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The Best DevOps Tools

January 27, 2021

By Simpliaxis

DevOps is a set of tools, practices, and principles evolved from Agile methodologies that combine the work done by an organization’s Development and Operations teams. The term “toolchain” is used for a set of digital tools to meet a defined objective. Therefore, a “DevOps toolchain” will consist of tools that bring about the most productive results for an enterprise that has adopted DevOps practices.  The result will be high-quality, error-free products that meet all customer specifications and perhaps more.

Before one can think about the trending DevOps tools, it’s important to understand what they can deliver.
 

What do the top DevOps tools achieve?
 

  • Quicker innovation

    DevOps toolchains are designed to help businesses spark innovations and keep competitors on edge. Software deployment is standardized into a pipeline with control, testing, and diagnosis being done quickly. Newer and better products can reach the markets in the minimum time possible.

     
  • Better response to incidents

    Incident management can be an area of enormous concern for even a very well-established team. Although incidents (like wrong configuration, data corruption, or server crashing) are common and even expected in large projects, they can harm business productivity and customer satisfaction. DevOps tools can help the process of incident control with tools designed to simplify the process.
     
  • Quality Control

    DevOps tools can resolve defects in software swiftly and correctly. Any major issues detected trigger automated notifications to all team members who can collaboratively resolve the problem. 

     

Choosing the right DevOps tools
 

DevOps toolchains can be provided as a packaged, all-in-one set by some providers. These are very good for enterprises that are new to DevOps or have time-constraints with ongoing projects. They are easily standardized and can be managed with a lower budget. These all-in-one solutions have a big drawback; they may not be easy to integrate into existing legacy tools that the workforce is comfortable with. Moreover, investing in such a toolchain could lead to some loss of efficiency. It is impossible for one predefined set of tools to cater to an ever-evolving market’s needs successfully.

Hence, it is obvious that business enterprises that already have tools in place that can be used in a DevOps toolchain should utilize these as a take-off platform to begin their DevOps toolchain implementation. It is a feasible solution so long as the existing tools can be integrated with other tools to form a toolchain. Choosing the other components of the toolchain is a decision that should include all the collaborators, including software developers, security experts, the IT team, and the management. It is vital to consider the full picture from all angles, not just from the cost-benefit perspective.  Even after the tools are selected, it’s important to review and improve their utility in the DevOps process.
 

Let us now discuss the latest DevOps tools that are available.
 

Best DevOps tools
 

DevOps tools take care of several processes that are a part of the software development life cycle:
 

The basis of DevOps is Agile management. Hence, to begin building a toolchain, the organization should have an Agile management tool in place. If there isn’t one, that is the starting point.
 

One can use tools like Jira or Zephyr for this.
 

Tools for Continuous Integration
 

These are software development tools that enable the developers to merge their code changes and run automated builds and tests.
 

People interested in writing code and have an interest in DevOps need to include Git on their list of DevOps tools to learn.
 

  • Git

    It is a software that runs on the developer’s computer and tracks changes made to their files. It increases collaboration on projects with multiple teams. When developers work on the same file, Git automatically merges the changes made. There is no risk of losing changes made to files because someone else was working on it simultaneously, and developers can work without waiting for someone else to finish first. Additionally, Git allows developers to view and review each other’s work.

     
  • Jenkins

    Jenkins is an open-source application that is free and entirely written in Java. It is widely used worldwide and gives a fast and robust way to integrate the entire chain of build, test, and deployment tools. Jenkins has excellent plugins to monitor repeated tasks and alerts the team about glitches early on in the project development stage. It provides a controlled and stable environment for development.

     

Tools for Testing
 

Automated testing is a basic DevOps principle. All testing in DevOps should be automated unless certain tests are impossible to automate. While choosing an automated testing tool, one should factor in working with other tools in the toolchain and the development language. Here are two of the most recommended tools to do this:
 

  • Selenium

    A free, open-source web-based automation testing framework, Selenium has unlimited test automation capabilities. It helps bypass monotonous tasks and reduces expenses and time spent on manual testing.  Selenium gives clear results, faster feedback, and ensures that tests are run continuously in the development cycle. It helps testers and developers make modifications and can be used for functional testing and browser compatibility testing. 

     
  • Query Surge

    Query Surge is a smart data testing solution that automates the validation and testing of large amounts of critical data in the DevOps pipeline. It also validates the complex rules of transformation that exist between multiple sources and target systems. By using API calls, it helps testers to execute and update tests and data stores. Query surge improves data quality by checking for inconsistencies and deviations. It also determines whether reliability and performance measures are being met. 

     

Tools for Deployment and Delivery
 

This DevOps process needs tools to deploy code to the application environments and deliver it to the target environments or production. While it is environment-specific, the most popular way of doing it is through containerization. The two best DevOps tools to help in the deployment process are:
 

  • Docker

    Docker is a platform designed to simplify creating, deploying, packaging, and rapidly shipping out applications along with its libraries and other dependencies. It allows several containers to run on the same hardware and provides high productivity. It helps to maintain isolated applications and facilitate seamless configuration. Docker’s big advantage is that it guarantees that it will work in the production environment if a feature is fully-functional in the fast-developing environment. Docker is a must-have in the DevOps toolchain with its ease of usage, security features, and scalability factors.

     
  • Kubernetes

    Kubernetes is an essential tool for DevOps teams that want to minimize the burden of increased infrastructure while building scalability and resilience into their applications. Developers can focus their energies on innovation while Kubernetes handles the dynamics of increased requests on the applications and services during peak times. It uses different deployment strategies that reduce the impact on existing users while allowing developers to test in production.

     

Tools for Configuration Management
 

There are multiple environments for different purposes in the software development life cycle. These could be for unit testing, integration testing, system testing, and more. They become increasingly complex as the development stages move towards the production environments. Configuration management is a process that ensures optimum configuration of the different environments. The tools that are most popular and highly recommended are Chef and Puppet:
 

  • Chef

    The Chef is a configuration management tool that deals with machine setups. These can be virtual or physical servers or in the cloud.  The Chef resolves configuration management by treating infrastructure as a code. Rather than making manual changes, machine setups are described in a Chef recipe, and a collection is stored in a cookbook. Each cookbook has a single task but with several server configurations. When a client node is added, a recipe is sent to tell the node how to configure itself. When patches or updates are required throughout infrastructure, it is done by changing a recipe rather than by dealing with individual machines.

     
  • Puppet

    Puppet is a great DevOps tool that can manage multiple servers. Puppet works by keeping the process of configuration management independent of the operating system that it works on. High-level concepts like user application and service can be translated seamlessly into the operating system and software setups.Like Chef, Puppet treats everything as data, including information about a system’s current state and the desired end state. Each Puppet-managed server receives a list of resources and relationships and compares it with the desired system state. It then automatically makes the changes to bring the system into compliance with the required end state.

     

Tools for Monitoring
 

DevOps monitoring tools oversee the entire gamut of processes, whether it is planning and development, integration and testing, deployment, and operations. It allows teams to respond quickly and automatically to any problems that customers may face. There are several open-source and commercial monitoring tools; two of them are described below.
 

  • Grafana

    Grafana is an open-source application for running data analytics and creating metrics that make sense of large amounts of data. It uses customizable dashboards to monitor applications that are in the DevOps pipeline. It helps to track user and application behaviors and the frequency and types of error that may come up in the production or pre-production environment. With the help of the metrics provided by Grafana, one can easily query, set up alerts, and fully understand what’s happening in the system.

     
  • Nagios

    Nagios is a powerful monitoring system that continuously keeps track of records in the DevOps processes, identifies and resolves critical infrastructure issues. It audits the networks, systems, services, and business applications to see if they are working as expected. With Nagios, the entire data center and numerous parameters can be viewed from a single server. It reviews whether switches are working and whether there is adequate load balancing on servers. It can also solve server performance problems and take care of infrastructure updates.Listed above are some of the best tools that can be used to build a DevOps toolchain. But it’s important to realize that what works for one enterprise may not entirely for another.

 

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