Semaphore CI vs Google Cloud Build comparison of Continuous Integration servers
What are the differences between Semaphore CI and Google Cloud Build?

Semaphore CI

https://semaphoreci.com

Google Cloud Build

https://cloud.google.com/cloud-build/
Unique feature

Autoscaling made easy / Great CLI

Security / speed

Type of product

SaaS

SaaS

Offers a free plan

Yes

1,300 service minutes every month. Plans to release a free tier for open source projects.

Yes

Google offers a generous 120 build-minutes per day plan, not including time spent waiting in the queue.
Predictable pricing

Yes

Semaphore doesn't have traditional pricing tiers, instead it lists the types of machines you can use and their pricing per second of service. They plan to release an annual plan at some point.

Yes (partial)

While it's clear what the cost is (priced per build-minute), figuring out costs can be a hassle, especially as the price can vary quite a bit depending on commits to the project.
Support / SLA

N/A

Not clear if they offer any real SLA on support.

Yes

Even available as a paid add-on, for 24/7 phone support for example: https://cloud.google.com/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

Allows defining a custom build matrix such that your build can be parallelized accross several different environments.

Yes

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

N/A

Containers support / Build environment

Yes

Allows running builds inside docker containers

Yes

Native Docker and Packer support
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

Yes

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

Yes

Yes

Self-hosted option

No

No (partial)

While there's no self hosted variant, they provide a local Cloud Build image which allows you to build locally, very valuable for debugging.
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

Allows defining complex build workflows with ease

Yes

Configurable via YML and/or JSON 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.

N/A

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?

N/A

Yes

There are predefined images built for Cloud Build, which can be integrated right away in your build process. Some of them are first party: https://github.com/GoogleCloudPlatform/cloud-builders and others are community contributed: https://github.com/GoogleCloudPlatform/cloud-builders-community
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

Provides rich documentation on integrating Semaphore CI in Ruby projects. Also provides sudo access if you need to install system dependencies or C extensions.

N/A

Nothing specific as far as we can tell
Specific language support: JavaScript

Yes

Provides rich documentation on integrating Semaphore CI in Javascript projects

Yes (partial)

npm, yarn and jasmine-node support via predefined Cloud Build steps.
Integrations
1st party support for common tools (like Slack notifications, various VCS platforms, etc)

Yes

Integration with GitHub and Slack. They allow building iOS projects via their macOS Mojave VM image.

Yes

Various integrations available via custom Build Steps, as well as natively (Kubernetes, Docker, etc.)
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

No

Yes

REST API and comprehensive CLI tool, as well as a pub/sub system for build notifications.
Auditing

Yes

Yes

Additional notes

List of features is based on Semaphore 2.0

Not unlike other Google tools, there's a strong emphasis on allowing developers to build on top of the service. Becomes more valuable if you're using other Google Cloud services as well.

How to run parallel tests on Semaphore CI and Google Cloud Build
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 red node

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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

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

Knapsack Pro how it works with CI server

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

Sign up and speed up your tests.

Get faster feedback from Semaphore CI and Google Cloud Build server

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

Running Rails tests in parallel on Semaphore CI 2.0 with dynamic test files split

Semaphore CI parallelism integration

Introduction to CI parallelisation with Knapsack Pro

Run tests in parallel on Semaphore CI and Google Cloud Build in optimal way and avoid bottleneck parallel jobs.

How much can you save with faster tests
on Semaphore CI and Google Cloud Build?

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 Semaphore CI and Google Cloud Build 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've been playing with Queue Mode. Love it! Wow, I love how fast it goes.

Michael Menne CTO at humanagency.org

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 Semaphore CI or Google Cloud Build

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