Indeed, DevOps is a pillar of technology business that gives a new perspective to software development. However, there are so many tools that it may be difficult to know which ones are the best for your team...
What is DevOps: advantages and practices
The term DevOps, a combination of the English terms development and operations, is used to refer to the union of people, processes and technology to continuously deliver value to customers.
But what does DevOps mean for teams? Simply put, DevOps makes it possible for previously siloed roles (development, IT operations, quality engineering and security) to coordinate and collaborate to produce better products.
When a DevOps culture is adopted hand-in-hand with DevOps practices and tools, teams gain the ability to be more responsive to customer needs, increase confidence in the applications they build, and achieve business goals faster.
Some of the benefits of DevOps are as follows:
- Rapid delivery
- Improved collaboration
DevOps best practices include the following:
- Continuous delivery
- Continuous integration
- Infrastructure as code
- Monitoring and logging
- Communication and collaboration
5 must-have tools used for DevOps
The DevOps model depends on effective tools to help teams deploy and innovate quickly and reliably for their customers. Such tools automate manual tasks, enable teams to manage complex environments at scale, and keep engineers in control of the high velocity that DevOps enables.
Azure DevOps replaces Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS), the cloud-based add-on to the company's Team Foundation Server (TFS) application lifecycle management platform.
Thus, Microsoft is introducing a set of cloud-hosted services -- including CI/CD, test and kanban project dashboards -- free for open source projects and for teams of five or fewer people such as the following:
Azure Artifacts, which provides feeds of Maven, NPM and NuGet packages from public and private sources, for hosting and sharing packages with a team.
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- Azure Artifacts, which provides feeds of Maven, NPM and NuGet packages from public and private sources, for hosting and sharing packages with a team.
- Azure Boards, for tracking work with Kanban boards, backlogs, team dashboards and custom reports. Work can be tracked across teams.
- Azure Pipelines, which offers CI/CDs that can work with multiple languages and connect to GitHub. Code can be pulled from popular source control systems. MacOS, Linux and Windows hosted build agents are offered. In addition, integration with Visual Studio App Center enables mobile deployments. Artifacts can be extracted from other CI systems such as Jenkins.
- Azure Repos, with unlimited private Git repositories hosted in the cloud, enabling collaborative requests, file management and code search. Comments can be left for pull requests.
- Azure Test Plans, featuring a manual and exploratory testing toolkit. Tests can be managed across platforms and configurations.
- Extensions Marketplace, where a multitude of extensions, applications and services created by the community can be accessed.
Chef is one of the DevOps configuration management (CM) tools that allows automating processes and tasks on numerous servers and other devices in an organization in simple steps. Such a framework is very beneficial for a company.
One of the reasons for Chef's success is its declarative approach to programming. In fact, it eliminates the need to create complex and lengthy code scripts that can potentially wreak havoc in the long run.
With a few clicks, software applications can be deployed and managed across all devices in an organization. In addition, Chef software can be used even by team members who may not be well versed in programming.
It also reduces the team's or organization's dependence on a singular, experienced programmer. However, a rudimentary knowledge of the Ruby DSL language is necessary because it is the foundation upon which Chef has been developed.
Puppet is a system management tool that helps automate and centralize the configuration management process. It is also used for software deployment and is available in open source and commercial versions.
It helps in server configuration management, server deployment and orchestration of various applications across an organization's infrastructure.
For example, imagine you have 100 servers, but it is not possible to maintain, manage and configure the servers manually. So Puppet takes care of:
Making separate configurations for each host.
- Making separate configurations for each host.
- Continuously monitor the server for configurations and if they are altered it automatically switches to a predefined one on the hosts.
- It has control over an entire infrastructure so that centralized configurations are made for each infrastructure.
- It is used as an automatic deployment tool for all applications on the servers.
- Implements Infrastructure as Code (IaC).
Ansible is another open source automation DevOps tool, used for IT tasks such as configuration management, application deployment, intraservice orchestration and provisioning. The beauty of Ansible is that:
- Free, being an open source tool.
- Very simple to configure and use, since no special coding skills are required to use its manuals.
- Powerful, since it can model even highly complex IT workflows.
- Flexible, as it can orchestrate the entire application environment, no matter where it is deployed. It is also possible to customize it according to needs.
- Agentless, as it does not require any other software or firewall ports to be installed on the client systems to be automated. There is also no need to set up a separate administration structure.
- Efficient, since you do not need to install any additional software, there is more space for application resources on your server.
SaltStack, also known as Salt, is a configuration management and orchestration tool that uses a central repository to provision new servers and other IT infrastructure, make changes to existing ones, and install software in IT environments, including physical and virtual servers, as well as the cloud.
SaltStack automates repetitive system administration and code deployment tasks, eliminating manual processes so that errors that occur when IT organizations configure systems can be reduced.
SaltStack is employed in DevOps organizations because it pulls developer code and configuration information from a central code repository, such as GitHub or Subversion, and pushes that content remotely to servers.
In addition, Salt users can write their own scripts and programs and download pre-built configurations that other users have contributed to a public repository. It is, without a doubt, one of the best DevOps tools on the market.