10 Essential Cloud DevOps Tools for AWS
Building, testing, and monitoring applications in the cloud is a unique challenge. While many organizations have embraced a DevOps methodology, their DevOps machine is still not at the level of maturity they might like it to be. According to a recent survey, 53% work on a team with a 'low level' of DevOps based on maturity factors. Nearly 60% said that they are flexible in adapting to customer needs and have continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipelines set up, yet less than half of engineers build, ship or own their code – indicating a lack of DevOps maturity.
A big part of achieving CloudOps maturity is selecting the right tools for the job. The following tools help automate various parts of the CI/CD pipeline, and make it much easier for DevOps teams to consistently monitor their AWS cloud infrastructure and applications.
Native AWS cloud DevOps tools
As with a lot of AWS services, there are several native DevOps tools for AWS users. These services make it easier to provision and manage AWS infrastructure, deploy application code, automate software releases, and monitor the performance of applications and infrastructure.
For example, for CI/CD, Amazon offers the following services.
1. AWS CodePipeline: AWS CodePipeline is a CI/CD service that helps DevOps teams update application and infrastructure reliably and quickly. CodePipeline builds, tests, and deploys code every time there is a change, based on predefined release process models.
2. AWS CodeBuild: AWS CodeBuild is a fully managed build service that compiles source code, runs tests, and produces ready-to-deploy software packages. With CodeBuild, teams don’t need to provision, manage, and scale their own build servers. CodeBuild continuously scales and concurrently processes multiple builds.
3. AWS CodeDeploy: AWS CodeDeploy automates code deployments to any instance, such as Amazon EC2 instances and on-premises servers. AWS CodeDeploy makes it easier to rapidly release new features, helping to avoid downtime during application deployment.
4. AWS CodeStar: AWS CodeStar helps DevOps teams easily manage software development activities in one place. Using AWS CodeStar, teams can quickly set up a continuous delivery toolchain and start releasing code faster.
As a pro, these services are native to AWS, so they are easy to get up and running. Infrastructure monitoring services, such as AWS CloudWatch, can be simple to set up and maintain for real-time observability, yet difficult to manage for troubleshooting (we’ll cover a complementary solution for that later).
And, with more companies using hybrid cloud and multi-cloud strategies, AWS services may not be sufficient enough to monitor your entire infrastructure and application stack. According to a recent report, 82% of organizations have adopted hybrid cloud, while 47% use two to three public infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) clouds.
DevOps tools for AWS and multi-cloud environments
Beyond what AWS offers, here are some additional DevOps tools for AWS and multi-cloud environments. These solutions span CI/CD, security, build automation, monitoring and more.
Use Case: CI/CD platform
Overview: Allows teams to automate builds across multiple environments,
including AWS and other clouds, on-premises servers, etc.
Alternatives: Jenkins, GitLab, Atlassian Bamboo
Competitive Advantage: Compared to other CI/CD tools such as Jenkins, it has a modern user interface and can be easily integrated into the DevOps ecosystem. It automates the build, test, and deploy processes for developers and provides Docker support, which is a differentiating feature for CircleCI.
Use Case: Find and fix security vulnerabilities in code, dependencies, containers and infrastructure as code (IaC).
Overview: Snyk tests for vulnerabilities in your own code, open source dependencies, container images and IaC configurations, offering context, prioritization, and remediation options.
Alternatives: Veracode, Sonatype
Competitive Advantage: According to a G2 reviewer, “Snyk integrates with your CI/CD platform and constantly scans repositories for vulnerabilities, not just when new code is pushed to the repository. This allows the application to be secure even when it is not being worked upon. Snyk can automatically create pull requests for fixing fixable vulnerabilities.”
Use Case: Configuration management
Overview: Terraform provisions infrastructure and application resources across any infrastructure using a common workflow, enabling organizations to embrace Infrastructure as code (IAC). Terraform helps teams safely and predictably create, change, and improve production infrastructure. It codifies APIs into declarative configuration files that can be shared among team members, treated as code, edited, reviewed, and versioned.
Alternatives: Chef, RedHat Ansible, Pulumi
Competitive Advantage: According to a TrustRadius user: “Terraform is easier for developing infrastructure and takes less time to create infrastructure. The main advantage is reusability. It is also well suited for multi-cloud deployments.”
Use Case: Workflow Management and Sprint Planning.
Overview: Jira Software is a collaboration tool created by Atlassian to help software development teams plan and coordinate activities across the software development life cycle. With Jira, DevOps teams can create user stories and identify the most important software issues to address in the next sprint. Teams can customize their own workflows and use Jira’s task board to assign, prioritize, and track completed work.
Alternatives: ActiveCollab, Pivotal Tracker
Competitive Advantage: With over 3,000 available app integrations, Jira seamlessly integrates with every component of your DevOps toolchain to streamline the code release pipeline.
Use Case: Build Automation
Alternatives: Apache Maven, npm, Apache Ant
Competitive Advantage: Gradle borrows from the concepts of earlier alternatives like Apache Maven/Ant, but the key benefits of Gradle are features like incremental builds, Gradle Daemon caching, and clustered builds that accelerate the build process, and by extension, the DevOps release cycle.
Overview: As DevOps teams release new software and applications into public cloud environments, there’s a growing need to maintain visibility and control of the applications, services, and other infrastructure powering the user experience. Software developers can achieve that visibility with ChaosSearch, a log analytics platform that makes it easy for DevOps teams to aggregate, index, and query log files directly in Amazon S3 buckets. With ChaosSearch, DevOps teams can turn Amazon S3 into a single source of truth for application monitoring and log analysis in the cloud.
Alternatives: ELK stack, Amazon OpenSearch, Amazon CloudWatch (ChaosSearch can serve as a complement to CloudWatch)
Competitive Advantage: ChaosSearch is a fully managed SaaS platform with a proprietary patented data indexing format that brings disruptive price performance to DevOps teams enabling unlimited retention and the power of use cases unbound by scale. ChaosSearch brings powerful log analytics capabilities to organizations building comprehensive Observability capability through Best-of-Breed Observability Components. ChaosSearch also accelerates time-to-insights from log data by allowing teams to analyze directly in cloud object storage (Amazon S3, GCS) with no ETL process and no data movement. This offering provides a unique security model where no data gets stored in ChaosSearch; it is indexed directly in the customer's bucket and controlled at all times. Furthermore, ChaosSearch can play a foundational role in the DevOps Observability pillars it provides.
To sum up, while AWS offers many native DevOps tools to accelerate the application development and delivery lifecycle, these essential tools may increase your team’s capacity to leverage automation. Ideally, you’ll be able to automate and orchestrate your CI/CD pipeline and cut down on day-to-day DevOps management challenges.
When it comes to continuous monitoring and observability, solutions like ChaoSearch can complement a best-of-breed approach, built from open source tools and open APIs that work together seamlessly.
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