3 DevOps Tools for Automating IT Management
DevOps Tools 101
Many IT Organizations are using DevOps for improving their IT Operations through the use of automation tools and specialized team arrangements.
Three of the most common tools showing up on job descriptions are: Chef, Puppet, and Github.
This is group of tools combined with many other software tools are also referred to as a DevOps toolchain.
Each tool on the toolchain serves a unique purpose. For example:
- Chef offers deployment and configuration changes via automated services.
- Puppet offers environment and configuration management also via automated services.
- Github is for managing code and script repositories. It's used for keeping track of all the scripts and code used by the many DevOps tools on the toolchain.
Some other important factors for each of these tools are: They all have a broad opensource community to help develop knowledge and find support. And they can all be hosted locally or in the cloud.
Although these 3 DevOps tools are used the most, new automation tools are showing up on the web all the time with amazing features for managing IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS.
Another thing to note is many of the DevOps tools already available are tailored more for Linux and opensource environments. But as new versions are released, more compatibility is being added to support Windows environments.
And if this isn't enough, there are even free virtual appliances available that can be downloaded and imported directly into VMware and Openstack. These appliances are opensource as-well and are pre-configured so there is very little set-up involved.
As you can see, there's an unlimited amount of free and opensource options available to get you started.
What's the Future of IT & DevOps?
Right now one of the biggest challenges organizations are having with DevOps is finding people with the raw skills necessary to create the custom scripts needed to use many of the DevOps tools available.
Unlike the typical SysAdmin, there's a unique skill-set required for the new role of DevOps which frankly most SysAdmins aren't trained for, yet.
Here's a basic DevOps skill-set summary:
- Requires a high level of programming, scripting (all languages)
- Deep understanding of web services used for accessing and executing commands via an APIs using REST or SOAP calls
- Troubleshooting and debugging code issues
- Writing hotfixes to solve code issues
- Works closely with software developers
As you can see, this goes beyond what most admins are scripting. It's a completely new role.
I believe there are interesting times ahead to watch out for. We'll have to wait and see how IT changes as the cloud evolves and more IT organizations transform their IT Operations from legacy into DevOps cultures.
It's already begun and the race is on to automate, and yet sadly - the majority of IT managers can barely leverage DevOps tools for automating basic maintenance.
But the basics won’t be enough to keep up with the NetFlix’s or Facebook’s who have 1000s of servers that are already automatically being managed with such tools.
And it’s not only the huge IT organizations using these types of tools, your competitors are likely using them too.
In the future, if you are limited like many legacy organizations are today with weekly maintenance windows you will lose!
Without the ability to combine DevOp tools with special skills and people, many companies will not be able to keep up with their competition.
In today world everyone has services on the web that require updating. Without the ability to make changes that are transparent to website users, which means no interrupting the people paying the bills, the future will be very bleak for some.
Get started using DevOps tools today!
The tools we discussed are all opensource and can be downloaded for free. Start with a small test lab and gradually build up to fully automated releases. Within a few months you will wonder how you managed your IT without these tools for so long.