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DevOps tools improve and accelerate software development by combining development activities with IT operations.
DevOps tools are defined as technologies that improve software development processes in line with DevOps principles (i.e., combining software development and IT operations to shorten the development lifecycle) with the aim of reducing errors, accelerating innovation, and decreasing effort requirements. This article discusses the need for DevOps tools in detail and recommends the best solutions for 2021-2022.
DevOps tools are technologies that improve software development processes in line with DevOps principles (i.e., combining software development and IT operations to shorten the development lifecycle) with the aim of reducing errors, accelerating innovation, and decreasing effort requirements.
DevOps tools can come in all shapes and sizes, i.e., open-source, commercial, cloud-based, on-premise, standalone, or a suite. However, they must have a select set of features to aid developers and IT professionals. Here are the five key features that characterize DevOps tools:
Key Features of DevOps Tools
While some software development aids are meant for business users (e.g., low code platforms and codeless automation platforms), users of DevOps tools will bring extensive technical expertise. The functionalities of your selected DevOps tool must be tailored accordingly, including tutorials, code repositories, collaborative workflows, and automation if necessary. Keep in mind that the specific feature set may vary depending on the exact role and designation of the developer in relation to the software development lifecycle. It is also helpful to have a developer community surrounding the tool to aid in versatile usage.
The tool must be able to support application development for a wide range of environments, including hybrid, private, public, and multi-cloud. This is because the cloud is rapidly becoming the default hosting environment for both enterprises and independent software vendors (ISVs). The cloud also requires faster app development with shorter iteration cycles, which the DevOps tool must be able to support. However, rather than choosing cloud-only tools, enterprises may want to go for hybrid-ready DevOps solutions so that they are interoperable across both on-premise and hybrid, public, private, or multi-cloud environments.
Continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) is a top priority for DevOps teams as it bridges the gap between build and deployment to speed up software development. According to the CI/CD framework, automation is leveraged at key stages of app development, and new code is integrated even as previously written code is tested and deployed into production. Importantly, CI/CD principles form a central pillar for agile development teams and require close collaboration between team members. Your DevOps tool must be equipped to address CI/CD use cases and support automatic release to code repositories as well as automatic deployment into production.
DevOps tools are rarely used in isolation. Typically, they are part of a larger software development technology ecosystem with other components like a code repository (e.g., GitHub), scripting user interface, testing tools, automation scripts, and more. The DevOps tool you choose must be ready for integration with its surrounding technology systems – there are three ways to achieve this:
While developer collaboration is an essential feature, as discussed earlier, the DevOps tool must also be able to support close communication and collaboration between development and operation teams. As the development team builds code, the operations team must be able to put it into production and quickly come back with feedback and iterations, if any. This synergy is at the heart of DevOps success. Therefore, the tool must provide collaboration capabilities either natively (preferable) or at least through integration with a third-party collaboration service.
See More: What Is DevOps? Definition, Goals, Methodology, and Best Practices
DevOps is now the default approach for software development and IT service management across startups and agile organizations, owing to its efficiency. According to research by Global Market Insights, DevOps technologies will be worth $17 billion by 2026, growing at 20% every year between 2020 and the end of the forecast period. In this rapidly evolving market environment, there are ten technologies you need to explore to elevate your DevOps capabilities in 2021.
Disclaimer: This list is based on publicly available information and includes vendor websites that sell to mid-to-large enterprises. Readers are advised to conduct their own final research to ensure the best fit for their unique organizational needs.
Overview: Azure DevOps is the software as a service (SaaS) version of Microsoft’s development software, Visual Studio. Launched in 2013, Azure DevOps equips you with a wide range of capabilities from agile planning to CI/CD deployment, testing, and collaboration.
Meant for: Azure DevOps is excellent for mid-sized to large software development teams.
Key features: Key features of Azure DevOps include:
USP: Microsoft Azure DevOps owns GitHub, making the integration extremely seamless. Also, Azure DevOps offers a holistic solution, supported by Microsoft’s DevOps culture.
Pricing: Pricing starts at $52 per user per month for the entire suite.
Editorial comments: Large companies looking to modernize software development and pursue rapid growth should consider Azure DevOps as their tooling partner of choice.
Overview: Bitbucket, owned by Atlassian, is among the most popular DevOps tools in the world. It is built on Git software, which is commonly used for building code blocks and tracking changes. BitBucket boasts of powerful native integrations with Jira and Trello.
Meant for: Small, mid-sized, and large software development teams using Git for code management.
Key features: Key features of Bitbucket include:
USP: Bitbucket owes its popularity to its collaboration-friendly design architecture. For DevOps teams familiar with Git-based code management, it allows multiple stakeholders to work on and push through an agile project.
Pricing: Pricing starts at $3 per user per month (free forever version available for up to five users).
Editorial comments: Bitbucket is the industry standard for GUI-based Git code management, thanks to its integration with the rest of Atlassian’s project planning tools and affordable pricing.
Overview: Founded in 2008, Chef specializes in DevOps tools and software and helps 1000+ companies around the world in their agile development projects. Chef’s tools range from infrastructure management to application delivery, using DevOps pipelines.
Meant for: Large enterprises using DevOps for infrastructure management and application delivery.
Key features: Key features of Chef include:
USP: Chef’s biggest USP is its automation capability, which streamlines application building, runtime management, testing, and security controls. You can also automate infrastructure as code to simplify IT maintenance and updates.
Pricing: Chef follows a custom pricing model based on your environment and licensing stack.
Editorial comments: Enterprises looking to transform their digital infrastructure and application landscape can consider Chef to enable a DevOps-led IT function.
Overview: Founded in 2013, Docker is a containerization company that helps to transform app development and CI/CD workflows. It also includes a ready community of container images for development use.
Meant for: Individuals, teams, and enterprises engaging in container-based app development.
Key features: Key features of Docker include:
USP: Docker is the premier platform for container-based DevOps projects. It has a localized desktop version for independent use as well as a centralized hub for enterprises.
Pricing: Docker for Teams starts at $7 per user per month.
Editorial comments: Companies looking for a containerization tool that can fit into their existing DevOps pipelines should definitely consider Docker, especially for its open-source offerings.
See More: DevOps vs. Agile Methodology: Key Differences and Similarities
Overview: HashiCorp is a Forbes Cloud 100 company founded in 2012, which provides DevOps tools to infrastructure management and application development teams. You could choose from its product portfolio, or you could implement HashiCorp Cloud – which includes Vault for security, Consul for cloud-based networking, and Terraform for infrastructure.
Meant for: Mid-sized to large enterprises.
Key features: Key features of HashiCorp include:
USP: HashiCorp automates technology deployments on the cloud, with push-button deployments, fully managed infrastructure, and centralized workflows. This addresses fragmentation and reduces technical debt.
Pricing: Capabilities are billed separately on an hourly basis.
Editorial comments: Mid-sized to large companies that want a fully managed, cloud-based DevOps platform for infrastructure management should explore HashiCorp as a potential solution.
Overview: 2012-founded development solutions provider, Incredibuild recently raised $140 million to power its rapid growth in 2020-2021. The company’s flagship product is the Incredibuild platform, which transforms application compilation, tests, and other compute-intensive development workloads.
Meant for: Companies of every size with a digital-based business model.
Key features: Key features of Incredibuild include:
USP: The most important differentiator for Incredibuild is its proprietary Virtualized Distributed Processing technology, ensuring that your compute needs are automatically and dynamically distributed across idle CPUs to speed up workloads.
Pricing: Incredibuild follows a custom pricing model.
Editorial comments: For companies with extremely resource-intensive app development needs, Incredibuild can reduce development costs and timelines.
Overview: Mattermost is an incident collaboration platform for enterprise DevOps teams, founded in 2011. In 2019, it raised $50 million in a Series B funding round and is now used by leading technology companies like SAP and Samsung.
Meant for: DevOps teams of every size requiring secure collaboration capabilities.
Key features: Key features of Mattermost include:
USP: Mattermost’s key differentiator is that it drives collaboration among DevOps teams to create a DevOps Command Center. This is aided by playbooks and templates with customizable workflows.
Pricing: Pricing starts at $10 per user per month on the cloud.
Editorial comments: Companies with a large, distributed team of DevOps and IT professionals can leverage Mattermost to speed up infrastructure management.
Overview: Maven is a DevOps tool primarily used for Java projects, but it is also compatible with C#, Ruby, Scala, and other languages. It is an open-source solution hosted by the Apache Software Foundation, originally launched in 2004.
Meant for: Individuals and small DevOps teams.
Key features: Key features of Maven include:
USP: The biggest USP of Apache Maven is its open-source nature and its ease of use. With Apache infrastructure looking after the build, you can get started with Maven in as little as ten minutes.
Pricing: Maven is free for use.
Editorial comments: Maven is an excellent starting point for startups and software development teams looking to embrace DevOps principles.
See More: DevOps Roadmap: 7-Step Complete Guide
Overview: Established in 2005, Puppet provides DevOps tools to automate software delivery and operations. Puppet has standalone solutions for self-service automation, code-based compliance, workflow automation, and infrastructure security, as well as a holistic Puppet Enterprise platform.
Meant for: Companies managing complex infrastructure and app environments.
Key features: Key features of Puppet include:
USP: Puppet’s USP is its ability to generate data-driven insights into DevOps efficacy through its Impact Analysis module and value reports.
Pricing: Puppet follows a custom pricing model.
Editorial comments: Puppet offers a good mix of enterprise and open-source tools to address various enterprise DevOps use cases, particularly infrastructure as code deployments.
Overview: SonarQube is an open-source platform by SonarSource that helps you ensure code quality through continuous inspection. It was originally launched in 2006 for Java-based applications and now supports 20+ programming languages.
Meant for: Independent developers and startup teams.
Key features: Key features of SonarQube include:
USP: SonarQube enables a whole breadth of features and capabilities in an open-source format. It allows DevOps teams to maintain a very high standard of code quality without adding to costs or timelines.
Pricing: It is free for use.
Editorial comments: SonarQube is used by 200+ developer teams around the world – it can be a game-changing tool for individuals or teams looking to boost their DevOps productivity.
Here are the key highlights of these tools for your reference.
See More: Top 10 DevOps Automation Tools in 2021
DevOps is now a crucial part of digital transformation and enterprise performance, beyond only core software development. According to the 2020 DevOps Trends Survey by Atlassian, DevOps success directly impacts business metrics in 90% of cases. However, 85% of respondents also said that they face barriers in DevOps implementation.
The above tools can help break down the barriers to entry and allow companies to make full use of their DevOps potential. With error-free code, faster release cycles, and stringent security, it is possible to accelerate digital transformation and gain a competitive advantage against your market peers.
Which DevOps tool would you recommend to our readers in 2021-2022? Tell us on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook. We would love to hear from you!
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