Since the first hammer was forged during the dawn of the Bronze Age nearly 5,000 years ago, the creation of simple tools has always driven technology. By leveraging innovation or time-saving techniques, tools serve the straightforward but essential purpose of making the work of humankind a bit easier.
Tools play a similar role in the computing world, too. The rapid adoption of development and operations (DevOps) tools helps to enhance the continuous integration of development and operations teams. These tools make the software development process more efficient.
DevOps tools are applications that facilitate the automation of the DevOps process. These tools enable teams to automate development processes such as dependency management, software build, conflict management, and deployment, among others. DevOps tools also help reduce the manual inputs needed during development, speeding up this process.
IT teams are prioritizing DevOps automation because it simplifies software implementation. This shift means organizations are switching from manual operations to automation tools to reduce developer input and create an efficient development process. Still, DevOps automation tools rely on coding skills to be effective. Similar to configuration management tools in DevOps, automation tools such as Jenkins, Docker, and Puppet serve different functions.
Here are some functions of DevOps automation tools:
Monitoring is a fundamental principle of the DevOps methodology. System monitoring involves continuous infrastructure tracking, often by an IT specialist. Many monitoring tools in DevOps are surveillance software that observes and tracks interactions, operations, and activities between users, applications, devices, and networks on an enterprise system. Examples include Prometheus and Alert Manager, DataDog, New Relic, and Sensu.
DevOps monitoring tools have the following functions: observing and reporting data, backing up and restoring previous versions or processes, and managing configurations.
DevOps increases an organization’s ability to deliver solutions quickly by bridging the gap between development and operations teams. Benefits of adopting DevOps tools in an organization include:
Development Speed. The tools used in the DevOps approach allow development teams to adapt quickly to changes and move at a high speed. Teams can take ownership of services and have faster releases.
Improved Operational Efficiency. DevOps tools help engineers to manage complex environments at scale. Through DevOps automation tools, organizations can achieve operational efficiency.
Continuous Delivery. DevOps tools enhance the software development practice and automate build, testing, and code releases into production. These automation tools result in a development-ready build artifact that passes standardized tests.
Fast Deployment. Traditional development methods require building all codes before deployment begins. The DevOps model adopts continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD). This feature makes deployment fast and constant.
Quick Recovery Time. As with any development process, many risks lead to failures or downtime. Developers can create quick and stable solutions to technical errors, restoring the development process with DevOps tools.
Enhanced Collaboration. DevOps cultural model supports tools that enhance cooperation and communication between teams. Development and operations teams share responsibilities and work closely to achieve reliable and rapid delivery.
Faster Rate of Innovation. Many DevOps tools are updated often, which provides more capabilities to developers. This feature promotes innovation by giving developers the necessary resources.
While the DevOps culture significantly improves the development process, selecting the wrong tools may defeat the essence of DevOps adoption.
Consider these elements when deciding on your DevOps tools list:
Integration. Continuous integration is achievable when IT specialists can move data easily between platforms. DevOps tools that integrate with multiple platforms and technology reduce complexity and other connectivity issues.
Use Cases. Since several tools on the market perform the same basic functions, selecting a tool with more relevant use cases is helpful. It’s better to have a tool with features you may not need now but might need later in your development process than needing a feature and not having access to it.
Licenses and Pricing. Some DevOps tools have complex licensing requirements that may make switching servers difficult. Selecting a tool with simple licensing and pricing terms, such as payment per server, simplifies your DevOps tools and prevents complications or time wastage.
Platform. DevOps and cloud computing function interchangeably. Although teams can implement the DevOps approach on-premise, cloud infrastructure maximizes DevOps benefits. Cloud platforms are updated continuously, making them compatible with new tools. This feature enables development teams to innovate faster and roll out continuous updates.
Functionality. Organizations identify the functions they need in a DevOps tool — such as continuous integration, observability, and networking — and select one tool per function. This method increases the number of devices they depend on and can lead to asset management complexities. In creating a DevOps tool list, organizations consider tools that adequately provide multiple required functions to reduce cost and optimize resources.
Although DevOps technology accelerates the development process and fosters collaboration among teams, there is still room for improvement.
Here are some areas where vendors can upgrade DevOps technology to enhance software development:
The New Stack keeps an eye out for those tools that may make cloud-native computing a little easier for system developers, system architects, and administrators. Some tools such as Unix utilities or the next generation of load-testing, command-line terminals, or even an obscure statistical algorithm that could help make better predictions are not as popular as Jenkins but are equally essential.