DevOps tools vary in complexity and function, but the best ones rise above the rest. There’s no shortage of DevOps tools. From automation testing tools to continuous improvement tools, DevOps have plenty at their disposal to do their jobs.
But instead of looking at specific tools to perform specific tasks, we want to show you the absolute essential tools every DevOps engineer should know about (and use), regardless of their responsibilities or project.
Many of the tools we list in this post are considered some of the best DevOps tools ever developed. And they dominate their respective markets.
Check them out below and decide for yourself.
List of the Best DevOps Tools
Git is one of the most popular, most used DevOps tools in existence.
It’s a source code management (SCM) tool, meaning it’s used by programmers and developers to manage code, such as tracking revisions in software or merging them with other revisions and so on.
One of the major reasons Git is so widely used in the industry is because it’s free and open source. It’s available to practically everyone who needs to use it. And it can handle big or small projects with ease.
Plus, it’s easy to learn and use.
Git’s main feature is its intuitive branching model. It allows you to create multiple local branches that don’t have to be interconnected, they can exist independently of one another. And it has a load of great features, such as:
- Frictionless Context Switching - Create a branch, commit a couple times, switch back to where you originally branched from, apply a patch, switch back to the branch you committed and merge it. Easy and straightforward.
- Role-Based Codelines - Create one branch that contains only what goes to production, another branch that merges work into testing, and a series of smaller branches for the day-to-day grind.
- Feature-Based Workflow - Create branches for every feature you’re developing to easily switch back and forth between them. Once the feature is merged into your main line, delete each branch.
- Disposable Experimentation - Create a branch for experimentation, decide it’s worthless, delete it, and abandon that particular project without anyone ever seeing it or knowing you tried to create it.
And that’s not all.
If you want to push a branch to a repository, you can do so without pushing all of your branches. You’re in control of what you merge and share, meaning you have total control over the new ideas you want to pursue, even if you start them without a plan.
And all these features are largely error-free, unlike many of its competitors.
All these features and more have made it the go-to SCM for remote teams and developers across all industries.
Jenkins is another open source DevOps tool that lets you automate various stages of the delivery pipeline through its continuous integration and continuous delivery server (CI/CD).
One major reason why Jenkins is used so often is because of its massive plugin library. To date, Jenkins offers over 1,000 plugins and integrates with almost every DevOps tools out there, like Docker or Puppet. And you can install Jenkins with preloaded plugins or create a custom config.
You can also customize your own CI/CD pipeline based on your needs for each project.
Plus, Jenkins runs on nearly every Operating System, from Windows to Mac to Linux.
The main feature of Jenkins is the ability to iterate and deploy new code rapidly while measuring the success of each step in your pipeline.
Docker bills itself as the “#1 container industry conference for enterprise IT professionals, developers, architects and business leaders.”
They’re not wrong. Docker is used by scores of developers, for good reason.
Docker’s container software is excellent for developers and their teams to experiment with container-based apps.
If you’re unfamiliar with containers, here’s a useful definition:
“Containers are packages that rely on virtual isolation to deploy and run applications that access a shared operating system (OS) kernel without the need for virtual machines (VMs).”
Docker Desktop lets you launch an app from a Mac or Windows toolbar and access all their content from Docker Hub, the largest library of community and certified Linux and Windows Server content.
If you’re a large organization, Docker has plenty to offer you. They can manage and secure legacy and new applications, allowing you to modernize your app environment.
For businesses of all sizes, Docker gives the IT department and all developers the flexibility to securely create essential apps for their organization without worrying about lock-in from managers or executives.
Here’s why Docker is so well-received:
It dramatically reduces the time to market for apps, effectively freeing up major resources you can use to invest in other projects.
And, Docker seamlessly integrates with apps like Jenkins, further improving or automating your workflow.
Finally, AWS and Google Cloud have both added support for Docker. Meaning, Docker is one of the best tools you can use for cloud migration and computing.
Nagios is an essential DevOps monitoring tool that’s both free and open source.
It’s highly recommended for network monitoring.
It watches your network to identify problems caused by data links or network connections that are overloaded. It also monitors routers, switches, and other aspects of your network like nodes. Nagios will observe the availability, uptime, and response time of the nodes on your network.
Many developers consider Nagios to be the best server monitoring software available today.
Nagios is superbly flexible and gives you the option of agent-based or agentless monitoring. Plus, you gain access to 5,000 different add-ons used to monitor servers, all thanks to the high-quality community its built over many years (over 1 million users).
Beyond servers and networks, Nagios also offers excellent application monitoring.
Nagios will detect any problems with your app, service, or process and take immediate action to eliminate downtime for end users. Nagios can monitor all forms of applications, Windows, Linux, UNIX, and web-based apps.
With so much monitoring going on, it would be easy to lose track of everything.
Not with Nagios.
You can keep organized records of events, outages, failures, and much more using built-in graphs and reports. You can even forecast errors and detect security threats.
Here’s a list of even more awesome features from Nagios:
- Script APIs for monitoring of in-house and custom apps, services, and systems.
- Centralized view of your IT infrastructure and everything being monitored.
- Detailed status updates through the web.
- Deliver alerts to staff via email or SMS.
- Availability reports ensuring SLAs are met.
- Multi-user access to web interface ensures your clients only see their components.
- Failover capabilities which ensure continuous monitoring of your IT infrastructure.
Plutora is an all-in-one Value Stream Management (VSM) solution.
Their goal is to help you scale at enterprise levels and continuously control, manage, and deliver software.
Plutora was developed because they recognized the problems of achieving that goal using ad-hoc tools like Excel
Plutora relies on aggregated metrics, enabling you to manage delivery from a system level and eliminate waste while ensuring consistency in value delivery.
Plutora also focuses on bridging the gap between teams. They do this by enabling teams to use cutting-edge tools, architectures, and development methods mixed with automation - improving collaboration and efficiency.
Here’s a list of additional features:
- Intelligent tracking of the dependencies inherent in releases for your projects and system.
- Integration with existing tools for enhanced coordination, especially with diverse teams.
- Deep reporting and analytics for decreased risk of release failure.
- Maintenance of an auditable history of changes to any project to virtually guarantee compliance with established regulations.
- Self-service booking engine for more efficient teamwork.
- Monitoring of use rates to reduce resource conflicts.
- Management of timing and sequence of deployment tasks for reduced risk.
Monit is a free and open source utility built specifically for managing and monitoring Unix systems.
In the event of an error, Monit will automatically jump into repair and maintenance mode.
Because it’s open source, you can redistribute or modify Monit under the terms of the GNU Affero General Public License (AGPL).
Basically, Monit is always on and always making sure things are running properly. And when they’re not, it takes the appropriate causal actions.
For example, if Apache is using too many resources, Monit can restart it and send you an alert about what’s happening.
Monit is especially useful for monitoring daemon processes on localhost, like Sendmail, SSHD, or MySQL.
Monit is also a reliable DevOps tool for monitoring files, directories, and file systems. Monit can detect timestamp changes, checksum changes, or size changes.
Monit is great for monitoring network connections to different servers on both localhost or remote hosts. Monit supports TCP, UDP, and Unix Domain Sockets. You can perform network protocol tests such as HTTP, SMTP, and so on.
Monit even lets you test programs and scripts at certain times to test the exit value of a program. If there’s an error, Monit will perform some kind of action and alert you. You can pretty much check anything you want if you write a script for it through Monit.
Lastly, Monit is used often for monitoring general system efficiency in regards to CPU usage, memory, and load average.
Consul is a top-notch service mesh solution which provides developers with a robust control plane that features service discovery, configuration, and segmentation functionality.
You can use those features separately or in conjunction with one another. It also supports a proxy integration along with a native integration model. Of course, Consul comes with a built-in proxy but it supports 3rd-party proxy integrations if that’s what you prefer.
Here’s a list of Consul’s notable features:
- Service Discovery - If you’re a client, you can register a service like MySQL, and additional clients can use Consul to uncover providers of service using DNS or HTTP.
- Health Checking - You can designate an infinite number of health checks associated with a service or local node. This information can be used by an operator to observe the health of a cluster. It can also be used to route traffic away from bad hosts.
- KV Store - Applications can use Consul’s hierarchical key/value store for dynamic configuration, feature flagging, coordination, etc.
- Secure Service Communication - Create mutual TLS connections by generating TLS certificates for services. And through Intentions, you can define access control.
- Multi-Datacenter - You don’t have to bother with building additional, abstract layers to grow more than one region, Consul supports numerous data centers already.
Consul was designed with flexibility in mind for modern infrastructures, making it friendly for DevOps and app developers.
How to Go From Using a Few DevOps Tools to Full DevOps Implementation
DevOps tools are just one of the many things you need for total DevOps implementation.
You might be one of the many executives we speak to who hear great success stories of “other companies” implementing DevOps…
But you’re still struggling to make it work.
So you come to a post like this and get a better idea of the tools out there. That’s a good start, but it’s not the end goal.
The outcome you’re looking for is total integration with DevOps to bring together all the teams who would eventually interact with a new software project and allow them to collaborate simultaneously, give and receive feedback, and speed up the development and deployment cycle.
But just like the Agile methodology, DevOps can seem too frustrating and complicated to implement, leading you to settle for your current processes instead of trying something new.
That’s where we come in.
ATC specializes in DevOps consulting. We can help you:
- Audit your current processes, identify inefficiencies, align your team around a common end-state vision, and create an actionable plan for implementing DevOps.
- Assist you in setting up your “continuous delivery pipeline” and applying DevOps’ end-to-end process automation while improving security, compliance, and productivity.
- Achieve full DevOps integration in your organization and handle release management, continuous deployment, and new server setup while reducing the costs of ongoing management.
Reach out today to discover how to make DevOps work for your business.