooling and DevOps best practices. What’s cool about Jenkins X is as a developer you can type one command jx create or jx import and get your source code, git repository and application created, automatically built and deployed to Kubernetes on each Pull Request or git push with full CI/CD complete with Environments and Promotion via GitOps!

Jenkins X is designed to make it simple for developers to work to DevOps principles and best practices

Rather than having to have deep knowledge of the internals of Jenkins X Pipeline, Jenkins X will default awesome pipelines for your projects that implement fully CI and CD. Below are the few compelling features of Jenkins X .

  • Automated CI-CD Pipeline
  • Environmental Promotion using GitOps
  • Preview Environments

Jenkins X Architecture

At the heart of the system is Kubernetes. Kubernetes hosts all services deployed by JX, including administrative ones (Jenkins, Chartmuseum, Monocular etc). Let us talk about each of these components which falls under architecture:

Source ~

  • Git: Git stores all the code and configurations, including environment setup. Serves as a source of truth for everything. Jenkins X manages remote Git repositories and follows the GitOps principles.
  • Helm: Deployment of the services (or applications) is coordinated via Helm. Helm’s Charts allow sharing of application templates and makes versioning easy. Helm also takes care of upgrade and rollback cases, which makes it quite useful.
  • Chartmuseum: It is basically a Helm Charts repository which helps to manage charts via rest api.
  • Monocular: It is a web-based UI to Helm Charts repository
  • Nexus — acts as a dependency cache for Node Js and Java applications to dramatically improve build times. After an initial build of a SpringBoot application the build time is reduced from 12 mins to 4. We have not yet but intend to demonstrate swapping this with Artifactory soon.
  • Docker Registry — an in cluster docker registry where our pipelines push application images.

jx is a command line tool for working with Jenkins X. It does all the magic of bringing all building blocks together and providing an entry point to a system management and orchestration. It is written in Go.The JX CLI is utilized by end users to manage resources (apps, environments, urls etc) as well as in Jenkins pipelines created by JX. Few of the notable commands includes:

$ jx install

Install JX on Kubernetes Cluster

$ jx create

Creates JX resources and associated services like Kubernetes Namespace, Pods, Services etc

$ jx boot

Boots up Jenkins X in a Kubernetes cluster using GitOps and a Jenkins X Pipeline

$ jx import

Imports a project code into JX

$ jx preview

Creates a temporary Preview Environment for an application

$ jx promote

Promotes an apps version to a specific environment

Under this blog post, we will set up Jenkins X on Google Cloud Platform in 5 Minutes.


Jenkins X requires the following supported services installed & configured properly prior to installation:

  • You will require GITHUB as a GIT provider and GITHUB user account.
  • You need to create a GitHub organization. You will also need to create a GitHub bot account/username( In my case, I created it by name “collabnix-bot” over GitHub)
  • Publicly accessible DockerHub account for creating and managing docker images.
  • A local Desktop machine(Linux/Mac) with the jx program.
  • The Kubernetes command-line tool, which can be installed to your local installation using the jx install command.
  • A Google Cloud Platform (GCP) account with the ability to provision kubernetes resources / create kubernetes clusters with API Enabled as shown below:

Setting up GITHUB User & Organization

First of all, let us create a GitHub organisation which will have two members, a GitHub user account, eg ajeetraina, and a GitHub ‘Pipeline’ bot account, eg collabnix-bot.

Creating GITHUB Organization:

  • Click the “+” at the top right of GitHub’s top navigation bar or by clicking to the create an organization page. Choose free ‘Team for Open Source’ plan for GitHub organisation.. Name your organisation anything you like, eg jenkins-x-testproject.
  • It’s time to Invite your GitHub user account, e.g. ajeetraina to the organisation.
  • This GitHub user account will create and manage development repositories.

Creating GITHUB Pipeline bot Account

  • Create a GitHub Pipeline bot account. This Pipeline bot will automate pull request notifications and create preview environments for quick validation and acceptance for code merging.
  • Please note that your Pipeline bot should be created as a member of your GitHub organisation, e.g. jenkins-x-testproject.
  • I would suggest you create a new account that will be only for your bot.
  • The bot account which you create must have a token created in your organization that authenticates the bot & allows it to perform various tasks on the repositories within your organization. You might need to generate a Git token for your Pipeline Bot with the correct permissions via this GitHub Link.

Installing JX

jx version --short Version 2.1.78+cjxd.11

Installing JX Dependencies

jx install dependencies -d kubectl Installing Kubectl

Creating Kubernetes Cluster using JX

Before you run the below command, ensure that you have a valid GCE account. Run the below `jx create cluster gke` CLI which allows you to create a cluster on Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE), which you can initialise with a name.

[Captains-Bay]? > jx create cluster gke --skip-installation -n mytestproject

This command will take 10–15 minutes and goes through the below process:

  • The program opens a web browser and you will be asked to choose the email address associated with your GCP account.
  • It will allow the Google Cloud SDK access to your account. After confirming, you can close the browser page.
  • Back at the command-line, the jx create cluster program prompts you to choose your Google Cloud Project from the available list.
[Captains-Bay]? > jx create cluster gke --skip-installation -n mytestproject This command will take 10-15 minutes and goes through the below process: The program opens a web browser and you will be asked to choose the email address associated with your GCP account. It will allow the Google Cloud SDK access to your account. After confirming, you can close the browser page. Back at the command-line, the jx create cluster program prompts you to choose your Google Cloud Project from the available list. ? Google Cloud Project: famous-hull-276807 Updated property [core/project]. ? Configured cluster name: mytestproject ? Defaulting to cluster type: Zonal ? Google Cloud Zone: us-east1-b ? Defaulting to machine type: n1-standard-2 ? Defaulting to minimum number of nodes: 3 ? Defaulting to maximum number of nodes: 5 ? Defaulting use of preemptible VMs: No ? Defaulting access to Google Cloud Storage / Google Container Registry: Yes ? Defaulting enabling Cloud Build, Container Registry & Container Analysis API's: Yes ? Defaulting enabling Kaniko for building container images: No Creating cluster... Creating cluster... WARNING: Currently VPC-native is not the default mode during cluster creation. In the future, this will become the default mode and can be disabled using `--no-enable-ip-alias` flag. Use `--[no-]enable-ip-alias` flag to suppress this warning. WARNING: Newly created clusters and node-pools will have node auto-upgrade enabled by default. This can be disabled using the `--no-enable-autoupgrade` flag. WARNING: Starting with version 1.18, clusters will have shielded GKE nodes by default. WARNING: Your Pod address range (`--cluster-ipv4-cidr`) can accommodate at most 1008 node(s). This will enable the autorepair feature for nodes. Please see for more information on node autorepairs. Creating cluster mytestproject in us-east1-b... ................................done. Created []. To inspect the contents of your cluster, go to: kubeconfig entry generated for mytestproject. NAME LOCATION MASTER_VERSION MASTER_IP MACHINE_TYPE NODE_VERSION NUM_NODES STATUS mytestproject us-east1-b 1.14.10-gke.36 n1-standard-2 1.14.10-gke.36 3 RUNNING Initialising cluster ... gke cluster created. Skipping Jenkins X installation. Fetching cluster endpoint and auth data. kubeconfig entry generated for mytestproject. Context "gke_famous-hull-276807_us-east1-b_mytestproject" modified.

You can visit GCP console and click on “Workload” to see all Jenkins X specific workloads up and running:

Verifying Kubernetes Cluster

kubectl get nodes NAME STATUS ROLES AGE VERSION gke-mytestproject-default-pool-c87818e4-3vbd Ready <none> 50s v1.14.10-gke.36 gke-mytestproject-default-pool-c87818e4-551t Ready <none> 50s v1.14.10-gke.36 gke-mytestproject-default-pool-c87818e4-qg4b Ready <none> 50s v1.14.10-gke.36

Clone the Jenkins X Boot configuration Repository

Under this step, we will clone Jenkins X boot configuration repository. We will then open the jx-requirements.yml file of your newly cloned repo, eg. jenkins-x-boot-config/jx-requirements.yml. This specifies the requirements of your installation, including:

[Captains-Bay]? > git clone [](

Running JX Boot CLI

The ‘jx boot’ utility command allows you to boot up Jenkins X in a Kubernetes cluster using GitOps and a Jenkins X Pipeline. Jenkins X Boot uses the following approach:

Then you will be asked a series of questions to ensure Jenkins X is installed properly on your cluster:

You will be asked to input the Git Owner name for environment repositories:

Type in the organisation you created: jenkins-x-testproject

You will be asked to provide Comma-separated git provider usernames of approvers for development environment repository

Type in the name of the GitHub account that is a member of the organisation you created, eg ajeetraina

You may receive a Warning that TLS is not enabled so your webhooks will be called using HTTP. You will be asked for confirmation to continue.

If you type ‘No’, the jx boot process will end with error: cannot continue because TLS is not enabled.If you type ‘Yes’, then namespace jx will be created in your cluster and Jenkins X booted in that namespace.

You may be asked if you wish to upgrade jx.

It is recommended you say ‘Yes’ and then re-run jx boot.

There will be information logged on enabling storage on GKE.

You do not need to enable storage for this walkthrough tutorial.

You will be asked Jenkins X Admin Username

Type in a username or press return to have the default username of admin

You will then be asked for Jenkins X Admin Password

Type one in

You will then be asked for the Pipeline bot Git username: Type in the name of the Pipeline Bot you created, eg jx-bot.

Type in the name of the Pipeline Bot you created, eg collabnix-bot

You will then be asked for Pipeline bot Git email address

Type in the email address you used when setting up your Pipeline Bot.

You will then be asked for Pipeline bot Git token..

Type in the token generated and saved previously.

You will be asked, Do you want to configure an external Docker Registry?: ‘No’ is sufficient for this tutorial

‘No’ is sufficient for this tutorial. But if you say “yes” you might need to provide Docker Registry Details ( ie. DockerHub username and password)

Then you will see confirmation on the state of your installation process, such as “Installation is currently looking: GOOD” message.In the organisation you created, eg jenkins-x-testproject, there should now be 3 additional repositories for the dev, staging, and production environments, which map to the dev, staging, and production namespaces in your cluster.

verifying the Jenkins X installation in namespace jx verifying pods Checking pod statuses POD STATUS jenkins-x-chartmuseum-d87cbb789-h4kzz Running jenkins-x-controllerbuild-847f4f4b79-t6g64 Running jenkins-x-controllerrole-75d8d87d98-p5p2l Running jenkins-x-heapster-54bdffbc79-fwlds Running jenkins-x-nexus-b69b7745b-xnzrl Running jx-vault-mytestproject-0 Running jx-vault-mytestproject-configurer-5547f59f5b-d2vjk Running lighthouse-foghorn-dd76f6664-w9ql4 Running lighthouse-keeper-5f89b8b978-chkdp Running lighthouse-webhooks-5cdf4b9f65-6mchq Running lighthouse-webhooks-5cdf4b9f65-nqjvw Running tekton-pipelines-controller-88c7cd9d5-4hr7z Running vault-operator-75d5446bb7-mnj6h Running Verifying the git config Verifying username collabnix-bot at git server github at Found 1 organisations in git server jenkins-x-testproject Validated pipeline user collabnix-bot on git server [](

Congratulations ! Jenkins X should be installed on your Kubernetes cluster by now.

Getting Jenkins X Environment

jx get environments NAME LABEL KIND PROMOTE NAMESPACE ORDER CLUSTER SOURCE REF PR dev Development Development Never jx 0 master staging Staging Permanent Auto jx-staging 100 master production Production Permanent Manual jx-production 200 master [Captains-Bay]? >

To use the GUI, you must install and configure it for your CloudBees Jenkins X Distribution environment. Ensure that you have the proper namespace set by running jx from the command line to switch to the jx namespace:

jx ns jx Using namespace 'jx' from context named 'gke_famous-hull-276807_us-east1-b_mytestproject' on server ''.

From a command-line, install the UI application by using the jx add app command. Please Note: If you have enabled GitOps mode in your CloudBees Jenkins X Distribution cluster, the jx add app command updates your development (dev) environment repository and automatically merges the UI app source code changes to your dev environment.

[Captains-Bay]? > jx add app jx-app-ui --version 0.1.211 WARNING: No secrets found on "helm/repos" due: reading the secret "helm/repos" from vault: no secret "helm/repos" not found in vault Read credentials for from vault helm/repos Preparing questions to configure jx-app-ui. If this is the first time you have installed the app, this may take a couple of minutes. Questions prepared. Checking if TLS is enabled in the cluster Created Pull Request: Added app via Pull Request [Captains-Bay]? > jx gadd app jx-app-ui --version 0.1.211kubectl get -n jx ingress jenkins-x-jxui

The ‘jx ui’ CLI opens the CloudBees Jenkins X UI app for Kubernetes for visualising CI/CD and your environments. Before running the above command, let us ensure that we are under “jx” namespace.

[Captains-Bay]? > jx ui -p 8080 UI not configured to run with TLS - The UI will open in read-only mode with port-forwarding only for the current user Waiting for the UI to be ready on http://localhost:8080... . . Jenkins X UI: http://localhost:8080 Opening the UI in the browser...

Opening up Jenkins X UI

Let’s go ahead and test drive a new app from a Quickstart and import the generated code into Git and Jenkins for CI/CD.

Search for Python-http and click “Continue”.

You have to enter the GITHUB Access token, organization name and name of the new repository which you want to create. Click “Finish” once you enter the details.

If you didn’t opt for GUI, you can perform the quickstart via CLI too as shown below:

jx create quickstart ? select the quickstart you wish to create python-http Using Git provider at ? Git user name? collabnix-bot ? Who should be the owner of the repository? jenkins-x-testproject ? Enter the new repository name: tp-alpha Creating repository jenkins-x-testproject/tp-alpha Generated quickstart at /Users/ajeetraina/july1/tp-alpha Created project at /Users/ajeetraina/july1/tp-alpha The directory /Users/ajeetraina/july1/tp-alpha is not yet using git ? Would you like to initialise git now? Yes ? Commit message: Initial import Git repository created performing pack detection in folder /Users/ajeetraina/july1/tp-alpha --> Draft detected Python (95.544554%) selected pack: /Users/ajeetraina/.jx/draft/packs/ replacing placeholders in directory /Users/ajeetraina/july1/tp-alpha app name: tp-alpha, git server:, org: jenkins-x-testproject, Docker registry org: famous-hull-276807 skipping directory "/Users/ajeetraina/july1/tp-alpha/.git" Draft pack python added ? Would you like to define a different preview namespace? Yes ? Enter the name for the preview namespace: jx-previews Pushed Git repository to Creating GitHub webhook for jenkins-x-testproject/tp-alpha for url Created Pull Request: Added label updatebot to Pull Request created pull request on the development git repository regenerated Prow configuration PipelineActivity for jenkins-x-testproject-tp-alpha-master-1 upserted PipelineResource meta-jenkins-x-testproject-tp-a-w9sxr for the git repository upserted Task meta-jenkins-x-testproject-tp-a-w9sxr-meta-pipeline-1 upserted Pipeline meta-jenkins-x-testproject-tp-a-w9sxr-1 created PipelineRun meta-jenkins-x-testproject-tp-a-w9sxr-1 created PipelineStructure meta-jenkins-x-testproject-tp-a-w9sxr-1 Watch pipeline activity via: jx get activity -f tp-alpha -w Browse the pipeline log via: jx get build logs jenkins-x-testproject/tp-alpha/master You can list the pipelines via: jx get pipelines When the pipeline is complete: jx get applications For more help on available commands see: Note that your first pipeline may take a few minutes to start while the necessary images get downloaded!


If you’re looking for a tool which can help you achieve CI-CD without any effort of assembling things together yourself, Jenkins X is a right tool for you. It doesn’t aim to replace Jenkins but builds on it with best of breed open source tools. You do not directly install Jenkins to use Jenkins X, Jenkins is right embedded for you as a pipeline engine as part of the installation for a team.It is a complete CI/CD process with a Jenkins pipeline that builds and packages project code for deployment to Kubernetes and access to pipelines for promoting projects to staging and production environments.

Originally published at on August 14, 2020.

Did you find this article valuable?

Support Collabnix by becoming a sponsor. Any amount is appreciated!