Top DevOps Tools for Automation Infrastructure
DevOps is a set of software development practices adopted by organisations to achieve better connectivity between development and operations team. This is done to ensure that software development life cycle is shortened, fixes are applied quickly, time to market is reduced and overall quality of the product is enhanced. DevOps also ensures smooth and easy maintenance and support.
Organisations are embracing DevOps practices to improve communication and collaboration between software development and operations teams, the two pillars on which the complete software development life cycle rests.
DevOps is not a tool or set of tools to perform a task. However, it still needs some tools to implement the DevOps practices. Set of tools used to implement DevOps practices is called a toolchain. Each organisation for DevOps consultant can have a different set of toolchains. In this post, we will look at some of the most popular DevOps tools that usually make up this toolchain.
But before we get on to discussing the most suitable DevOps Tools for each situation, we must know the different stages in DevOps process.
DevOps advocates breaking down of the whole project into small deliverables. as each deliverable reaches the client, the feedback received is immediately plugged back into the development process. This ensures that the product is continuously improved rather than waiting for the feedback after delivery. Some of the tools for code stage are Git, Jira, Confluence etc.
The process of building the software from the provided code is fully automated in DevOps. The practice of continuous building through rapid iterations helps in rolling out better and high-quality products that are already bug-free. Some of the tools for building stage are Maven and SBT etc.
Each module that is built must be tested. DevOps practices Continuous Testing that is fully automated. As each iteration is rapidly built after customer feedback, it is tested and delivered to the client. Some of the tools for testing stage are Selenium and JUnit etc.
The final product that must be handed over or released never the software alone. It is bundled with other metadata like documentation, user guides, release notes, etc. DevOps ensures that the packaging at the production stage is done exactly as the development envisioned it. Some of the tools for releasing stage are Docker and AWS etc.
DevOps takes complete ownership of release management. It fully automates the process so that there is never a conflict in the outcome despite different versions running and different environments. Some of the tools for releasing stage are Jenkins and Codeship etc.
DevOps treats Infrastructure as Code. All the DevOps practices like version control, automation, testing, etc. that are applied to coding are applied to the infrastructure as well. This means that code must be written and executed to achieve the desired state for each infrastructure. This enables close collaboration between development and operations team on the state of infrastructure. The infrastructure version information is also always up to date. Some of the tools for configuring stage are Puppet, Kubernetes and Chef etc.
As Applications Performance Monitoring becomes part of DevOps pipeline, the ownership of performance monitoring lies with the development team as well. This shortens the life cycle of fixes required to maintain desirable performance. Some of the tools for monitoring stage are Nagios, Splunk, DataDog etc.
As discussed, although DevOps is not a tool in itself, its practitioners need tools to implement the concepts. Here are top 9 open source DevOps tools that are most popular for implementing DevOps:
Build. Deploy. Automate.
Jenkins is a continuous integration server software deployed on the central server where software building takes place. It is written in Java and highly customisable for project of any size and complexity. There are plenty of plugins and add-ons available for it.
Some of its features are:
• Easiest tool to start with DevOps
• Create a script to integrate multiple workflows into one pipeline
• Use any of the 1000+ plugins for your most unique needs
• Has multiple interfaces in form of web-based GUI, CLI and Rest API
Companies using Jenkins – LinkedIn, Capgemini, Angular JS, Luxoft
Automate Web Applications.
Selenium is used to automate web-based applications. This capability can be used to automate testing as well as administrative tasks of web-based applications. In DevOps environment it is most popular as testing automation tool.
Here are some of its features:
• Create robust, browser-based regression automation suites and tests
• Develop scalable scripts
• Use same script in multiple environment
Companies using Selenium – Google, IBM, Cognizant, Salesforce
Continuous Integration. Continuous Deployment.
Docker uses containers to support continuous integration and continuous deployment across multiple infrastructure easily. Packaging of the final product also gets simplified due to use of containers.
Some of its most prominent features are:
• Runs on both Windows and Linux
• Deploys on any application stack
• Deploys up to 20,000 containers and supports 2000 concurrent jobs for Splunk
• Provides end-to-end security
Companies using Docker – PayPal, VISA, MetLife, Indiana University
Better software. Faster delivery. Infrastructure as Code.
Puppet has been designed to inspect, manage and maintain infrastructure rapidly; it deploys the changes within a matter of hours. Independent of the platform used, Puppet is most popularly used as configuration management tool through the software development lifecycle.
Some of the features of Puppet include:
• Full infrastructure automation
• Real-time context reporting
• Continuous conflict detection and solution
• Rapid deployment
Companies using Puppet – Google, AWS, Microsoft, Accenture
Consistent Configuration. Infrastructure as Code.
Chef suite of tools is a configuration management tool that brings scalability and stability to your infrastructure. It is completely cloud based and best suited to create robust environments for software development.
Some of its features are:
• Makes configurations automated and testable
• Ensures consistent configuration across all environments
• Customize code according to your unique requirement
• Easy migration
• Supports multiple platforms like FreeBSD and AIX
Companies using Chef – Azure, Facebook, Google Cloud, HP
Kill Repetition. Kill Complexity.
Ansible helps integrate and automate development, testing, deployment and performance management. It has many modules to support variety of applications. Its beauty lies in its ability to avoid complexity at all stages.
Some of its most important features are:
• Push configuration enabled
• Agentless configuration
• Makes deployment simple and easy to manage
• Speeds up development process
• Manages complex deployments
Companies using Ansible – NASA, Capital One, VIASAT
Monitor your systems.
Nagios is the watchdog for your entire system and infrastructure. It monitors your network, database, application, logs and even protocols. This helps organizations detect infrastructure related issues before they pose risk.
Here are some prominent features of Nagios:
• Monitors, detects and analyse mission-critical network infrastructure
• Manages, analyzes and archives log data across infrastructure
• Monitors network traffic and available bandwidth to optimize utilization
• Enables easy log searching
• Fixes majority of problems automatically
• Creates infrastructure upgrade and maintenance schedules
Companies using Nagios – Cisco, Airbnb, DHL, Philips
8) Elk stack
System Logs. Store. Ship. Visualize.
Three open source tools – Elasticsearch, Logstash and Kibana – make up the Elk stack. Elk stack is used to extract data from any source and analyse it irrespective of its format. To facilitate this, ELK provides centralized logging, which comes handy when identifying problems occurring in multiple servers.
Here are some of the important features of the Elk stack:
• Lightweight tool that is easy to deploy
• Supports all formats of data collection
• Logs can be searched in real time
Companies using Elk Stack – Netflix, Engadget, Softbank, stack overflow
Download Elk Stack
Splunk enables comparison of logs generated from multiple sources like apps, website and devices that are part of the complete IT infrastructure to identify problems. Get started with IoT integration seamlessly. It collects data and analyses them to give insights helpful in taking strategic business decisions.
Some of its prominent features include:
• Store, search and analyse data generated
• Provide business analytics
• Accept data in multiple formats
• Monitor logs to predict impending issues
Companies using Splunk – Nasdaq, Comcast, Symantec, Domino’s
With multiple DevOps tools available for each stage of DevOps, it is essential to adopt a set of integrated tools that manage every stage of the project, from requirements to development to delivery to maintenance. The choice of DevOps tools will of course depend upon the environment and teams involved. But as can be seen here, we are spoilt for choice when it comes to available tools. Any combination of these tools will generate an excellent toolchain for DevOps implementation.