Free Devops Tools for Salesforce in Q4 2021
Who doesn’t love free software or services? To get some of that love and to distinguish themselves from the pack, some Salesforce devops vendors offer free-forever, free trial, and demo versions of their products. To help architects looking to evaluate different Salesforce devops products I undertook a market research project on “free.” Now, I am sharing the results of a survey I did on free devops tools listed in the SalesforceDevops.net product directory.
What is Free?
The word “free” has many subtle meanings, especially when used in a sales process. To get started in my research I tried to categorize the different flavors of “free” available from Salesforce Devops vendors.
- Free Open-Source – This when a software publisher or sponsor distributes a product to the public for no charge. This is done according to the provisions of a copyright and license. Many cloud native products like Jenkins and Kubernetes are free open-source software.
- Freemium – Service providers may have a “free tier” that offers a version of their service that is limited in some way. Freemium, or Free-Forever, plans are usually limited by the number of users, connections, storage, CPU minutes, or some other usage metric.
- Free Trial – This is where you get to sign up for a new service online and then try out the full version of the product for a set period. When the trial period is up, you need to purchase the service to continue using it.
- Sales Demo – Most vendors give free access to their product as a part of an enterprise sales process. In this case, the vendor allows the potential customer to trial and test the product freely. The terms and duration of the demo is managed by the vendor’s sales process.
Salesforce Free Model
When vendors think about making a “free” version of their product, it makes sense to look at how Salesforce does it. Salesforce has a long history of supporting free developer and trial access to most of its clouds. Independent software vendors in the ecosystem should look at Salesforce’s very successful free offerings and consider emulating these programs.
- Free Developer Orgs – This is the ultimate freemium product, in my humble opinion. You get two free user accounts with access to every feature in Sales and Service clouds. This powerful offering gives random developers access to the Salesforce platform. Plus, free developer orgs give the community an unlimited resource for education and training.
- Free Trial Orgs – Salesforce partners and prospects may easily create new free-trial orgs, allowing prospects to perform pre-purchase evaluations.
- Free Open-Source Sponsor – Salesforce gives away free code via several GitHub organizations and repositories. This includes VS Code Extension, SFDX-CLI, and other projects. Some efforts, such as the Lightning Design System, extend beyond the Salesforce ecosystem.
Certainly, to emulate these marketing programs is easier said than done. Startups should be concerned about overreaching in their free software dreams. Without proper financing and planning, the customer care burden from free trial customers can be overwhelming.
Free Devops Tools Research Method and Results
For this project I used the SalesforceDevops.net Product Directory to check for free versions available for each product. I researched each product asking these yes/no questions:
- Does this product offer free usage forever without any charges? If yes, then that product is tagged “Freemium.”
- Does the company offer a free trial where the user can sign up for themselves? If yes, then that product is tagged “Free Trial.”
I found that almost all companies have what I call a “Sales Demo,” where access to a company’s product can be arranged. If a product or service only has a sales demo capability then it does not meet my test for a “Free Trial” tag.
Free & Freemium Salesforce Devops Products & Services
In the category of free open-source Salesforce devops tools, the two most powerful collections are the [email protected] project sponsored by Accenture and the CumulusCI project sponsored by Salesforce.org. These two Salesforce-specific projects represent the only collections of freely available software that approaches a complete devops toolkit.
Other notables in the free software category are open-source favorites like Jenkins, SFDX-CLI, VS Code Extensions. Also included in freemium are online services with free tiers, like Azure DevOps and GitHub Actions. These tools build a Salesforce devops pipeline with more granularity and flexibility, as is done in cloud native devops.
Several Salesforce-specific freemium products stand out from the crowd. Copado Essentials is a limited version of the devops platform product that has a free tier. Next, Metazoa offers several parts of its administration suite as free AppExchange extensions. Newcomer Salto has a 3-user-team freemium plan. Finally, Elements.Cloud has a free-forever tier for connecting its analysis tools to a single developer org.
|Company Name||Product Name||Notes|
|Accenture||Accenture [email protected] Solution||Free Open-Source Software|
|Atlassian||Jira Software||Free Tier|
|Callaway Cloud Consulting||VS Code Apex PMD||Free Open-Source Software|
|Continuous Delivery Foundation||Jenkins||Free Open-Source Software|
|Elements.cloud||Elements.cloud||Free Tier with one Developer Org|
|Infosys||Infosys Code Coverage Manager|
|Infosys||Infosys Data Masking|
|Jitterbit||Jitterbit Data Loader|
|Metazoa||Metazoa Data Dictionary Report|
|Metazoa||Metazoa Field and Picklist Usage|
|Metazoa||Metazoa Impact Analysis Report|
|Metazoa||Metazoa Profiles & Permission Sets|
|Microsoft||Azure DevOps||Enterprise License, Azure Free Tier|
|Microsoft||GitHub Actions||Free Tier with standard GitHub account|
|PMD Project||Apex PMD||Free Open-Source Software|
|Salesforce||Deployment Manager for Marketing Cloud|
|Salesforce||Salesforce CLI (SFDX-CLI)||Free Open-Source Software|
|Salesforce||Salesforce Extensions for Visual Studio Code||Free Open-Source Software|
|Salesforce||Salesforce Lightning Inspector||Free Open-Source Software|
|Salesforce.org||CumulusCI||Free Open-Source Software|
|Salto||Salto||Free Forever for 3 Team Members|
Free Trial Salesforce Devops Products and Services
Gearset and Blue Canvas are the only Top 5 Salesforce devops vendors who offers a free trials of their full product. And Gearset lets prospective customers signup and test the product without a sales interaction.
Copado does offer a 30-day free trial buried in its Customer Success site. But Copado’s 30-day free trial is primarily part of a training and certification service. It is not connected to any sales or marketing program, and there is no way to access it from the product pages.
In the area of 2nd generation testing, testRigor is the only service available with a self-service free trial. Also, two security products, DigitSec S4 and Codescan by AutoRABIT, notably offer free trials that produce security scans of an org. This is significant free offering that helps platform owners evaluate how they are managing software supply chain risk. Panaya ForeSight is another tool recently highlighted here as a pioneer in Change Intelligence.
|Company Name||Product Name||Notes|
|Atlassian||Bamboo||30 Day Free Trial w/ Self-Service|
|AutoRABIT||Codescan By Autorabit||30 Day Free Trial w/ Self-Service|
|Blue Canvas||Blue Canvas||14 Day Free Trial w/ Self-Service|
|Datadog||Datadog Salesforce Integration||14 Day Free Trial w/ Self-Service|
|DigitSec||DigitSec S4||14 Day Free Trial w/ Self-Service|
|Elements.cloud||Elements.cloud||14 Day Free Trial w/ Self-Service|
|Gearset||Gearset||30 Day Free Trial w/ Self-Service|
|GitHub||GitHub Enterprise||14 Day Free Trial w/ Self-Service|
|Golden Ratio Systems LLC||Pharos||14 Day Free Trial via AppExchange|
|JetForcer||JetForcer||30 Day Free Trial w/ Self-Service|
|OwnBackup||OwnBackup Backup and Recovery||30 Day Free Trial w/ Self-Service|
|Panaya||Panaya ForeSight||30 Day Free Trial w/ Self-Service|
|Rose Silver Software LLC||Illuminated Cloud||30 Day Free Trial w/ Self-Service|
|testRigor||testRigor||14 Day Free Trial w/ Self-Service|
Free Devops Tools for Salesforce Summary
The SalesforceDevops.net Product Directory currently has 64 entries. Out of all those products, 13 (20%) offer a Free Trial and 24 (38%) are freely available or have a free tier of service.
Based on this survey, over one-half of the Salesforce devops products and services have some form of a free plan. This represents a tremendous resource for architects faced with key decisions. It also gives Salesforce-curious developers better access to the ecosystem. Now, to compete in the software world vendors must exploit the “free” channel more than ever.