17 Best DevOps Tools to Use in 2022 for Infrastructure Automation and Monitoring
You must adopt proper infrastructure automation if you want to enable your teams to achieve faster application delivery while eliminating human errors. Automation of servers, deployment environments, configuration management, and deployments play a vital role in getting a competitive advantage for your product. Monitoring both the infrastructure and application is equally important as well.
In this article, we will discuss top tools for infrastructure automation and monitoring.
Morgan PerryAugust 7, 2022 · 7 min read
CRO and co-founder of Qovery. Morgan is a Tech entrepreneur with 7+ years of experience in the SaaS industry.See all articles
Let’s start with Infrastructure as Code (IaC) and Configuration Management.
Infrastructure as Code / Configuration Management
Infrastructure as code (IaC) allows you to provision your cloud infrastructure automatically. Whether it is VMs, databases, cloud networks, security, etc., you can create a JSON or YAML template mentioning all the details and then use it as a blueprint for creating similar environments automatically. Configuration management, on the other hand, does not target the provisioning of any of the infrastructure. It manages the server configuration of a cluster of servers and makes sure that server configuration is automatically maintained in all the servers in the server cluster. Whereas Infrastructure-as-Code automates the infrastructure, configuration management automates the configuration of the servers. Let’s review some of the top tools for IaC and configuration management.
Terraform is a vendor-independent infrastructure provisioning tool. It is owned by Hashicorp. It can be used for the automatic creation of any of the cloud services, including networks, services, firewalls, databases, etc. Terraform is so popular because it is not tied to any particular cloud vendor, so you can easily move from one cloud to another. It is open source and has great community support. Terraform code is written in its own domain-specific language called HCL, which means it has a slight learning curve.
Pulumi is also an IaC tool that is similar to terraform. You can provision almost every cloud service using Pulumi. Pulumi has an advantage over Terraform in terms of testing and building the scripts. Unlike Terraform, Pulumi allows you to write its code in any of the modern programming languages like python, java, typescript, etc. That gives you better support for debugging and testing. However, the community support for Pulumi is small as compared to terraform.
Want to know what you should use between Terraform and Pulumi? Read our comparison guide
Ansible is a powerful configuration management tool that is used to automate versioned software component installation, OS configuration tasks, network and firewall configuration, etc. If you have separate sets of servers for staging and production, for example, then ansible can help you write scripts that can be used to automate and manage the server configuration for each of these sets. Ansible scripts are written in Yaml.
Continuous integration is the practice of frequently combining and merging different developers' code so that the application build could be tested as often as possible. As soon as you commit the code, the build process runs and creates the build for testing. Some of the best tools for continuous integration are the following:
CircleCI is a CI/CD platform that helps you build and run build pipelines. Through CircleCI, you can automate the building and testing of your application on every commit. It has a modern and very user-friendly interface. It supports many complex build pipelines. It has both free and paid versions available.
5. Github Actions
While many companies are already using Github for code hosting, they were looking for the existing code repository to support its own integrated CI/CD workflow. Github Actions is a powerful feature that lets you build, test and deploy your application across different platforms. If you already use Github as your source code repository, your top choice for continuous integration would be Github actions.
6. Gitlab CI
Gitlab CI is also a powerful tool for continuous integration. Like Github actions, it uses YAML files and supports docker. The auto DevOps feature of Gitlab helps users with different tasks, including building and testing applications, detecting the code language, deploying the application, and scanning for vulnerabilities.
After the continuous integration of code is done, the next step is continuous deployment and delivery. Let’s review some of the best tools for continuous delivery/deployment, which take care of not just the deployment automation but infrastructure automation as well.
Harness is a modern software delivery platform. After the continuous integration is done on your code and the build is ready, Harness will take the build artifacts from “build” stage to “production”. It runs as a SaaS, supports a GitOps style of development, hooks into your Git repository, and has secret management as well. It has excellent integrations with Kubernetes. Harness takes the artifacts, and Kubernetes manifests you provide and deploys them to the desired Kubernetes cluster.
Codefresh is an all-in-one solution that implements the whole code pipeline from start to finish. It handles all the aspects of DevOps, from the moment the commit is created until it is deployed to production. It has a powerful set of plugins that includes Helm and many other popular CI/CD tools like Jenkins. It has native support for Kubernetes clusters, not only for deploying applications but also for running pipelines on Kubernetes too.
Helm is a Kubernetes deployment manager to automate your application's creation, packaging, configuration, and deployment to Kubernetes clusters. Managing Kubernetes YAML manifest files, even for simple deployment, can be time-consuming and error-prone. Helm makes life easier by creating a single package that can be deployed to your Kubernetes cluster.
Kubernetes automates the deployment and operations of cloud-native applications at scale. It is the best open-source container orchestration tool in the market. Kubernetes automates container deployments across different infrastructure environments and makes sure all the resources are utilized efficiently.
Environment as service (EaaS) is an emerging category and adopted by many DevOps teams. Through EaaS, you can quickly deploy and facilitate pre-configured environments easily and on demand. On-demand environment is the core of EaaS. An on-demand environment is a full fledge deployment environment that can be provisioned automatically through EaaS. Automatic provisioning of the environment can help you market your product faster, improve mutual collaboration between team members and take your product to the next level through rapid release cycles.
Qovery has built a modern platform to deploy on-demand environments on AWS in just a few seconds. Through the “Clone” environment feature, you can create an on-demand replica of your staging, UAT, production, or any other environment with great simplicity. Another killing feature is the Preview Environments, where you can automatically get a replica of your production environment (including applications, databases, and configuration) on every pull request, so you can test your changes confidently without affecting your production.
Securing your configuration is a crucial aspect of secure SDLC. Here are some top tools for saving your environment variables and configuration in a secure form.
Doppler is a multi-cloud SecretOps Platform used by developers and security teams to manage their application secrets in a secure manner. It serves as a central source of truth for secrets and app configuration. It supports docker, serverless, and all the cloud vendors. It is the first choice by developers if your application has secrets to be organized by microservices, CI/CD, and multi-cloud deployment platforms.
Vault is a Secret Manager from Hashicorp, the same company behind Terraform. It has an extensive list of integrations, primarily focusing on authentication and secret storage. It is key-value-based secure storage, and you can secure access to tokens, passwords, certificates, encryption keys, etc.
Find below some of the top tools for keeping an eye on your cloud infrastructure:
Grafana is an open-source platform for observability and data visualization. It allows you to view your cloud services, infrastructure, and networks through a user-friendly dashboard available online and accessible across all devices.
Datadog is a proprietary SaaS-based analytics and monitoring tool for the DevOps teams. With Datadog, teams can determine performance metrics and event monitoring for your cloud-based infrastructure. Like Grafana, Datadog also supports Kubernetes monitoring.
Newrelic is also a SaaS tool that monitors the performance and availability of your applications and infrastructure. Newrelic also provides real-time monitoring of your application. It is the ideal choice if you want detailed performance monitoring of your cloud-based application.
Prometheus is a monitoring tool for your cloud-native environments. It is used for event monitoring and alerting. It is open source and has strong support for Kubernetes monitoring. It is one of the easiest and simpler tools for monitoring your infrastructure and applications.
Infrastructure automation is key to success for every DevOps team. It is not easy to pick an infrastructure automation and monitoring tool best suited for your needs. Many factors like cost, skillset, features, UI/UX, etc. play a decisive role in choosing the right tool for your business. The best choice is not to use just one tool. Instead, use a combination of tools suited to your needs.
At Qovery, we also use many tools as part of the DevOps suite. These include the following:
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