Best DevOps Tools for 2021

DevOps has been with us now for several years. Above all, it should be regarded as an operating philosophy. It requires people who are familiar with the DevOps mindset and are skilled at implementing the practices that make DevOps successful in a company. It also requires the best DevOps tools, the ones that offer agility and flexibility.

Read more: Key DevOps Principles & Practices for Success

Best DevOps Tools

CIO Insight reviewed a variety of DevOps tools. Here are our top picks, in no particular order.

Docker

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Docker’s developer tools are a set of Docker CLI plugins that make it easier to build, test, and share containerized applications and microservices. Extending the functionality of Docker Engine, Compose, and other Docker APIs, these tools enhance collaboration. They augment normal code-build-test cycles.

Key Differentiators

  • Integrates directly with most development environments
  • Used by millions of developers, with over 650,000 Compose files on GitHub
  • Simplifies the code-to-cloud process and toolchain for developers, allowing them to define a complex stack in a single file and run it with a single command
  • Eliminates the need to build and start every container manually
  • Docker Context makes it easy to switch between multiple Docker and Kubernetes environments
  • Configure a complete CI/CD container workflow with automated builds and actions triggered after each successful push to the Docker Hub registry

Splunk

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Splunk can do a lot of things. It can pull together metrics from a great many platforms for IT management and security analysis. It also delivers insight from machine data and large data repositories and logs. The company offers these services in DevOps, too.

Key Differentiators

  • Automated observability to reduce troubleshooting
  • Maintains application availability with instant feedback into the behavior of critical business systems
  • Real-time visibility into the full software stack
  • Observe all data to instantly understand and optimize infrastructure and applications
  • Log Observer brings Splunk logging to SREs, DevOps engineers, and developers
  • Splunk Infrastructure Monitoring and Splunk Application Performance Monitoring are available to help avoid downtime, as well as monitoring and troubleshooting

DxEnterprise

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DxEnterprise (DxE) enables DevOps to manage deployment and achieve maximum uptime for multiple database container workloads, such as SQL Server availability groups inside or outside Kubernetes.

The company is currently offering free developer editions. DxE is a multi-platform smart availability software solution built for Linux, Windows, and Docker. It leverages clustering and SDP technology to support highly available DevOps environments with multiple database containers across multiple teams and infrastructure types, such as hybrid and multi-cloud.

Key Differentiators

  • Can be used to manage multiple database container workloads inside and outside Kubernetes
  • Supports any Docker container on Linux or Windows, including Oracle, MySQL, PostgreSQL, MariaDB, and MongoDB
  • Supports cloud-native container environments, including Kubernetes clusters, across mixed environments and any type of infrastructure
  • DxE is particularly optimized for containerized Microsoft SQL Server deployments on any platform
  • Integrates with on-premises and cloud storage
  • GUI or command-line-interface (CLI)
  • Does not require DevOps to standardize the entire database environment on one version/edition of OS and database

Jenkins

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Jenkins is an open-source continuous integration server that automates the complete build cycle of a software project. It can be utilized by the developers to automatically commit code into a repository, run test cases, and see reports from testing.

Key Differentiators

  • Provides instant feedback if a particular sprint is leading to a broken build
  • Written in Java, it is easy to install and configure
  • Goes beyond merging the texts of numerous developers to testing them simultaneously
  • The process is automated, as every piece of merged code is at a production-ready stage at every point

Opsani

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Opsani Continuous Optimization as a Service uses ML/AI to continuously, autonomously tune key parameters for improved reliability, scalability, and efficiency. Opsani tunes the runtime infrastructure to the workload and business performance goals.

Key Differentiators

  • Uses ML/AI to autonomously tune workloads
  • Offloads developers from the guesswork of setting parameters
  • Improves user experience through higher resilience and better performance of SaaS applications
  • Minimizes the expenses related to delivering SaaS products
  • Can work in conjunction with other cost optimization tools like Spot.io and Cloudability

Netenrich

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Netenrich Resolution Intelligence is an operations intelligence platform. It’s built from the ground up to help enterprises resolve problems for stable, secure environments and infrastructures. It streamlines threat detection, incident response, SRE, and DevOps via self-learning machines trained with research, investigation, and remediation actions.

Key Differentiators

  • Service oriented ops monitoring and incident management
  • Asset view and visualization, as well as insights dashboards
  • Contextual and actionable intelligence
  • Takes data from all sources (monitoring, logs, ITSM, CMDB, etc.) to paint an end-to-end picture of a how a business service is performing
  • Supports cloud native or hybrid environments
  • Integrations into collaboration tools and CI/CD keep the smallest group of resolvers needed focused on maximizing the digital experience of customers

Buoyant

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Linkerd is the pioneer of the service mesh category of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation. Linkerd’s SaaS service, Buoyant Cloud provides a global, cross-cluster view of Linkerd’s behavior so users can monitor and report on Linkerd best practices.

It provides a set of features for Kubernetes adopters, including observability features like key metrics, security features like transparent mutual TLS, and reliability features like traffic shifting and automatic request retries. Its core DevOps value is that by moving these features out of the application and delivering them at the platform level, it decouples the platform team from the application developer teams, allowing both to work independently.

Key Differentiators

  • Uses a specialized Rust-based micro-proxy, rather than a general-purpose proxy written in insecure languages like C++
  • Minimal runtime footprint, and consumes very little memory or compute resources
  • Requires zero configuration, even for sophisticated features such as mutual TLS
  • Can be deployed with no disruption to application

CloudBees

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The CloudBees DevOps technology platform enables developers to build software alongside risk mitigation, compliance, and governance tools.

It enables enterprises to optimize their software delivery process for increased innovation and security by connecting, automating, and orchestrating the tools and functions across development, operations, and shared service teams.

Key Differentiators

  • New compliance module is coming soon with real-time compliance and risk analysis capabilities that span all aspects of software delivery, from commit through production
  • CloudBees is built on the Jenkins automation server
  • Takes the manual effort and risk out of releasing software by making the value stream delivery process reliable, repeatable, and secure at any speed or scale
  • Analytics to measure, audit, and improve results
  • Control over every software release

Slack

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Acquired by Salesforce, Slack gained a reputation as one of the top communication tools used by teams for collaboration on projects. It offers insight into workflows and a way to ship better code in less time by bringing tools, teammates, and code changes together.

Key Differentiators

  • Pipes real-time alerts into channels automatically
  • Runs parallel investigations to find answers quickly
  • Brings documentation into channels for informed decisions pre-code
  • Establishes a single place for code review and testing
  • Integrates tools to boost deployment visibility and automates away low-value, routine tasks
  • Connects with tens of thousands of tools like GitHub, Jenkins, Jira, PagerDuty, and more

DxOdyssey

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DxOdyssey enables DevOps to build encrypted micro-tunnels that span isolated networks to connect containers for secure multi-cloud service communications. This hides security and networking complexity throughout the application lifecycle. A free version is available.

Key Differentiators

  • Lightweight software that enables DevOps to create highly available container-level micro-tunnels across any mix of locations and platforms
  • DxOdyssey’s unVPN technology gives users app-level access, rather than network-level access, reducing attack surface
  • Software Defined Perimeter grants connectivity to distributed containers
  • Can be installed on any Linux or Windows machine as a gateway
  • No “controller” node in the middle, with servers and users invisible to the outside world
  • Should a tunnel origin or destination become unavailable for any reason, it can fail over to another gateway in the group
  • Can be integrated into DH2i DxEnterprise clustering

Key Features of DevOps

DevOps tools come in many forms and capabilities. Some are older development tools reworked to allow DevOps functionality. Others were developed solely with DevOps in mind. There are also those that venture into the Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) field.

All of them, in some capacity or another, fill a need in the DevOps tool chain from a code, build, test, deploy standpoint. A few of them also help with the operate and monitor phases. Some tools focus on well-written code that makes it rapidly into production. Others are able to measure performance and take action in the case of anomalous behavior.

Clearly, there are a great many variations among DevOps toolsets. But that is because DevOps is more of a process and approach than a specific technology. The Google DevOps Research and Assessment team (DORA) just released the 2021 Accelerate State of DevOps Report. It lays out the key factors for DevOps success and what the top performers are doing:

  • Elite performers have decreased their lead times for changes to production showing that the industry continues to accelerate. Those doing so see meaningful benefits.
  • Those teams leveraging operational practices outlined in SRE gain higher performance, with those prioritizing both delivery and operational excellence doing the best overall.
  • Moving workloads to the cloud is a vital element of DevOps success.
  • Integrating security practices throughout the software supply chain has become a necessity in DevOps.
  • Good internal documentation contributes to high quality software.
  • Team culture helps deliver better code.

Read next: Top Cloud Computing Companies for 2021

Drew Robb
Drew Robb has been writing about IT and engineering for more than 25 years. Originally from Scotland, he now lives in Florida.

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