Top useful and most popular DevOps Tools

Ashish Patel
DevOps Mojo
Published in
9 min readMar 21, 2022

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Best open source DevOps Tools and Technologies.

DevOps Mojo: DevOps Tools

The purpose of this article is to introduce most popular and widely used DevOps tools to build enterprise-grade cloud native applications.

Container Orchestration: Kubernetes

Kubernetes (also known as K8s) is the most popular open source container orchestration platform which automates the deployment, management, scaling, networking, and availability of containerized applications.

Kubernetes groups containers that make up an application into logical units for easy management and discovery. It schedules workloads onto cluster nodes and actively manages them to ensure that their state matches the users’ intentions.

Kubernetes was originally designed by Google and is now maintained by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF).

Features

  • Automate the process of managing hundreds of containers.
  • Automated rollouts, rollbacks, and scaling.
  • Run anywhere: on-premise, hybrid, or public cloud.

Managed Kubernetes Services

  • Amazon EKS
  • Azure AKS
  • Google GKE

Alternatives

  • Docker Swarm
  • Apache Mesos
  • RedHat OpenShift
  • Rancher
  • HashiCorp Nomad
  • Docker Compose

Containerization: Docker

Docker is a free and open source platform used to build, ship and run an application as a lightweight container. With Docker, you don’t have to worry about dependency management. Docker packages software into standardized units called containers that have everything the software needs to run including libraries, binaries, configuration files, system tools, code, and runtime. Using Docker, you can quickly deploy, test and scale applications into any environment and know your code will run.

Docker ensures the same environment is made available across all stages of the DevOps cycle from dev to staging to production. It allows DevOps teams to build, ship, and run distributed applications.

Docker is often used synonymously with container technologies becasuse Docker is a forerunner in containerization.

Features

  • Provides a consistent and isolated environment.
  • Isolates apps in containers to eliminate conflicts for enhancing security.
  • Makes distributed development possible.
  • Gives rapid deployment, trial run, and rollback capabilities.

Managed Docker Container Registry

  • Amazon Elastic Container Registry (ECR)
  • Azure Container Registry (ACR)
  • Google Container Registry (GCR)
  • Docker Hub

Alternatives

  • Containerd
  • CRI-O
  • rkt
  • LXD
  • Podman

Infrastructure as Code (IaC): Terraform

HashiCorp Terraform is an open-source infrastructure-as-a-code software tool that provides a consistent CLI workflow to manage hundreds of cloud services.

You can define and provide data center infrastructure using a declarative configuration language known as HashiCorp Configuration Language (HCL), or optionally JSON. Terraform codifies cloud APIs into declarative configuration files. Terraform helps organizations improve productivity, reduce risk, and increase business velocity as they integrate cloud into their IT environments.

Features

  • Re-usability with Modules and Workspaces.
  • Remote State Management and Data Sharing.
  • Workspaces for Organizing Infrastructure.
  • Version Control Integration.
  • Auto-rollback feature upon failure.

Alternatives

  • Pulumi
  • AWS CloudFormation
  • Azure ARM Template/Azure Bicep
  • Google Cloud Deployment Manager

Configuration Management: Ansible

RedHat Ansible is an open-source software provisioning, configuration management, and application deployment tool enabling infrastructure as code to implement enterprise-wide automation.

Ansible works without installing any agents or daemons, instead it connects via SSH or remote PowerShell to execute its tasks. It requires playbooks (YAML files) to be created which incorporate configurations, deployment, and orchestration rules and then executed on Ansible-managed nodes.

Features

  • 750+ built-in modules for automating, configuring, deploying, and orchestrating the IT infrastructure.
  • It is an ideal tool to manage complex deployments and speed up development process.
  • To ensure that automation runs consistently across multiple platforms.
  • No servers, daemons, or databases required for Ansible to work.

Alternatives

  • Chef
  • Puppet

CI/CD: Jenkins

Jenkins is an open source automation server that helps automate the parts of software development related to building, testing, and deploying, facilitating continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery (CD).

The main reason for Jenkins’ popularity is its huge plugin ecosystem which enables it integrates with almost all DevOps tools, including Docker, Puppet, Octopus Deploy, and more.

Jenkins is one of the most popular DevOps automation tools in the market.

Features

  • Supported operating systems are Linux, Windows, and macOS X.
  • 2,000+ plugins that simplify configuration and customization to meet specific requirements.
  • Can distribute tasks across multiple machines thereby increasing concurrency.

Alternatives

  • GitHub Actions
  • Azure DevOps Pipeline
  • AWS CodePipeline
  • GitLab
  • TeamCity
  • CircleCI
  • TravisCI

GitOps: Argo CD

ArgoCD is a declarative, GitOps continuous delivery tool for Kubernetes that helps with your GitOps workflows. ArgoCD follows the GitOps pattern of using Git repositories as the source of truth for defining the desired application state which specified in different form such as plain Kubernetes YAML manifests, Helm Charts, Kustomize Applications, etc.

ArgoCD helps to implement application deployment and lifecycle management automated, auditable, and easy to understand.

Argo CD is implemented as a kubernetes controller which continuously monitors running applications and compares the current, live state against the desired target state (as specified in the Git repo).

Features

  • Ability to manage and deploy to multiple clusters.
  • Health status analysis of application resources.
  • Automated configuration drift detection and visualization.
  • Automated or manual syncing of applications to its desired state.
  • Multi-tenancy and RBAC policies for authorization.
  • Web UI which provides real-time view of application activity.

Alternatives

  • Flux CD
  • Jenkins X

Kubernetes Package Manager: Helm

Helm helps you manage Kubernetes applications. You can define, install, and upgrade even the most complex Kubernetes application.
Helm has three main components:

Chart is a Helm package. It contains all of the resource definitions necessary to run an application, tool, or service inside of a Kubernetes cluster. Helm Chart is Kubernetes equivalent of yum or apt in Linux. Charts are easy to create, version, share, and publish.

Repository is the place where charts can be collected and shared.

Release is an instance of a chart running in a Kubernetes cluster. One chart can often be installed many times into the same cluster. And each time it is installed, a new release is created.

Features

  • Can use the same chart for any environment which reduces duplication and complexity of creating something for dev, test and prod.
  • Boosts productivity by allowing software to deploy their test environments at the click of a button.

Alternatives

  • Kustomize

Service Mesh: Istio

Istio is an open source service mesh — a modernized service networking layer that provides a transparent and language independent way to flexibly and easily automate application network functions onto distributed applications.

It is a popular solution for managing the different microservices that make up a cloud-native application. Istio service mesh also supports how microservices communicate and share data with one another. Istio extends Kubernetes to establish a programmable, application-aware network using the powerful Envoy service proxy.

Features

  • Secure service-to-service communication in a cluster with TLS encryption, strong identity-based authentication and authorization.
  • Fine-grained control of traffic behavior with rich routing rules, retries, failovers, and fault injection.
  • Automatic load balancing for HTTP, gRPC, WebSocket, and TCP traffic.
  • Pluggable policy layer and configuration API supporting access controls, rate limits and quotas.

Alternatives

  • Linkerd
  • Apigee
  • Envoy
  • Consul
  • AWS App Mesh

Monitoring & Alerting (Observability): Prometheus

Prometheus is an open-source systems monitoring and alerting toolkit originally built at SoundCloud. Prometheus collects and stores its metrics as time series data from monitored targets (i.e. metrics information is stored with the timestamp at which it was recorded).

Prometheus collects metrics from monitored targets by scraping metrics HTTP endpoints on targets. In a world of microservices, its support for multi-dimensional data collection and querying is a particular strength.

Features

  • Flexible query language (PromQL) for slicing collected time series data to generate tables, graphs, and alerts.
  • It has easy-to-implement custom libraries.
  • Alert manager handles notifications and silencing.

Alternatives

  • InfluxDB
  • OpenTSDB
  • Graphite
  • Nagios

Visualization (Observability): Grafana

Grafana is a multi-platform open source analytics and interactive visualization web application. Grafana is a complete observability stack that allows you to monitor and analyze metrics, logs and traces by providing charts, graphs, and alerts for the web when connected to supported data sources.

Grafana allows you to query, visualize, alert on and understand your data no matter where it is stored. It provides you with tools to turn your time-series database (TSDB) data into insightful graphs and visualizations.

Features

  • Dashboard templating - build dashboards that can be reused for different purposes and shared among your organization’s teams.
  • Custom plugins - You can use plugins to extend Grafana and integrate it with other software, visualizations, and more. Anything that produces a timestamp and a value can be visualized in Grafana with just a few lines of code.
  • Alerting and alert hooks - events can be reported to the monitoring team through Slack or some other communication channel.
  • Authentication - supports a variety of authentication styles, including LDAP and OAuth, and lets you map users to organizations.

Alternatives

  • Kibana

Log Aggregation (Observability): Grafana Loki

Grafana Loki is an open source, set of components that can be composed into a fully featured logging stack. It is a log aggregation system designed to store and query logs from all your applications and infrastructure.

Loki is optimized for efficiently holding log data. Unlike other logging systems, Loki is built around the idea of only indexing metadata about your logs: labels (just like Prometheus labels). A small index and highly compressed chunks simplifies the operation and significantly lowers the cost of Loki.

Features

  • Efficient memory usage for indexing the logs.
  • Multi-tenancy - Loki allows multiple tenants to utilize a single Loki instance.
  • LogQL, Loki’s query language - for generating queries against the logs. The language also facilitates the generation of metrics from log data, a powerful feature that goes well beyond log aggregation.
  • Grafana integration - Loki seamlessly integrates with Grafana, providing a complete observability stack.

Alternatives

  • Logstash
  • Seq

Log Collector (Observability): Fluentd

Fluentd is an open source data collector for unified logging layer which allows you to unify data collection and consumption for a better use and understanding of data.

It collects events from various data sources and writes them to files, RDBMS, NoSQL, IaaS, SaaS, Hadoop and so on. It helps you unify your logging infrastructure.

Features

  • Decouples data sources from backend systems by providing a unified logging layer in between.
  • 500+ community-contributed plugins connect dozens of data sources and data outputs to extend its functionality.
  • Built-in reliability.
  • Minimum resources requirement.

Alternatives

  • Splunk
  • New Relic
  • DataDog

Log Processor (Observability): Fluent Bit

Fluent Bit is a robust, super fast, lightweight, and highly scalable logging and metrics processor and forwarder. It is the preferred choice for cloud and containerized environments.

Fluent Bit enables you to collect logs and metrics from multiple sources, enrich them with filters, and distribute them to any defined destination. It has portable architecture for high throughput with low CPU and memory usage from any data source to any destination (such as Fluentd, Elasticsearch, Splunk, DataDog, Kafka, New Relic, Azure services, AWS services, Google services, NATS, InfluxDB or any custom HTTP end-point).

The combination of Fluentd and Fluent Bit is becoming popular in Kubernetes deployments because of the way they compliment each other — Fluent Bit acting as a lightweight shipper collecting data from the different nodes in the cluster and forwarding the data to Fluentd for aggregation, processing and routing to any of the supported output destinations.

Features

  • Optimized data parsing and routing.
  • Prometheus and OpenTelemetry compatible.
  • Stream processing functionality.
  • Built in buffering and error-handling capabilities.

Alternatives

  • Telegraf
  • collectd
  • StatsD

Tracing (Distributed): Jaeger

Jaeger is an open-source APM tool developed at Uber, later donated to CNCF. It is a distributed tracing system inspired by Google’s Dapper. It is used for monitoring and troubleshooting microservices-based distributed systems.

Features

  • Distributed context propagation.
  • Distributed transaction monitoring.
  • Root cause analysis.
  • Service dependency analysis.
  • Performance / latency optimization.

Alternatives

  • Zipkin
  • Appdash
  • DataDog
  • Splunk
  • New Relic

Infrastructure Monitoring (APM): Nagios

Nagios is an open-source computer-software application that monitors systems, networks, infrastructure and alert services for servers, switches, applications, and services. It alerts users when things go wrong and alert them a second time when the problem has been resolved.

With Nagios, you can keep records of events, outages, and failures. It helps you monitor your infrastructure to find and fix problems. It provides a nice GUI interface to check various details like how much memory is used, what is the fan speed, routing tables of switches, state of SQL server, etc.

Features

  • Helps to monitors components like applications, services, OS, network protocols.
  • It provides two methods for Server monitoring. agent-based and agentless.
  • Provides complete monitoring of desktop and server operating systems.
  • Network Analyzer helps in identifying bottlenecks and optimize bandwidth utilization.

Alternatives

  • Zabbix
  • NetXMS
  • OP5

Version Control: Git

Git is a free and open source distributed version control system designed to handle everything from small to very large projects with speed and efficiency. It is a distributed SCM (Source Code Management) tool which allows you to track the progress of your development work by remote teams and open source contributors.

Git is very easy to use and maintain version control artifacts. You can save different versions of your source code and return to a previous version when necessary.

Features

  • Provide various options for managing code repositories and collaboration between team members to manage codebases and branches.
  • Direct integration with IDEs like Visual Studio, Eclipse, VS Code, etc.

Git Hosting Services

  • GitHub
  • Bitbucket
  • GitLab
  • Azure Repos
  • AWS CodeCommit

Alternatives

  • SVN
  • Mercurial
  • ClearCase
  • RTC
  • TFS

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Ashish Patel
DevOps Mojo

Cloud Architect • 4x AWS Certified • 6x Azure Certified • 1x Kubernetes Certified • MCP • .NET • Terraform • DevOps • Blogger [https://bit.ly/iamashishpatel]