5 Essential Tools for DevOps Success


The purpose of DevOps is to bring development and operations engineers together. Doing so, more closely aligns product goals, which leads to alignment in achieving business objectives. Tools are intended to aid teams in their journey to align priorities by allowing teams to be more transparent and share a common automated process for delivery.  We would like to share our five tools that can aid teams on their DevOps journey.

Configuration Management Tool

There are numerous configuration management tools that automate the configuration of compute instances and applications. They help applications stay operationally sound, while allowing change to occur in an automated fashion. Organizations will chose different configuration management tools based on their specific requirements and preferences. The key is to pick one and standardize on it.

Developers will most often favor Chef, while system engineers will desire Puppet. Saltstack scales well and Ansible doesn’t require an agent. Any of these selections will get the job done. Choose a tool that meets the needs of the organization, and be creative in how it is utilized.

Centralized Logging Tool

Centralized logging is a must in any scalable environment, but it is vital to the health of a DevOps organization. Centralized logging allows developers and systems engineers to search logs and create a more transparent picture of what is causing problems in the application stack, or where performance tuning may make a difference.

The choice of a centralized logging tool will depend on the organization's requirements. Splunk has been the trailblazer in the logging space for many years, but falls short for many cloud centric organizations because of their lack of SaaS capabilities. SumoLogic has great analytic capabilities packaged in a SaaS offering. Loggly also starts with SaaS and offers the most intuitive web interface of the bunch.

Source Code Management Tool

Core to DevOps is automation. Developers have used Source Code Management (SCM) in some sort since the days of RCS. Using a SCM regularly may be new to some systems engineers, but all code must be checked into a SCM. Placing all automation, configuration, and application code into the same repository allows every component to run an application to reside in the same place. Ideally, all artifacts for running the application are in the same repository and versioned together as a single deployable artifact.

Much has changed since Concurrent Versions Systems (CVS) dominated the SCM landscape. The build tools are getting better and the SCM tools are evolving alongside them. Subversion (SVN) had its run and still gets the job done for many, but Git has emerged and gained an ecosystem of support tools. Git allows for commit triggers, which is used to trigger builds in Continuous Integration environments. In the SaaS market there are a number of options for Git repository owners. Github, with their iconic squid, is a good option, especially if you desire to share your code with the world. Bitbucket is a great option for enterprises looking to control user authentication through centralized user management and AWS now has an option in codeCommit.

Monitoring Tool

Transparency in what is occurring in the application is another key component to successful DevOps. Visibility into logs will only be a part of the equation. What is going on from the application perspective is what is most important. Monitoring tools that monitor network, database, and systems alone have a reduced value chain in a DevOps scenario. Monitoring tools that can correlate application performance to performance of the underlying systems is where value is driven today.

Application performance monitoring solutions have really taken off with organizational change to DevOps. Application Performance Management (APM) tools provide the application view of the world. If a database is not performing, the APM will show how that is affecting the application and speed time to recovery by reducing time to understanding. Two solutions have emerged as the go to products for APM: AppDynamics and New Relic.

Continuous Integration Tool

Build and deploy orchestration helps DevOps teams automate and create repeatable processes. Teams adopting the use of Continuous Integration (CI) tools find that they spend less time doing lower value tasks, freeing them up to focus on new feature creation and deeper automation in the deployment process.

There are a growing number of options for CI tools. Jenkins has a large community that contributes an extensive list of plugins. Travis CI has been coming on strong recently, with a focus on integrated testing.

When it comes to tools for DevOps, the most important factor is unifying teams on a single tool chain. Keep processes simple and the DevOps journey will be successful. For more information on DevOps best practices, contact a Relus Cloud Specialist today.

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