CircleCI Raises $100M to Grow CI/CD, Expand DevOps Insights

The DevOps vendor rolls out new capabilities to help developer efficiency as well as application development and deployment.

The cornerstone of modern DevOps practices is the integration of continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) platforms into the development pipeline.

There are multiple tools and vendors in the CI/CD space, among them being CircleCI, which is experiencing growth thanks to the expanding need for faster development. On April 7, CircleCI announced that it has raised $100 million in a Series E round of funding, bringing total funding for the company to $215 million since it was founded in 2011. The funding comes a week after CircleCI rolled out new features that provide insights to development teams that can help improve development practices and code quality.

“We raised the capital because we’ve seen a pretty dramatic acceleration in the adoption of CI/CD practices,” Jim Rose, CEO of CircleCI, told ITPro Today.

CI/CD Is Going Mainstream
For the first seven years of CircleCI’s existence, the adopters of CI/CD predominantly were very technologically forward organizations such as Facebook, Amazon, Google and Netflix, Rose said. Over the last two years, however, CI/CD has gone more mainstream, he added.

“CI/CD is really becoming the aspirational best practice for essentially anyone that is building software,” Rose said. “What we’ve seen now with all of the craziness over the last six or seven weeks—you know, everything going on with COVID-19—is that, that whole transition has accelerated.”

In a world where so many are now working remotely and teams are distributed, Rose said manual processes are starting to break down. That means organizations need to figure out a how to automate and speed up their delivery practices, which is what CI/CD helps enable.

Using CI/CD to Provide Developer Insight
Looking beyond just automating parts of the development process, CircleCI is also aiming to improve the way developers and code development work with its new Insights API, which became available on April 1.

The Insights API initially is focused on helping development teams understand, model and look for trends at an individual job workflow level, according to Rose. He noted that project managers are often trying to get a handle on larger trends over time, such as if projects are getting better, faster or more stable. Part of identifying trends is finding points of change and bottlenecks in a process that can be fixed to improve agility.

The ability to connect development process with resources, cost and outcome to help determine return on investment (ROI) and other financial metrics is not part of the initial Insights API release, but it is something that CircleCI is working on.

“Everyone is trying to be able to connect investments in software with changes in business performance, either from a profit perspective or from a cost perspective,” Rose said.

Orbs for Security
Another challenge all development teams face is security, though that’s an area where Rose sees an ecosystem partner approach as being the right path forward.

“From our perspective, security is a big, gnarly problem,” he said. “There are a lot of folks who have an incredible amount of expertise in that space, and it’s constantly moving, so the position we have taken is to … plug into all of those various approaches and solutions, because there isn’t necessarily a one-size-fits-all solution for everyone.”

CircleCI’s Orb infrastructure enables integration with different security tools. CircleCI Orbs are reusable configuration packages that let users easily integrate and run repeatable configurations of code.

“As this world just gets more and more complicated, we’re always working on ways to … to simplify it,” Rose said.

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