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DevOps Tools for Infrastructure Automation

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  • Last Updated October 01, 2017

Introduction:

Let it be any area of automation, there is no single tool that can fulfill all your requirements for server provisioning, configuration management, automated builds, code deployments and monitoring. Choosing a particular tool or technology in your infrastructure, always depends on many factors. 

In this article, we will take a closer look into the core tools that can be used in any typical DevOps environments. We will also discuss about the conditions that prevail in taking the necessary decisions towards choosing the best suited tool, be it in any domain of technology.

DevOps Tools for Infrastructure Automation

DevOps Tools for Infrastructure Automation:

Infrastructure automation is a field that has been taken by surprise in the recent past and there are quite a lot of options that fit in this domain as such. Choosing the tool that can be used for a specific project will be decided by the Project architecture and also decided by the needs that your infrastructure has. In this section of the article, we have tried to list down a great deal of tools that are available which fits into many categories like Configuration Management, Orchestration, Continuous Integration and Monitoring.

Just because of the intensive work pressure that the DevOps engineers go through on a day to day basis, there is a constant lookout for tools and technologies that could improve upon their efficiency and productivity. Unfortunately, not every project team has the valuable time to be spent over the possible options to choose from, we have done the best that we always do in bringing up the best list of tools that can match your requirements any given day.

With no further delay, here’s our curated list of the most reliable, relevant, secure, and useful DevOps technologies out there. Let us take a closer look at the list of options that you could choose from with all the necessary information (like the pros and cons have been given in detail) and along with it, we will provide you the list of all available options that one can choose from (which will be the least preferred ones over the tools that are discussed in detail).

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1. Chef:
First on the list is Chef which is a Ruby based Configuration Management tool. “Infrastructure as Code” should be a phrase that you might have come across earlier, which in totality means Configuration Management. Chef introduces the concept of cookbooks that help you code your infrastructure in domain specific languages and with bits and pieces of coding as well.

Chef also provisions for virtual machines and ability to configure them as per the rules laid out by these cookbooks. An agent would be running on these servers which are to be configured along with Chef. The cookbooks are all pulled by the agent from the Chef Master Server and then runs these configurations on the server to bring it to the desired states.

2.Puppet:
Second on our list of DevOps options is Puppet, which is also a Ruby based Configuration Management tool as just like Chef. The configuration code is all written making use of the Puppet’s Domain Specific Language and are all wrapped in modules. Chef cookbooks are all developer centric whereas Puppet is developed keeping in mind about the System Administrators.

Puppet as a tool runs its own agent on all the servers to be configured and the compiled modes are pulled from the Puppet server. This also installs the required software packages that are specified in the module.

3.Saltstack:
Third on our list of DevOps options is Saltstack, which is a Python based open Configuration Management tool. Saltstack supports remote execution of commands not like what happens in Chef and Puppet. Normally, code for configuration will be pulled from the server in both Chef and Puppet whereas in Saltstack, the code for configuration can be pushed to various nodes simultaneously. The code compilation and configuration is pretty quick with Saltstack as against the times observed on Chef and Puppet.

4.Ansible:
Next on our list is Ansible which is a completely agentless Configuration Management tool and also as an Orchestration tool. In case of Ansible, the configuration modules are termed “Playbooks” which are written in YAML format. These configuration modules are easy to be written as compared to what other Configuration Management tools are. Ansible is generally put to use for Cloud Provisioning as well.

5.Juju:
Adding to the list of DevOps options, next comes Juju which is a python based Orchestration tool developed by Canonical. Juju has a very attractive and a great UI for orchestrating your applications deployed in cloud environments. There is a provision of using a Command Line Interface (CLI) to perform all the Orchestration related tasks. Juju can be used to configure applications, deploy them and also to scale them further as well.

6.Jenkins:
Next on our list of available DevOps options is Jenkins which is a java based continuous integration tool for faster delivery of applications. Jenkins works in close association with Version control systems as like GitHub or SVN or CVS. You can configure Jenkins jobs to poll for any commits on SVN and trigger builds and also to trigger regression tests on the new code that gets added as per the latest code commits. Apart from all these activities, notification services are the best part of Jenkins where each and every task that can be performed be informed to all the necessary stakeholders at all the times.

7.Vagrant:
Vagrant, another great tool for configuring Virtual Machines for your development environments. Vagrant runs atop of VM based solutions as like Virtualbox, VMware, HyperV and etc. Vagrant handles all its configuration as part of the Vagrant files, which contains all the configuration that is needed by a VM. Once a virtual machine is created by the configuration provided, this can be shared with the other developers as well to mimic the same configuration. There are numerous plugins available on Vagrant that support Cloud Provisioning, Configuration Management tools as like Chef, Puppet and Docker.

8.Docker:
Docker is an automation tool that is built atop of Linux Containers (LXC) and promotes the concept of Containerization. Docker also works on the concept of creating process level virtualization as well. Docker creates isolated environments for applications called Containers which further don’t have any OS related dependencies as well. 

These Containers can be shipped to any other server without making any changes to the application as such. Docker in itself is considered the next step in the fields of Virtualization. Docker has been having active community groups on both Windows and Linux, gaining very high popularity amongst the DevOps practitioners and also pioneers in Cloud computing.

9.New Relic:
Next available option on our top 10 list is New relic, which is a cloud-based (SaaS) solution for application monitoring purposes. New Relic as a tool provides it support to monitor various applications as like PHP, Ruby, Java, NodeJS and the like. New Relic provides you with the real-time insights about your running applications. A new relic agent should be configured in your application to get all of this real time data. New relic uses various metrics to provide valuable insights about the application that it is monitoring.

10.Sensu:
Sensu, ends the list of our top 10 DevOps tools that can be used for your infrastructure automation needs. Sensu is an open source monitoring framework that has been written in Ruby again. It is a monitoring tool specifically built for cloud environments. It can be easily deployed using tools like Chef and Puppet. Sensu has also an enterprise edition for advanced monitoring needs.

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And a few other DevOps tools for your Infrastructure Automation

Along with the wholesome list of top most 10 DevOps tools from the rest, we have also tried to provide you the rest of the options that we have considered but these didn’t make into the top 10 list because of their own shortcomings and the like. If your project falls into those niche areas where our top 10 suggestions don’t work out, then you at least have pointers on what options to look forward to instead of dwelling without any direction towards making your choice of tool for your Infrastructure automation.

* SolarWinds Log & Event Manager
PagerDuty
Prometheus
Ganglia
Snort
Splunk
Nagios
Sumo Logic
Logstash
Loggly
Papertrail
OverOps
Squid
Visual Studio IDE
MCollective
Memcached
Cacti
Stackify Retrace
CFEngine
Gradle
JFrog Artifactory
Capistrano
Redis
Tripwire
Monit
Collectl
Consul
God
ProductionMap
Scalyr
Stackify Prefix
Code Climate
Rudder
Graylog
UpGuard

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Conclusion:

In this article we have introduced you to the topic of DevOps engineering and also based on what factors have we chosen the top 10 DevOps automation tools for your infrastructure. We have also provided a curated list of another 35 options that you can choose from, taking your time out in understanding these tools or technologies for yourself.

List of DevOps Courses:

Here are the other DevOps courses offered by Mindmajix:

 Build and Release Engineer  Jenkins
 TeamCity   Nuget
 Chef DevOps  Octopus Deploy
 Continuous Integration  Git & GitHub

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