Migrating from Bamboo

Migrating continuous integration tools can be challenging, so we've put together a guide to help you transition your Bamboo skills to Buildkite. This guide is applicable to both Bamboo Server and Bamboo Cloud.

Plans to pipelines

Most Bamboo workflows can be easily mapped to Buildkite. Projects and Plans in Bamboo are known as pipelines in Buildkite (and Pipelines in Buildkite UI). Bamboo deployments also become Buildkite pipelines.

Buildkite pipelines consist of steps. There are 6 types of pipeline steps: command, trigger, wait, block, input, and group.

command, trigger, and input steps run in parallel. wait and block steps cause a build to pause and wait for all previous steps to complete. group steps group together various steps, and display them as a single logical group. This way, your pipeline becomes a set of stages.

For example, a test and deploy pipeline might consist of the following steps:

  # First stage
  - command: test_1.sh
  - command: test_2.sh

  - wait

  # Second stage
  - command: deploy.sh

Instead of the wait step above, you could use a block step to stop the build and require a user to manually "unblock" the pipeline by clicking the "Continue" button in the Buildkite UI, or use the Unblock Job REST API endpoint. This is the equivalent of a Manual Stage in Bamboo.

  - command: test_1.sh
  - command: test_2.sh
  - block: 'Deploy to Production'
  - command: deploy.sh

Let's look at an example Bamboo Plan:

Screenshot of a Bamboo Plan

You can map this plan to a Buildkite Pipeline using a combination of command, wait, and block steps:

This Bamboo Plan could also be defined using the following pipeline.yml file:

  # The first stage is to run the "make" command - which will compile
  # the application and store the binaries in a `build` folder. Upload the
  # contents of that folder as an Artifact to Buildkite.
  - command: "make"
    artifact_paths: "build/*"

  # To prevent the "make test" stage from running before "make" has finished,
  # separate the command with a "wait" step.
  - wait

  # Before running `make test`, download the artifacts created in
  # the previous step. To do this, use `buildkite-agent artifact
  # download` command.
  - command: |
      mkdir build
      buildkite-agent artifact download "build/*" "build/"
      make test

  # By putting commands next to each other, you can make them run in parallel.
  - command: |
      mkdir build
      buildkite-agent artifact download "build/*" "build/"
      make lint

  - block: "Deploy to production"

  - command: "scripts/deploy.sh"

Once your build pipelines are set up, you can update step labels to something more fun than plain text 😃 (see our extensive list of supported emojis).

If you have many pipelines to migrate or manage at once, you can use the Update pipeline REST API.

Screenshot of a Buildkite Build

Steps and tasks

command steps are Buildkite's version of the Command Task in Bamboo - they can run any commands you like on your build server, whether it's rake test or make. Buildkite doesn't have the concept of Tasks in general, it's up to you to write scripts that perform the same tasks that your Bamboo Jobs have.

For example, you had the following set of Bamboo Tasks:

Screenshot of a Bamboo Task List

This can be rewritten as a single script and then committed to your repository. The Buildkite agent takes care of checking out the repository for you before each step, so the script would be as follows:


# These commands are run within the context of your repository
echo "--- Running specs"
rake specs

echo "--- Running cucumber tests"
rake cucumber

If you'd like to learn more about how to write build scripts, read the Writing build scripts guide.

To trigger builds in other pipelines, you can use trigger steps. This way, you can create dependent pipelines. See the trigger steps docs for more information.

Remote and Elastic agents

The Buildkite agent replaces your Bamboo Remote Agents. You can install the Buildkite agent onto any server to run your builds.

In Bamboo, you can target specific agents for your jobs using their Capabilities, and in Buildkite you target them using meta-data.

Like Elastic Bamboo, Buildkite can also manage a fleet of agents for you on AWS using the Buildkite AWS Stack. Buildkite doesn't limit the number of agents you can run at any one time, so by using the Buildkite AWS Stack, you can auto-scale your build infrastructure, going from 0 to 1000s of agents within moments.

Authentication and permissions

Buildkite supports SSO with a variety of different providers, as well as custom SAML setups. See the SSO support guide for detailed information.

For larger teams, it can be useful to control what users have access to which pipelines. Organization admins can enable Teams in the Buildkite Organization Settings.