With the constantly evolving landscape of technology, professionals in the DevOps and SRE fields need to stay up-to-date and knowledgeable about the tools and practices driving the industry forward.
Whether you are just starting your career or have been working in DevOps or SRE for years, this post will provide valuable insights and information on the tools you should be familiar with as we head into 2023.
We'll go into detail on 15 essential tools you should be aware of, which can help you with diagramming, deploying, testing, monitoring, triaging, communicating, and alerting.
Specifically, we'll cover the following categories:
- Monitoring & observability
- Applications Platforms
- Chat and ChatOps
- Incident management
Monitoring & observability
Monitoring and observability are critical components of any DevOps and SRE strategy. They allow organizations to collect data about their systems’ performance and behavior and identify and resolve any issues that may arise quickly.
By implementing effective monitoring and observability practices, organizations can ensure that their systems are running smoothly and that any problems are detected and addressed quickly, enabling them to deliver high-quality services to their users.
SigNotz is an open-source APM (application performance monitoring) tool that you can use as an alternative to other tools like Datadog and NewRelic. It can come in very handy to monitor your applications and troubleshoot problems.
Furthermore, SigNoz integrates OpenTelemetry, supporting various languages and frameworks that implement it, like Java, Ruby, Python, Elixir, and much more.
As stated in the name, this is another APM software, the main difference being that Elastic APM comes in two flavors. SaaS offering as well as self-hosted open source version.
Elastic APM can be integrated with a range of applications, including web servers, databases, and message brokers, and is designed to work seamlessly with the Elastic Stack, a set of tools for collecting, storing, and analyzing data.
These are some essential tools you should know about to deploy applications to production environments or quickly test locally successfully.
We won't discuss other more broadly known tools like Kubernetes, Docker, and Ansible, as they've already been mentioned in many other articles. Still, you can find more information in the resources provided at the end.
KIND (Kubernetes IN Docker) is a tool for running local Kubernetes clusters using Docker containerization. It allows developers to test their applications in a local Kubernetes environment without setting up a separate cluster. This can be especially useful for testing applications that rely on multiple microservices or for developing and debugging applications in a local environment.
Podman is a container management tool, an alternative to Docker, that enables users to create and manage containers on Linux systems.
Unlike Docker, which uses a daemon to manage containers, Podman directly communicates with the container runtime to create and manage containers, so you do not need to start or manage a daemon process like the Docker daemon.
Furthermore, Podman does not require root access. Hence its touted and designed to be more secure than Docker.
It is a tool for infrastructure as code that enables you to create and manage cloud and on-premises resources using easy-to-read and understand configuration files. You can use these configuration files to define and version your infrastructure and then use a consistent process to provision and manage it throughout its lifecycle.
Terraform can handle both low-level resources such as computing, storage, and networking, as well as high-level resources like DNS entries and software as a service (SaaS) features.
Chat and ChatOps
Chat applications are becoming increasingly crucial for DevOps and SRE teams, as they are necessary for real-time communication and Chat Operations (ChatOps).
ChatOps is a collaboration model that combines chat-based communication with operational tasks. It is designed to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of teams by allowing them to manage their infrastructure and applications through chat.
Mattermost is an open-source self-hosted alternative to Slack that enables team collaboration through chat, voice, and video. It is designed with developers, DevOps, and SRE teams in mind.
Many integrations like Jira, Gitlab, Github, and Jenkins enable developer teams to perform critical operations directly from the chat.
Airplane is a SaaS tool that can help you build internal tools and workflows much faster.
With Airplane you can quickly generate the supporting UI and authorization logic to perform backend or infrastructure tasks, like making a release, restarting a service, or extending a trial.
Thanks to its powerful Slack integration, you can run these tasks or authorize them directly from the chat interface.
Incident management is crucial to any successful DevOps or SRE team. It involves identifying, responding to, and resolving issues or incidents within an organization's systems or processes.
Effective incident management helps minimize the impact of these incidents on the business, reduce the time it takes to resolve them, and improve overall system reliability.
Grafana Labs launched on 2022 their incident management platform Grafana Incident, which makes responding to incidents faster by automating the routine tasks of incident management, which helps you focus on actually fixing the issue.
This is an alternative to Grafana Incident. They focus on incident management directly from Slack, making adoption easy. This tool will also help your team learn from incidents through automatically generated post-mortems, timelines, and your Insights dashboard.
This SaaS tool can help your team effectively communicate incidents to your stakeholders, be it your customers or employees. StatusPal comes powered with many automations and integrations that will enable you to save hours in incident communication and focus on fixing instead.
CState is a minimalist and open-source alternative to incident communication. Interestingly based on Hugo (static site generator). Thanks to that, it can be easily hosted via various providers such as Github or Netlify and runs extremely fast due to the static structure of the site.
We discuss further about open-source alternatices to status pages in our blog post 6 Top-Rated Open Source Status Page Alternatives for 2022.
Being able to effectively document things like CI/CD pipelines, network infrastructure, system components dependency, and similar is a crucial responsibility of the DevOps/SRE role. The following tools allow diagram-as-code, enabling you to save diagrams as part of your repositories and collaborate with your team members.
D2 is a new, declarative diagramming language that can make diagramming technical diagrams a breeze; it is part of Terrastruct, which you can start using for free.
D2 syntax is intuitive and easy to get started with; here is a basic example:
With Diagrams, you can draw the cloud system architecture using Python code. It was created specifically for prototyping new system architectures without the need for design tools, but it can also be used to describe or visualize existing system architectures.
CI/CD, or Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery, is a software development practice that aims to streamline and automate the build, test, and deployment processes of software.
The CI/CD practice, or CI/CD pipeline, forms the backbone of modern day DevOps operations.
The following are alternatives that offer both SaaS and self-hosted alternatives.
GitLab is a web-based Git repository manager that provides source code management (SCM), continuous integration, and more. It is designed to host and manage Git repositories and to facilitate the entire DevOps lifecycle, including planning, development, testing, and deployment.
GitLab CI/CD is a feature of GitLab that helps teams automate the build, test, and deployment processes of their software. It is integrated into the GitLab platform and allows users to define a pipeline of jobs that will be automatically run whenever code changes are pushed to the repository.
Image credits - levelup.gitconnected.com
Jenkins is an open-source automation server that helps teams automate parts of the software development process. It supports building, testing, and deploying software, as well as automating other tasks related to development and operations.
Jenkins is designed to be easy to use and can be configured through a web interface or by writing scripts in a variety of languages. It integrates with a wide range of tools and services, making it a popular choice for teams looking to implement CI/CD processes.
With more and more DevOps and SRE tools emerging every year, it's hard to keep up, so these are just the ones that caught our attention in particular and we believe can offer the most value to you.
If you have suggestions on other tools that the list should include, don't hesitate to let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Discover an even broader range of DevOps and SRE related tools and resources by exploring the list of useful links below.