Writing about software tools is always a dangerous game. By the time you have researched, written, proofed, and published your work, it is inevitably out of date. Write about DevOps software tools that are helping companies accelerate their worlds, and it becomes doubly fraught. Add in the reality that any DevOps tool list of ‘best’ tools reflects the writer’s backgrounds and preferences as much as the tools themselves, and you wonder if it’s worth it.
While we do set out to list our pick of some of the ‘best’ for our DevOps tools list, for those looking to make and refine their DevOps journey, perhaps what we really aim for is something that illustrates the best kind of tools available, because for every tool talked about there is another, competing product, that will suit some people better. Writing this, we cannot know your exact situation, so we have tried to produce something that sets out the breadth and variety of the landscape rather than offers you a detailed route through that landscape. What we will do is list five tools that unquestionably support DevOps and make life easier for the many companies that use them.
Git is one of the most used tools in the software development arena – and offers the version control – tracking changes and coordinating work – essential for successful DevOps. Add in that is open source and free to use, and you can see why it is popular. Ideal for the multiple merging and branching and non-linear development expected within DevOps software development. It is known for its speed and scalability – supporting large, medium, and small projects with equal ease.
Possibly the best-known example of software configuration management tool in the DevOps tools world. The puppet tool supports fast and secure deployment, configuring hosts across the infrastructure, and can scale technology dynamically to suit changing needs. Of course, it integrates well with other tools. Critically though, Puppet automates to deliver consistency and security without reliance on human frailties and crisis management. And the software configuration management tool delivers the knowledge and information about the infrastructure needed to support vital business decisions.
For many companies, Docker has become synonymous with containers – packages of software, isolated from each other, delivering specific outputs, transferrable across applications, systems, and even platforms. Docker gives DevOps teams flexible, portable, and efficient tools to help them build, support, change, and replicate applications. It’s standing in the market means it is supported by just about every major platform and Operating system.
Another well-established long-standing part of the DevOps landscape. Jenkins automates the Continual Integration, Continual Delivery, and Continual Deployment at the heart of DevOps software creation and maintenance. It supports all combinations of source code repository and operating system, and hundreds of plug-ins to facilitate integration with other DevOps software.
As well as building applications, DevOps teams need to monitor what is happening and deal with the inevitable incidents, issues, and errors, so a monitoring, crash-reporting, and prioritization piece of software is essential. Raygun delivers that, supplying actionable data to aid decision making via customizable dashboards and automatic issue detection that offers insight into performance bottlenecks.
These five tools are all well-proven in the world of DevOps tools, and they show the breadth required form DevOps software. We could list more, cover a broader landscape, and more detail – but this is meant to give a picture. All these tools fit into the traditional DevOps philosophy of building the DevOps toolchain of most appropriate products and making them work together. Choose your ‘best of breed’ from different suppliers and rely on communication and interoperability to build the toolset.
The Operations world – IT Service Management – traditionally opted for an integrated tool from a single supplier – Started by Axios in the 1990s through to the broadest possible breadth shown in 20teens by ServiceNow. This option is now being seen in the DevOps world; we’ll illustrate that by looking briefly at Microsoft’s Azure DevOps software – as the sixth of our five best DevOps tools (consider it a free bonus).
Azure DevOps is a Software as a Service (SaaS) product that sets out to provide an end-to-end DevOps toolchain covering the development and deployment of software. It performs across the full range of platforms – Mac, Linux, etc. not just Microsoft’s own Windows platform and is described as ‘cloud-agnostic,’ performing the major cloud providers such as AWS.
Applying the integrated approach to the DevOps software requirement, azure offers:
- Boards to deliver agile planning, item tracking, visualization and reporting.
- Pipelines to support Continual Integration through to Continual Deployment and container support.
- Repos, cloud-hosted got repository.
- Artifacts for integrated package management.
- Test Plans to support the necessary testing requirements.
Although clearly aimed at the single integrated approach, – and use it for everything is one answer to how to use Azure DevOps. But Azure is also meant to integrate with the other best-of-breed products on our list – and many, many more as well. It isn’t just a big-bang, change everything product, but is meant to also fit into the existing DevOps toolchains of customers.
So, there you have it – six of the best 5 DevOps tools and a look at two different approaches – neither of which has to be exclusive. Remember that the DevOps software world is constantly changing – with innovations and improvement all the time. That rate of change will only accelerate. As with any advice on acquisition and use of tools – first make sure you know what you need the tools for, then see what is possible right now and likely to be possible very soon. Make your decision based on your needs and constraints – not just on what others have done. Although learning from others is a big help.
Best DevOps Tools
Five tools that unquestionably support DevOps and make life easier for the many companies that use them. 1. Git 2. Puppet 3. Docker 4. Jenkins 5. Raygun 6. Azure (this is a bonus).