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DevOps Tools — Choices Galore!

Would you be surprised if I tell you that most people are lost when it comes to choosing DevOps tools ?

A customer of mine once asked me as to what tools do you recommend for DevOps and I couldn’t just name one ! I ranted out a few names like Jenkins, Chef, Puppet, Nagios, CloudFoundry, Ansible, SonarQube and more !

Contrary to what some vendors might tell you, there’s no single, one-size-fits-all DevOps tool. The fact is, there’s no single DevOps solution that caters to every organization’s unique needs. If you adopt specific technologies and tools simply because others have done so, it could end up doing more harm than good.

Rather, the most effective results come from standardizing on a toolchain that maps directly to best practices such as version control, peer review and continuous delivery — all built on a foundation of IaaS.

My recommendation would be to adopt and standardize on tools that are suitable for your organization and take into consideration how each tool you select fits in with the rest of the toolchain. It’s also wise, of course, to make sure someone owns the issue of overall tool compatibility — and is empowered to drive decisions.

The tool chain philosophy advocates that a set of complimentary task specific tools are used in combinations to automate an end-to-end process for continuous operations.

DevOps Tools can be broadly broken down into:

  1. Collaboration, Issue Tracking & Planning tools : Working together, teams can plan towards common goals, and better understanding of dependencies — Asana, Jira, Collabnet,campfire

  2. Source Control tools : The building blocks for the entire process ranging across all key assets. Whether code, configuration, documentation, database, compiled resources and your web site html — you can only gain by managing them in your one true source of truth — Git, Subversion, Github, TFS

  3. Continuous Integration tools: Immediate feedback loop by merging code regularly. Teams merge developed code many times a day, getting feedback from automated test tools- Jenkins, CircleCI, Bamboo

  4. Deployment Tools: In an effective DevOps environment, application deployments are frequent, predictable, and reliable. Continuous delivery means that applications can be released to production at any time you want in order to improve time to market, while keeping risk as low as possible — CA Release Labs, XebiaLabs

  5. Configuration Management tools: Enforcing desired state and consistency at scale. Infrastructure should be treated exactly as code that can be provisioned and configured in a repeatable way. Avoiding configuration drift across environments will save valuable time and difficulties caused by the application working in one environment and not another – Puppet, Chef, Ansible, RunDeck, Salt, Docker, OpsWorks

  6. Automated Test Tools: Verify code quality before passing the build. The quicker the feedback loop works , the higher the quality gets- SonarQube, QTP, Testcomplete

  7. Binary Repositories: It’s a single gateway through which you access external artifacts, and store your own build artifacts. By centralizing the management of all binary artifacts, it overcomes the complexity arising from the diversity of binary types, their position in the workflow and the dependencies between them and helps in easy rebuild of environments — Nexus, Artifactory

  8. Monitoring Tools: Tools providing crucial information that will help you ensure service uptime and optimal performance — NewRelic, Nagios, Appdynamics, Splunk

Even Dilbert thinks DevOps is Easy!

Companies planning their DevOps and CI/CD processes have to deal with both cultural and technological challenges. Changing processes and individual responsibilities, while making sure everything flows as smoothly as possible (both on personal communication level, and on technological/efficiency level) can be quite a challenge.

Building a robust process must be thought out correctly and at the same time needs to be very efficient, quick and accurately repeatable. This is exactly the reason why we always use tools — and the reason for the “DevOps Toolchain”.

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