Finding the Right Tool for the DevOps Job

    DevOps is about much more than technology, but the fact remains that to implement an effective DevOps environment, you’ll need the right tools.

    As more enterprises jump on the DevOps bandwagon, new solutions are hitting the channel at a rapid clip ­– so quickly, in fact, that we are already starting to see broader frameworks designed to manage and integrate these systems into a workable environment.

    Mobile Labs’ Steve Orlando recently posted a good primer on the leading DevOps platforms, each of which brings unique capabilities that will benefit different organizations in different ways. The Java-based Jenkins automation system, for example, acts as a continuous integration server that can take on many of the more tedious aspects of software development while also acting as a delivery hub for mobile application projects. Meanwhile, Puppet integrates nicely within Unix and Windows shops and uses a declarative language to describe system configurations and states.

    Many organizations are deploying DevOps environments in the cloud, which is leading to a number of integrated, cloud-based software stacks that promise to streamline the process and provide a steady influx of new systems and features for better app creation and support. Agile Stacks, for one, utilizes the company’s Cloud Automation Hub to assemble tools and processes for AWS and, soon, Azure implementations. Supported products include Kubernetes, Git, and Spinnaker, as well as database platforms like MongoDB and Cassandra, while numerous built-in capabilities provide for seamless integration of upgrades, security patches, monitoring, and a host of other functions.

    Meanwhile, ZeroStack just released a new self-service platform that allows users to create their own DevOps workbenches from more than 40 open and commercial developer tools. The system runs on the provider’s Intelligent Cloud Platform, with tools selected from the Z-AppStore for use on a secure, multi-tenant architecture. Individual tools are implemented under the Heat orchestration engine, which provides user-modifiable blueprints and templates for integrated development and operational processes.

    One of the key tools in any DevOps environment is the ability to analyze performance. Without that, the enterprise has no way of knowing what’s working and what isn’t. To that end, Shippable recently expanded support of its analytics platform to include Mac OS X, iOS and Windows, in addition to its traditional base in Linux. The company has also added new features like development velocity reporting and code quality tracking to see how products change over time.

    The universe of DevOps tools is expanding all the time, and this can actually present a two-edged sword for most enterprises. On one hand, it’s nice to know that for every challenge there is likely to be a solution out there somewhere, but sometimes too many choices can be a burden because making an informed decision requires that much more research and analysis.

    This is nothing that good, old-fashioned experience cannot solve, of course, which means that those who embrace DevOps now will be in a far better position to capitalize on emerging application- and service-based business models in the coming decade.

    And fortunately, acquiring tools for the DevOps era will be easier, and cheaper, than in previous generations of IT development.

    Arthur Cole writes about infrastructure for IT Business Edge. Cole has been covering the high-tech media and computing industries for more than 20 years, having served as editor of TV Technology, Video Technology News, Internet News and Multimedia Weekly. His contributions have appeared in Communications Today and Enterprise Networking Planet and as web content for numerous high-tech clients like TwinStrata and Carpathia. Follow Art on Twitter @acole602.

    Arthur Cole
    Arthur Cole
    With more than 20 years of experience in technology journalism, Arthur has written on the rise of everything from the first digital video editing platforms to virtualization, advanced cloud architectures and the Internet of Things. He is a regular contributor to IT Business Edge and Enterprise Networking Planet and provides blog posts and other web content to numerous company web sites in the high-tech and data communications industries.

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