Top Continuous Integration and Delivery Tools Used for Efficient DevOps Implementations

Top Continuous Integration and Delivery Tools Used for Efficient DevOps Implementations

by Vijay Kumar

DevOps is a collaborative culture that automates processes between development (dev) teams and operational departments to facilitate software development, testing, and delivery.

The list of work-related tools included in the DevOps label is growing daily. It is essential to identify your team’s requirements to determine the precise tools you’ll need to simplify the development of new applications.

Adopting DevOps for application automation adds both short- and long-term advantages. Some of these benefits include high replicability and audibility. Further, application automation lowers deployment risk and enables the rapid interaction of product life cycles.

The Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery Culture

The benefits of DevOps are numerous. DevOps association allows for better and faster production releases. Also, DevOps teams can deliver more often while sustaining infrastructure stability.

Further, a well-defined DevOps policy relies on a close collaboration between the operation (ops) team and the developers. This dynamic allows for better communication and, thus, better team performance.

Continuous Delivery (CD) and Continuous Integration (CI) tools enable organizations to evolve and speed up their processes to an infinitely faster capacity than traditional software development and infrastructure management processes. Key benefits of adopting these processes include the elimination of repetitive tasks, reduced response time, reduced risk and more precise management.

Tools Used in DevOps

DevOps teams use several tools daily for a variety of tasks and assignments. Below, we have prepared a non-exhaustive list of these tools:

Source Code Management Tools

Source code management tools are versioning control tools that create a new revised version of the code base each time a product’s code is changed. DevOps collaboration starts with the alignment of the ops and dev teams with the same source code management tool. This dynamic makes it possible to understand the code’s various adjustments and developers.

After a product’s code is written with source management tools, the best practice is to make sure that the code is reviewed by the company’s various teams. This stage in development is where DevOps code management tools come into play. We can broadly divide code management tools into two categories:

  • Tools that are used to track history and make revisions of source code binaries, like Subversion and Git. Also, Apache subversion is a tool used frequently by enterprises, but it is less efficient than Git.
  • Tools that are used to share the code, like Gitlab, GitHub, and Bitbucket. These tools are designed to work with Git, making it possible to log the code’s history and work on the saved code if required. GitHub has had a monopoly historically, but Gitlab is becoming very popular nowadays thanks to Gitlab CI, which is more effective than GitHub.

Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery

Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) tools enable the automation of source binaries to change testing. The CI/CD tools permit companies to upgrade their applications by reducing the time needed to develop new functions.

There are several CI/CD tools available in the marketplace. One of the most used DevOps tools is an open-source tool named Jenkins. Other CI/CD tools include GitlabCI, Shippable, TeamCity, Bamboo, CircleCI, Concourse, Spinnaker, and Travis CI.

Additionally, cloud providers also offer their tools for seamless integration and deployment. Below, we have detailed some of the top CI/CD tools as of 2019:

Jenkins

If Chef and Puppet make the ops team’s life significantly easier, then Jenkins opens the “CI door” for developers. Jenkins allows us to automate tests and quickly identify errors or regressions present in code being written.

With this tool, developers can instantly correct the offending lines and immediately integrate their changes in the application. This tool creates a much more fluid process as it helps developers avoid having to review code that is several weeks old. Jenkins also gives teams guarantees on the quality of the code deployed on the infrastructure.

Shippable

Shippable is a seamless integration provider focused on Docker-based workflows. Shippable now supports multiple platforms and application packaging types, including executable files, JAR/WAR for Java, Tar for Node.js, etc.

Integrations are available for 80 products across the DevOps toolchain. These integrations are with products that include source control vendors like GitHub Cloud, Bitbucket Cloud/Server, and Gitlab as well as artifact repositories like Docker Hub and JFrog Artifactory.

Shippable offers a common way to deliver applications, regardless of packaging, architecture (monolithic vs. microservices), target environment (on-premises nodes), Cloud VMs, Docker orchestration platforms, etc.

Spinnaker

The open-source software Spinnaker supplements common CI with components for implementing CD in multi-cloud environments. Spinnaker combines two essential elements in the CD process.

On the one hand, complex CD pipelines can be created based on CI workflows. On the other hand, Spinnaker can roll this out independent of the public cloud provider.

Spinnaker is of practical relevance to developers because, thanks to the broad ecosystem, they can use the development, testing, CI, and monitoring tools they like. Also, Spinnaker is used by well-known companies including, Netflix, Google, Microsoft, Veritas, and Kenzan. Likely, their use of Spinnaker’s services encourages Spinnaker to keep its product up-to-date.

Concourse

Concourse platform automation allows you to build your CI pipelines. In addition to application delivery, this tool accelerates response times in incident management. Using Concourse, developers can have a consistent work environment for development, testing, and operation.

Codeship

Codeship offers two solutions – “Codeship Basic” and “Codeship Pro.” Both solutions provide cloud-based CI/CD services for dev teams and have free and paid levels. Also, Codeship offers businesses the ability to run builds in the cloud while code is hosted locally behind a firewall.

Atlassian Bamboo

Atlassian Bamboo is a server for CI/CD. Bamboo divides the application hierarchically into “Project,” “Plan,” “Phase,” “Job,” and “Task.” According to Bamboo, “Plan” includes the overall configuration of all tasks that run underneath.

Bamboo’s CI integration automatically detects open-source code components during build processes. Here, CI helps DevOps teams track and automate open-source usage as part of their CD pipeline.

As of Bamboo v5.x, “Plans” can share build artifacts. Bamboo now connects to repositories such as Git, Apache Subversion, Mercurial, Concurrent Version System (CVS), Bitbucket, Stride, etc.

However, Bamboo primarily supports Git workflows and projects. Bamboo is also integrated with Atlassian’s other tools.

Containers

Containers allow isolating an application with all the required components it needs to operate. Containers allow the application to be as isolated as possible from the code of the developers until the application goes live. Thus, containers prevent surprises during production output.

Docker standardizes and automates application deployment in virtual containers and is the leader in this tool category. RKT, another standard-based container engine, is an alternative to Docker that is the standard pushed by the CoreOS foundation.

If you are using container technology, there are high chances you would also need orchestrator tools for your CI/CD. Container orchestration simplifies management and deployment. The most widely-used orchestrator tool in the DevOps world is Kubernetes. However, there are other tools available, such as Docker-Swarm and Mesos.

Cloud Providers

Cloud providers provide remote storage solutions. Today, three key cloud players take the majority of the market share – Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure, and Amazon Web Services (AWS). Currently, AWS is unquestionably the market leader as AWS offers the broadest choice of services.

Along with cloud providers, DevOps also need load balancing services. The primary purpose of load balancing services is to distribute the loads over separate devices, allowing for an enhancement of the response time. Currently, HAproxy is one of the most popular leaders in load balancing.

Automation Management

Automation helps DevOps teams to eliminate monotonous tasks. Currently, several types of automation exist in DevOps, including:

  • Automated configuration on server setup
  • Automated server actions

There are several automation management tools available, depending on the infrastructure and company needs. These tools include:

  • Ansible – used for configuration management of slave servers
  • Puppet – used for configuration management of slave servers
  • Terraform – used for management of infrastructure provisioning
  • Salt – used for configuration management of slave servers
Monitoring and Alerting

Monitoring and alerting tools make it possible to have an overall view of the infrastructure to resolve issues that arise. And, as problems are solved, performance improves.

Prometheus, an open-source application, and Grafana are used to monitor Kubernetes clusters. Elasticsearch, Logstash, and Kibana (ELK) combined create a robust log analysis solution. By using ELK, you can finetune the performance of each tool individually and adapt them to fit the company’s needs.

Here, Logstash is used for normalization/sends logs, Elasticsearch is used as storage, and Kibana is used for visualization. More, ELK allows aggregation and logs analysis.

Project Management Tools

For software development, it is essential to trust a standard project management tool. Jira is a widely used tool that lets you plan, track, and manage development projects. Within the Jira environment, every member of the dev team can track project progress and set priorities.

Trello is another project management tool that distinguishes itself. Trello uses distinctiveness and simplicity to manage different project tasks using Trello boards.

Conclusion

There are no seamless solutions in DevOps. When employing DevOps, your essential tasks are discerning the tools you require and performing a round of testing.

We recommend undertaking tool tests with free trials, which are offered by most DevOps tool vendors. Trial periods allow you to evaluate each tool without necessarily allocating financial resources. Yet, the deployment of these various CI/CD tools must be accompanied by proper cooperation between dev and ops teams.

Vijay is a Senior DevOps Engineer and Systems Architect at Practical Logix

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