The Best DevOps Automation Tools – The Ultimate List

What is DevOps? 

Rooted in Agile methodologies, DevOps is an approach that integrates software development and IT operations teams to create a workflow that improves collaboration and productivity. While there are many different definitions of DevOps, a general agreement is reached around the presence of automation and continuity in DevOps. There are many DevOps tools available that will support team members to ensure automation and continuity are approached and implemented as efficiently as possible. 

Because there’s quite the range to choose from, we’ve compiled the ultimate list of the most popular and required DevOps automation tools, and Devops tools in general. Consider this the ultimate list of Devops tools.

What is a DevOps Tool? 

DevOps Tools are applications that help automate software development processes while simultaneously targeting lifecycle, deployment and monitoring systems and more.

Why Use DevOps Tools?

The DevOps model relies on effective tools to help teams quickly and reliably deploy and innovate for their customers. These tools automate tedious and manual tasks, help manage complex environments at scale, and keep engineers in control of DevOps high velocity.

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DevOps Automation Tools: 

Docker

Docker a Linux-based open-source platform. Docker is a suite of DevOps tools that creates containerized environments for apps, making them more portable, secure, and reducing conflicts while testing. Docker enables DevOps to build and run applications quickly and efficiently. Apps within Docker are OS- and platform-independent. Through the Docker Engine, the containers can be accessed and then execute applications within a remote environment. Organizations looking to reduce infrastructure costs look to Docker.

Kubernetes

K8s is a container orchestration platform, and it’s widely popular amongst DevOps teams. It manages containers at a large scale, and works well with Docker. Kubernetes automates the management of hundreds of containers, and can be used to deploy containerized apps to a cluster rather than individual machines by automating the distribution and scheduling across a cluster.

Raygun

Raygun is an APM (application performance monitoring) tool, and it’s top of the class, providing excellent monitoring and crash reporting. Raygun helps DevOps to identify performance issues by linking back to the problematic line of the function, API call, or source code.

Splunk

Splunk allows you to search, analyze, and visualize machine-generated data or logs in real time, and to analyze the machine state and identify hardware failure points. By pushing the machine data to Splunk, the tool processes all available data for you, then extracts relevant data, helping you identify specific causes and locations of problems.

Git

Git is one of the most widely used DevOps tools in the software industry world, including  by global giants such as Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoftand is particularly popular amongst remote teams and contributors. Through its distributed SCM (source code management) model, developers can track the progress of dev work and maintain different versions of the source code. It uses host repositories, such as Github, where contributors push their work.

Ansible

Ansible is an agentless configuration management tool that is easy to deploy and offers continuous delivery. It automates many repetitive tasks, such as cloud provisioning, application deployment, and intra-service orchestration. Use Ansible to connect nodes and push modules to them from a centralized place. It will then execute the modules and automatically remove them when the action is complete.

Jenkins

Jenkins is an open-source continuous integration server automates the build cycle of a software project, and is highly customizable. It allows developers to automatically commit code to the repository, run test cases, and fetch reports through its pipeline feature. It will also provide instant feedback and issue warnings if a sprint is pointing to a broken build. Virtually every one of your Devops tools can be integrated with Jenkins through its ecosystem of more than one thousand plugins, and all tasks within the software development lifecycle can be also automated.

Bamboo

Bamboo is a CI offering created by Atlassian – makers of Confluence and Jira. Bamboo touts “integrations that matter” and has a Small Teams package whose proceeds are donated to charity. Similar to Jenkins, Bamboo has prebuilt functionalities, meaning you’ll need to manage fewer plugins. The interface is highly-intuitive, and saves a lot of time compared to its open source counterparts.

BitBucket

BitBucket is another repository similar to GitHub. BitBucket comes at a lower cost and offers developers an opportunity to collaborate throughout the development lifecycle. BitBucket integrates with project management tools such as Trello and Jira, and has inbuilt CI/CD functionality.

GitHub

Since 2000, GitHub has been one of the top DevOps tools for collaboration amongst developers. Not only can developers make rapid iterations to existing code (with notifications sent instantaneously to team members), but immediate rollbacks can be made in the case of any error or fallout encountered.

DevOps Development Tools

ElectricFlow is a tool used to automate releases, and offers a free community version that can be run on VirtualBox.

Microsoft Visual Studio allows users to define release definitions, track releases, run automation, and more.

Octopus Deploy automates the deployment of .NET applications and can be installed on a server, or an Azure host instance.

IBM UrbanCode – Part of the IBM suite of products since 2013, UrbanCode automates deployment to both cloud and on-premise environments.

AWS CodeDeploy is Amazon’s automated deployment tool, with an impressive platform and language agnosticism.

DeployBot allows for automatic or manual deployments across multiple environments, when you connect it to your Git repository. You can even deploy via Slack, or via many other integration options.

Shippable has a CI platform that runs builds on minions – Docker-based containers.

TeamCity is a CI server with smart config features, and official Docker images for agents and servers.

Codar – HP’s continuous deployment solution which uses Jenkins to trigger deployments.

CircleCI is a CI solution, with emphasis on reliability, flexibility, and speed. Source to build to deploy solutions, with support for a range of applications and languages.

Gradle – Some of the biggest names in the tech industry use build tool Gradle – Netflix, Adobe, and LinkedIn, for example. This is a general purpose build tool similar to Apache’s Ant.

Automic applies DevOps principles to backend apps, so they can benefit from the practices many frontend web-based apps do.

Distelli is a specialist in deploying Kubernetes clusters, and can be used with any physical or cloud-based server.

XL Deploy is a release automation tool supporting a variety of environments and plugins, using agentless architecture.

Codeship – A hosted CI solution. Codeship supports customization with native Docker support.

GoCD is an open-source CD server focusing on visualizing workflows.

Capistrano – An open-source deployment tool, Capistrano is scriptable and is a self-described “sane, expressive API”.

Travis CI – A free tool for open-source projects, you can sync Travis CI to your GitHub account and use it to automate testing and deployment.

BuildBot – Self-described as a “framework with batteries included”, BuildBot is an open-source Python-based CI framework that is highly flexible.

Slack is widely used by most organizations as a communication tool that can be used for Developers to collaborate. Essentially, Slack improves efficiency by removing communication barriers. 

What is CI/CD and How Does it Work?

CI/CD pipelines is a method to automate your software delivery process to customers frequently. CI builds codes and runs tests while CD safely deploys the new version of the application. Together they are responsible for continuous integration, continuous delivery, and continuous deployment.

Which DevOps Tools are Right for Me?

DevOps tools approach many practices in an effort to centralize or streamline workflows. Some core functionalities of DevOps include automated provisioning, testing, build, and deployment. Alongside these practices, comes a need to maintain continuous feedback, and dependable logging of virtually everything.

In a growing arena, it often feels like there are more options coming to market by the day, so how do you choose the DevOps tools that are right for you? Knowing which tools are right for you depends on what is right unique requirements, but here are some points every organization should consider when evaluating DevOps tools:

Automate where you can, as much as you can

The golden keys to DevOps are speed and accuracy, and both can be addressed by automation tools. Flexible, high-quality, and speedy DevOps relies upon automation – these cannot be achieved with manual processes.

Organizations that implement enterprise-class automation tools will find it easier to automate, secure, deploy, and improve by automating the entire DevOps tool kit, allowing for scaling workflows and continuously (and seamlessly) tweak processes with little effort.

Look toward integration

DevOps has created a demand within organizations for management toolset integration, yet not all integrations can be approached in the same way. Using different scripts to tie the toolset together can be difficult to scale – and that’s where application-agnostic automation tools step in. These DevOps tools serve as centralized consoles which manage an entire environment, and connect to any app which provides a web service or API.

Farewell to Silos

Small organizations can get by with small developer and operations teams to cover DevOps. This becomes problematic in large organizations, where a single team is broken into smaller working groups who often don’t share the same resources, tools, or processes. More challenging is when the shift to DevOps from a more traditional model is still fresh, and these development and operations teams may actually find that they’re working against one another, at the sacrifice of speed, agility, and flexibility.

While much of this can be solved through workplace cultural approaches such as frequent communication and sharing common objectives, DevOps tools are a crucial part of the equation. DevOps tools can aid in cross-functional planning, so consider the bigger picture when evaluating tools to address business needs in development or operations. Remember to consider DevOps a whole entity, rather than individual functional teams.

Don’t Forget the Cloud

Cloud computing and DevOps are a good match – it’s possible to use an on premises approach to DevOps, but the cloud brings more scalability and agility.

On premises architecture requires regular maintenance and upgrades, slowing down the DevOps team and requiring more IT support involvement. Cloud platforms generally update their technology continually (and without a burdensome intervention from DevOps) in order to support new tools and solutions.

A cloud-based approach means you can make use of fast self-service provisioning of cloud resources, and that developers can easily innovate and test code, and shut off resources when they are no longer needed.

Support and Enable Your Teams

Make sure the tools you invest in serve to support the needs of your development and operations teams, and enable them to make changes in workflows. The tools and processes you choose should have the end goal in mind: enabling DevOps.

Consider tools that give developers the ability to design workflows, or request to promote jobs to staging or production environments. For operations, give them tools that help to make their work scalable. DevOps automation solutions should make it easy to approach changes to common processes. To keep DevOps running smoothly, look to monitoring tools. 

Ultimately, there are a seemingly endless number of solutions available to support your DevOps team. To find tools and solutions that are best fit for the needs of your organization, listen to what development and operations have to say about workflows and requirements, and what would help them to be more agile, efficient, and error-free.

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