DevOps is a set of software development practices that increases an organization's ability to deliver applications and services at high velocity. An important element which acts as a center for the DevOps is “Configuration Management”. As the name suggests, Configuration Management is a practice of managing and automating all the configurations of the software applications to reduce product time.

The role of configuration management in DevOps is composed as “Comprehensive Configuration Management”. As it is composed of different respiratory processes like Source code Respiratory, Artifact Respiratory and configuration Database. The broad set of activities that the configuration management process takes into consideration are:

  • Configuration identification
  • Configuration control
  • Configuration Audit

Best Configuration Management DevOps tools

There are several tools for configuration management development in DevOps, which enable deployments and changes in applications for the faster, extensible and scalable performance.

 Let us discuss in detail about each of the configuration management tools in the following paragraphs.

Ansible

Ansible is an open-source application deployment, software provisioning, and configuration management tool., Ansible works with multiple systems of your infrastructure by considering ansible’s inventory and ASCII versionable text files. You can pull multiple inventories from cloud sources and formats(INI, YMAL) at the same time. Inventory is  Machines which are installed with Ansible can easily leverage the directories and files to orchestration from the nodes.

The playbook is a  YAML text file which expresses the orchestration, deployment, and configurations in Ansible. It can run on various platforms like Unix, Linux, Red Hat Enterprise Linux,macOS, Debian, CentOS, Ubuntu, and BSD. Ansible can automate cloud provisioning,  intra- service orchestration, and so on.

Following are some of the advantages, using Ansible, they are:

Advantages:

  • It is a simple and agentless automation tool, which can be easily accessed by anyone.
  • Consistent management and centralized deployment to the enterprise with the management of systems.
  • You can solve the crush problems of your application by automating and integrating the ansible tool.
  • Simple to create automation and integration to apps by break down of foils and crush complexity.

CFEngine:

 CFEngine is popularly known and widely used configuration management tool. Let us discuss the primary features and functions of the tools in the following paragraphs.CFEngine is an automation tool used for provisioning and managing software deployment in the operational IT environment. The software of CFEngine is written in C, and it works in a client-server mode with the help of remote nodes and server managing agents. CFEngine is an independent operating system interface. It can host on windows, Unix as well Linux, AIX, HP-UX, and Solaris. The key aim of using CFEngine is changing configurations of the computer system in a “convergent manner.”

The primary function of CFEngine is to provide maintenance and configuration to heavy computer systems, embedded network systems, desktops, servers, mobile phones, and so on. Let us discuss some of the major advantages of CFEngine they are:

Advantages:

  • It is an open-source automation tool, with additional functionality, i.e., GUI( Graphical User Interface), this provides users with a real-time security dashboard and enables users to compliance  IT reports.
  • We can download and can use freely up to the first 25 nodes.
  • Compliance with monitoring and modeling parts CFEngine make an application in the desired state.
  • This is the best tool for complex and large organizations, to create strong scripts which are usually written by professionals.

Puppet

Puppet is a Server Configuration Management tool, which gives an automated way to inspect, deliver and to operate your software deployment. It enables system administrators to create control and consistency across the infrastructure, with common easy language. Testing, sharing and enforcing the modifications in the data center and cloud platforms has become very easy with a puppet. Like other languages like Ruby, Puppet is also a simple modeling language used for the deployment of the infrastructure.

Puppet is installed on the main server and used to manage the clients to deploy, manage and configure the infrastructure, whereas puppet agents are assigned to server clients to communicate with the master puppet for the instructions of configurations. Following are some of the advantages of using Puppet, let us now take a look at them:

Advantages:

  • Puppet is open-source, it enables to build custom modules and libraries individually which suits for projects.
  • Puppet is a cross-platform work on RHEL, Fedora, Debian, Solaris, Gentoo, Windows and OS.
  • It has a declarative language which can be easily learnable and understandable by the individuals like an XML file.
  • We can schedule the timings of actions on a periodical basis. In Puppet mechanism, an instruction specified to one action can override in different situations.
  • It has a large community of users with its productivity and manageability.

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RackHD

RackHD is automated hardware management and orchestration tool which works with cohesive APIs. Developers can use APIs provided in RackHD to create an interface for users as single access for managing all the hardware services. It has a large community channel and also a Chinese channel #RackHD for Chinese discussions. Documentation and code are released with no service agreements and warranties, with an intention to support community-driven process. 

RackHD let you automate a varied range of management tasks including the following Installation, creation of bugs and feature requests. Avail you the provisioning server operating systems, installation, and updating of firmware. Provides data feeds for all the alerting mechanisms and raw telemetry from the hardware.

Advantages:

  • RackHD provides various pages with information and links which we need to consume in the project for the development of hardware.
  • It provides code house respirators and slack workspace for better contribution to work.
  • There is a  chance of discussing innovative ideas through chat on the slack feature.
  • Reporting security vulnerabilities like version or product issues, buffer overflow, cloud exploit issues, etc.

Chef

A chef is a configuration management tool, used for enabling virtual machine setup in cloud and servers. The primary aim of Chef is to configure the files and software on a machine. It considers the infrastructure as a code and setup machine as a chef recipe. All the recipes are stored in a cookbook, and it is considered as a single task. Whereas, a cookbook may have different server configurations. 

This is not only the process of configuring and maintaining the company’s servers but also helps in integrating with the cloud-based platform as like the Amazon OpenStack and also Google’s Cloud Platform. With the use of this technology, an individual can manage as many servers that can practically be possible and turn this infrastructure into code. The infrastructure that is in turn described as code can very easily be tested, readable by humans.

Infrastructure automation tools like CHEF and Puppet make IT management a lot easier, efficient and flexible. As mentioned earlier, CHEF has been very well known for the concept of “Infrastructure as Code”.

Following are some of the advantages of using Chef, let us now take a look at each and one of them:

Advantages:

  • CHEF with its infrastructure automation capabilities improves the whole process of risk management
  • CHEF allows you to free up your time by automating your cloud infrastructure and also handling your routine manual actions
  • CHEF being cloud-agnostic lets you manage both the data center and cloud environments at once, even as you change your cloud providers.
  • It provides a provision, a pipeline for continuous development and deployment that can be used to achieve more and make much better decisions in future endeavors.

Vagrant

Vagrant is the best tool, to set up and manage the virtual machines in a single workflow for the development with utmost easy processes. Vagrant is a cross-platform, and it works on top of the VM solutions like VMware, VirtualBox, and Hyper-V, etc. The vagrant file holds all the configurations that need to build a VM(virtual machine). 

Vagrant, with its easy workflow and automation, focus on the whole process of building and managing virtual machine environments. It reduces the time it takes to set up a development environment and thereby increases productivity.

Following are some of the advantages of using Vagrant, let us now take a look at each. 

Advantages:

  • Provision to configure, reproduce portable work environments that are built on top of industry-standard technology
  • Easiest and the fastest way to create virtualized environments.
  • It reduces the setup time of an environment
  • Repeatability (once created, the others can be reproduced with the same configuration and the like)
  • Provides a provision to create Production like environments within minutes
  • Vagrant is an open-source and totally free tool.

SaltStack

SaltStack, a Python-based open-source configuration management tool that helps to maintain remote task execution, event IT automation and configuration management in defined states. Saltstack was developed from the need to bring task execution and high data collection for the data center system. In puppet and Chef, the code for execution will be pulled from the servers, but in the SaltStack, the code will be pushed to many of the adjoining nodes simultaneously. The code compilation and the required configurations will process fast in the SaltStack.

Here is a list of advantages using SaltStack, let us take a look at them:

Advantages:

  • Saltstack provides the versatility with massive scale deployments. 
  • By supporting the approach “infrastructure as code”, it helps in managing network deployment, vulnerability, and configuration automation to the machine.
  • In this provision of a python web interface and execution, routines are written in the simple python language which quickly helps in automating network deployment.
  • One of the other advantages of using Saltstack is it comes in use for both Open and Proprietary projects.

JUJU

JUJU is an open-source configuration management tool, which is created by canonical Ltd. It allows you to configure, deploy, maintain and manage cloud applications efficiently on the public cloud platforms and as well on OpenStack, physical servers and containers. We can use JUJU through GUI or command line.

Advantages:

  • JUJU provides software integration, provisioning, and scaling capabilities with cluster deployment.
  • By using charm, it reduces the complications regarding service scaling, and it can run multiple operations on a platform.
  • It provides dashboard, DNS, controller, and multi-node deployment and also provides Transport Layer Security(TLS) between two nodes.

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Cobbler

Cobbler is a well classified Linux provisioning server which facilitates and caters towards automation of the network-based system installation of multiple computer operating systems. Cobbler helps in facilitating and automating system installations and uses network boot to initiate and control installations. Besides this, it facilitates repository mirroring, kick-start templates, manages connectivity with the available power management systems. There are a lot of features that make it even more powerful is Configuration management, XML RPC APIs and the KOAN client, etc.,

 Advantages:

  • One of the biggest benefits is that it is completely an open-source offering with no enterprise or other subscription models available. Alongside that, its user community provides all the help and support that individuals require.
  • Cobbler configuration management is written in Python, hence it is lean and fast.
  • Cobbler supports any Linux distribution that is similar to Red Hat Enterprise Linux like CentOS, Scientific Linux.

Secure Shell (SSH)

SSH is an acronym that stands for Secure Shell, is a software package that enables secure system administration and file transfers over insecure networks. Using SSH, you can issue commands to the server from just a command prompt just the same way as sitting before a server. As time passes by, you get a better command over the basic commands, and you can work faster than the C-Panel GUI as well.

Following are some of the advantages of using SSH, let us now take a look at each one of them:

Advantages:

  • IP source routing is used to alter the path of a network signal if it fails, can then be used by hackers to falsify to think as if it is communicating with another user
  • SSH avoids DNS spoofing where malicious data is put into a Domain Name System name server’s cache database.
  • SSH avoids data manipulation of things like Routers all through the network
  • SSH enforces that there is no eavesdropping or sniffing of the transmitted data
  • SSH avoids IP address spoofing where malicious packets are introduced with forged source IP address.
RUDDER

The rudder is an open-source, role-based solution, automation, web-driven and configuration management helps to system configurations to all the IT compliances and organizations. It is a server-side web interface written in Scala, and its local agent is written in C. It is free software produced with General Public License.

Advantages:

  • A rudder provides custom policy editor and web interface to define policies and manage nodes.
  • To communicate with Rudder server, it supports Full Rest API.
  • It provides graphical reporting, automated inventory for both software and hardware.
Octopus Deploy

Octopus Deploy is release management and deployment automation server. Using Octopus Deploy, we can design applications securely with deployment on the cloud platforms. Deployments are modified and executed through a web-based interface. Deployment statuses can be monitored by using dashboards.

Here is a list of advantages with Octopus Deploy, let us have a look at them:

  • Octopus provides reliable, fast and repeatable deployments with its extensible features.
  • It is cross-platform, and it can work on JAVA, ASP.NET, Node.Js and so on.
  • It provides massive permission to granularity and seamless integration.

Conclusion

These configuration management tools provide IT operators and DevOps engineers with event-driven DevOps automation and orchestration for integrated configuration management, infrastructure security and compliance, and control over clouds and containers.

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