5 Best DevOps Automation tools comparison in 2020

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best devops automation tools comparison

Looking for the best and most secure tools for DevOps automation?

The term DevOps is used in multiple ways, but in its broadest meaning, DevOps is an operational culture that aims at continuous development and integration, and rapid IT service delivery by promoting better communication and improved collaboration between developers and operators. It has become an integral part of different industry sectors, from startups to large enterprises are leveraging DevOps tools to support their business processes, and project planning until delivery.

With the increasing use of cloud computing and virtualization platforms, the need for new services has increased. The DevOps helps organizations respond in a more agile manner to changing business requirements by:

  • Automating and monitoring the process of software creation -from integration, testing, releasing to deploying and managing it.
  • Reducing development cycles.
  • Increasing the frequency of deployment.
  • Streamlining the development and release pipeline.

Thus, using agile DevOps, the development and operations team can work together more efficiently and deliver applications and services at a faster pace. Also, they can roll out machine level changes in the multi-server environments by using DevOps automation/configuration management tools.

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IT industry is flooded with many new DevOps tools which come with various features and this makes embracing the right DevOps platform or configuration management tool a bit difficult.

Related read: Top 5 collaboration tools for DevOps teams

Comparison of top DevOps automation tools: Ansible vs Chef vs Docker vs Kubernetes vs Puppet

Walk through this post where we have compared top 5 best DevOps automation tools – Docker vs Kubernetes vs Puppet vs Chef vs Ansible to make things simpler for you.

1. Ansible

Ansible is another simple but powerful DevOps continuous delivery tool. This server and configuration management tool makes IT automation simple as it ends repetitive tasks and enables faster application deployments, thus allowing DevOps teams to perform more strategic work. It automates configuration management, orchestration, application deployment, cloud provisioning, and a number of other IT requirements.

The ecosystem of Ansible comes with the option to write custom applications. It can be used to make changes in newly-deployed machines and to reconfigure them.

Ansible Tower, powered by Red Hat, enables secure management and control of multi-tier complex deployments and boosts productivity.

The difference between Ansible and the above configuration management tools (Puppet, Chef) is that Ansible is mostly used for configuration deployment and is simpler in comparison to other DevOps tools.

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2. Chef

Chef, the configuration management tool, delivers fast, scalable, and flexible automation of web-scale IT. Chef automation tool uses ‘recipes’ for web-server configuration, databases, and load balancers. The recipes, which Chef uses to automate infrastructure tasks are in the form of instructions. They help in defining the infrastructure components and how those components can be easily deployed, configured and managed.

Below diagram shows you how Chef code is developed, tested, and deployed.

DevOps automation tools chef

Chef’s configuration policy enables users to define infrastructure as code, test configuration updates, development infrastructure and cloud instance with its development tools.

Chef, the most notable Infrastructure as Code (IAC) tool, runs the software in client-server mode (Chef-server) and ‘Chef-solo’, the standalone configuration, packages the configurations into JSON files called ‘cookbooks’.

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3. Dockerdocker DevOps automation tools

Docker is a software container technology platform that enables its users to create, deploy, run, and manage applications within the containers. Build on Linux Containers (LxC), it gives freedom to application/infrastructure developers and IT operation teams to create virtual environments and provides a platform for improved innovation and collaboration.

Docker’s design is modular which allows its users to build applications securely, both on-premises and in the cloud – it integrates well with the existing environments.

Docker containers run within the kernel of the host machine and they don’t require additional hypervisor load, so they are lightweight. Docker Engine, the client-server application, includes a daemon process (the dockerd command), a REST API to specify the interfaces that programs use to interact to the daemon, and a command line interface (CLI) client.

Docker’s client-server architecture enables the client to work with daemon – which helps the clients build, pull and run along with the distribution of containers.

Its standardization feature enables developers to analyze and fix bugs in the applications, as well as change Docker images, more efficiently. The users can build a single image and use it across every step during the deployment.

Related read: What are the Career Opportunities in DevOps?

4. Kubernetes

Updating and migrating of servers were the two serious issues that enterprises experienced traditionally, as different websites use specific software versions. But today, containerization has solved this problem, successfully. There is a shift underway, the DevOps focus has shifted to writing scalable applications that can be distributed, deployed and run effectively anywhere.

DevOps automation tools

As a first step, Docker helped developers to build, ship and run software easily but Kubernetes has helped DevOps to run containers in a cluster, manage applications across different containers while monitoring them effectively. Built on a modular API core, it allows vendors to build systems using core Kubernetes technology.

Designed by Google, Kubernetes is an open source system that provides mechanisms to deploy maintain, and scale containerized applications with automation. Kubernetes is currently maintained by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF).

Kubernetes allows DevOps to efficiently fulfill customers’ demands by deploying applications predictably and quickly, scaling them, launching new features and limiting hardware usage to only the needed resources.

Being open source, Kubernetes can be run anywhere and can be used with the public, private, hybrid, multi-cloud environments. It is self-healing and offers load balancing and service delivery features along with batch execution and storage orchestration. It also offers features like auto-replication, auto-placement, auto-scaling, and auto-restart.

5. Puppet

This flexible, cross-platform and open source DevOps configuration management tool, automates the delivery and operation of software during its entire lifecycle. Using Puppet, development, and operations teams are able to deliver and operate software (infrastructure, applications) securely and from anywhere.

Puppet increases manageability and productivity. With it, users can understand the changes taking place in applications and act on them accordingly with the help of in-depth reports and real-time alerts. Users can identify those changes, and remediate the issues.

DevOps automation tools puppet

Puppet contains a daemon called Puppet Agent that runs on the client servers and its another component, the Puppet Master contains configuration for all the hosts. Both Puppet agent and Puppet master use SSL for secure encryption.

This model-driven software requires limited programming knowledge to use. It treats infrastructure as code and thus, helps in easier configuration testing & reviewing across all the environments- be it development, test or production.

Tabular comparison of top automation tools for DevOps (with list)

Automated configuration management toolAutomated configuration management toolContainer technology based Linux platformAutomated configuration management tool for containersAutomated configuration management tool
It uses PythonIt is written in Erlang &RubyIt is written in Go programming languageJust like Docker, it is also written in Go programming language.Ruby-DSL (domain-specific language) language
Easy for configuration managementComplex from the development perspectiveEasy to manage, understand and isolate.Kubernetes set up requires well-planned efforts when it comes to defining nodes and manual installation.Difficult for beginners
Better for front-end developers, where some programming might be neededIt’s similar to PuppetDocker comes with several powerful functionalities and componentsFor developers of modern applicationsMore targeted towards operations – not requiring development background
Produces files in a similar manner as Puppet doesBuilds a pipeline of processesDocker allows configuration for a single process at a time, thus making Docker files simpler than bash script for process configurationKubernetes brings a lot of complexity as it is a larger project with more moving parts than any other DevOps tool, but that also leads to latency in executing commands, making troubleshooting and monitoring cumbersome.It may make dependencies complex- may configure more than one process at a time.

Besides the above-mentioned DevOps automation testing tools, there are a number of other tools as well, like Papertrail, Nagios, Jenkins, Prometheus, and Splunk that make the lives of DevOps teams easier.

Papertrail is a frustration-free log management tool that allows you to instantly manage logs from different servers.

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With Papertrail, you can consolidate your logs in one place with a cloud-hosted log management service that takes typically only minutes to set up. Quickly diagnose and fix customer problems, error messages, app server errors, and slow DB queries with full visibility across all logs.

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