A never-ending process to facilitate continuous development, DevOps emphasizes communication and cross-functional collaboration between teams involved in operations, software development and product management.
DevOps has enjoyed unprecedented success and popularity in recent years as a process for software development and delivery. It basically deals with the integration of two essential verticals of IT that are:
- Dev or development and
- Ops or operations
It helps bring about a cultural transformation wherein teams related to development and operations collaborate so that they can work together seamlessly.
Objectives of DevOps
The core of DevOps seeks to establish and improve collaboration between stakeholders right from the planning to the deployment stage of software development by:
- Improving deployment frequency
- Reducing the time between the incorporation of patches and updates
- Speeding up the delivery to the client
- Improving recovery time
- Reducing the failure rates for new releases
DevOps Tool Chain
Currently, there are several tools present in the market that help to streamline DevOps implementation and automate the different processes involved. Choosing the appropriate ones require constant experimentation and testing.
Some of the important DevOps tools that enable proper deployment of the different software development processes are:
This is a very popular tool being adopted by DevOps Engineers. Essentially a CI/CD server, Jenkins is open-sourced and is used to automate different stages associated with the delivery pipeline. Its popularity rises from the fact that it boasts of a massive plug-in ecosystem that enables it to successfully integrate with several other DevOps tools like Chef, Docker etc.
Important features of this tool include:
- The ability to enable users to set up CD pipelines that can be customized based on individual needs
- Easy to initiate as it runs on several popular OS like MacOS X, windows, Linux
- Enables the iteration and deployment of new codes quickly
Git is a distributed SCM or source code management tool that is widely used in software industries. Its popularity arises from the fact that it allows different versions of the source code to be saved so that if required, developers can return to one of the previous versions. Some of the other important features of this tool include:
- It is an open-source and free tool
- It is compatible with almost all version control features like merging, check-in, labels, branches, commits etc.
- Easy to learn and requires minimal maintenance
- Enables the merger of separate source code branches etc.
Another immensely popular, open-source and free monitoring tool for DevOps, Nagios enables real-time monitoring of the infrastructure to make bug and outage detection and identification of security threats easier by feeding out graphs and reports. Some of its prominent features include:
- Availability of a variety of add-ons
- Facilitates both agent less and agent-based monitoring
- Apps based on Linux, UNIX, Windows etc., can also be monitored
- Various versions available like the:
- Nagios Core that is a command line tool
- Nagios XI a web-based GUI
- Log server that uses automatic alerts to search log data
- Nagios fusion to enable simultaneous monitoring of multiple networks.
Splunk captures, indexes and correlates real-time data in a searchable repository from which it can generate reports, alerts, graphs, dashboards and visualizations. It is designed to ensure the usability and accessibility of machine data. This is achieved by the delivery of operational intelligence to the DevOps team. Companies using this tool make apps that are competitive, more secure and productive. Its characteristic features include:
- Applies data-driven analytics to machine generated data to offer actionable insights
- Helps to offer a collectively central view of the involved IT services
- Can detect patterns and areas that create an impact along with highlighting anomalies
One of the first tools to implement containerization, Docker is today a very popular tool for providing both agile operations and integrated container security that is independent of any platform. It is suitable for apps that are cloud-native and legacy based. Its characteristic features include:
- Easy automation of app deployment
- Distributed development becomes easy
- Both AWS and Google cloud offer built-in support for it
- Supports platform-independent virtual machine environments
It is a very powerful DevOps tool that is ideally suited for large teams. It is also touted to be the first tool for container orchestration. Its features include:
- Ability to logically categorize containers into groups
- Automated distribution enables its deployment to multiple computers
- Extensively used to streamline complex projects involving large teams
This is an agent less DevOps tool for organization and design management. It is written in YAML, a simple programming language. Thus teams using Ansible find it easier to scale-up the automation process and speed up productivity. Its important features include:
- Master-slave architecture
- Designing of arrangement modules as playbooks
- Ideal for managing complex deployments
- Helps speed up the development process
This popular tool is extensively used by organizations to successfully implement DevOps. It is compatible with a variety of management tools and thus can be successfully used in conjunction with them. It works by enabling developers to make use of the same workflow to create virtual environments for machines. Its distinguishing features include:
- Compatibility with different OSs like Mac, Windows and Linux
- Enables easy integration for use with other tools like Ansible, Chef, Puppet etc.
This versatile tool enables developers to write codes in a variety of languages like Java, Python, C++ etc. Popular IDEs like IntelliJ IDEA, Eclipse, Netbeans also support Gradle. Features include:
- A task-based core model that works on actions and I/Os
- Builds are described using 2 types of DSL i.e. Kotlin based and Groovy-based
- It has an incredible build
- Enables substantial amounts of compile-time savings
An arrangement management DevOps tool that is Ruby-based, Chef is extremely popular. Generally, configuration management is considered to be a probable hurdle but Chef makes it seem like gaining a competitive edge. While the tool is extensively used for configuration checking, it can also be used for infrastructure automation. Its characteristic features include:
- Offering assistance in standardizing
- Continuous enforcement of configurations
- Enabling proper system configuration
- Automates the entire process with ease
- Helps to retain configuration policy flexibility, readability and testability
This tool is used to build, change and improve the infrastructure in the most efficient and safe way. It helps in managing both existing as well as in-house custom solutions. Terraform acts more in the form of an orchestrator and infrastructure provisioning tool. Characteristic features that make it unique are:
- Infrastructure can be shared and re-used in the form of a code
- This tool lets you plan and avoid any last-minute surprises with its “Execution Plan”
- Human errors is considerably reduced with automation changesets applied to the infrastructure
This is a configuration management tool that is open-sourced and popularly used to deploy, configure and manage servers. Features of this tool include:
- A master-slave architecture
- Works efficiently for both apps and hybrid infrastructure
- Compatibility with OS like UNIX, Linux, Windows etc.
The DevOps strategy is here to stay and will be increasingly implemented by more and more enterprises in the near future. However, to maximize its benefits it is important for organizations and enterprises to adopt the right strategy and tools for its implementation.