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How to Choose the Best DevOps Tools for your Business

Janet Staver - PeerSpot reviewer
Tech Blogger

If you are considering DevOps tools for your business, you want to be sure you choose the right solution. DevOps software is a rapidly growing market, and while it can be hard to know which tools you really need, researching all of your options and making the right choice does not have to be a daunting task.

To help you choose the best DevOps solution, here are some tips:

  1. Develop a common tools strategy. For starters, you need to understand the collaboration and shared tools strategy for your organization’s Dev, QA, and infrastructure automation teams. A good strategy is one that lets DevOps teams collaborate across development, testing, and deployment. The strategy should include basic things like processes, communications and collaboration planning, continuous development tools, continuous integration tools, continuous testing tools, continuous deployment tools, and continuous operations and CloudOps tools.

    It is important that the strategy is one that everyone can agree upon and that is reflective of your business objectives for DevOps. It is also helpful for the DevOps tools strategy to adhere to a common set of objectives while providing seamless collaboration and integration between tools, to avoid miscommunication among teams. It is key to remember that the objective is to automate everything. In other words, developers should be able to send new and changed software to deployment and operations without humans getting in the way of the processes.
  2. Make sure DevOps tooling captures every request. No changes or ad hoc work should happen outside of the DevOps process, and DevOps tooling should capture every request for new or changed software. To clarify, this is not the same as logging the progress of software as it moves through the processes. DevOps provides the ability to automate the acceptance of change requests that come in, either from other parts of the DevOps teams or from the business.
  3. Pick a tool that can carry out the performance monitoring of the application. Application performance monitoring (APM) solutions, when used throughout the development life cycle, are a significant contributor to the success of these top-performing DevOps organizations. Integrated application performance monitoring is an essential tool that enables collaboration across IT specialties, reducing or eliminating the finger-pointing and other unproductive behaviors that show up in organizations with operational silos.

    Furthermore, APM solutions improve visibility across highly dynamic infrastructures, making it possible to quantify financial impact over time and across releases. Whatsmore is, when issues do arise, APM tools can help rapidly troubleshoot complex issues in production, often before they negatively impact the business or a user’s digital experience. Choosing a DevOps tool that incorporates an APM solution will set your organization up for success.
  4. Use Kanban. Another tip on how to choose the best DevOps tool for your business is to use agile Kanban project management for automation and DevOps requests. Kanban is a popular framework used to implement agile and DevOps software development. It requires real-time communication of capacity and full transparency of work. Work items are represented visually on a kanban board, which allows team members to see the state of every piece of work at any time.

    Using Kanban is a good idea because it gives your organization’s teams more flexible planning options, faster output, and clear focus. It also provides transparency throughout the development cycle. Kanban limits the amount of work in progress, which helps balance flow-based approaches so that you don’t attempt to do too much at once. Moreover, Kanban tools can enhance flow. For example, in Kanban, when one work item is complete, the next highest item from the backlog gets pushed to development.
  5. Log metrics. Choose a tool that will help your organization log metrics on both manual and automated processes. You need to make sure that the tool you select will give you a good understanding of the productivity of your DevOps processes so that you can determine if they are working in your favor. The tools should give you the ability to define which metrics are relevant to the DevOps processes, such as speed to deployment versus testing errors found. It is also important that the tools allow you to define automated processes to correct issues without human involvement.
  6. Implement test data provisioning and test automation tooling. Test automation gives you the ability to take code and data and run standard testing routines. The point of test automation is to ensure the quality of the code, the data, and the overall solution. With DevOps, this is important because testing must be continuous. The ability to toss code and data into the process means you need to place the code into a sandbox, assign test data to the application, and run hundreds - or sometimes even thousands - of tests that will automatically promote the code down the DevOps process, or return it back to the developers for rework when completed.
  7. Perform acceptance tests. Another way to make sure you choose the best DevOps tools for your business is to perform acceptance tests for each deployment tooling. Part of the testing process should define the acceptance tests that will be a part of each deployment, including levels of acceptance for the infrastructure, applications, data, and even the test suite that you plan to use. It is a good idea to spend time defining the acceptance tests and ensuring that the tests meet with the acceptance criteria selected.

    Another reason why it is critical to perform acceptance tests is because as applications evolve over time, you will likely have new requirements to add into the software. For instance, you might need to test changes to compliance issues associated with protecting certain types of data, or performance issues to ensure that the enterprise meets service-level agreements.
  8. Use feedback loops. When choosing a DevOps tool, you should ensure continuous feedback between the teams in order to spot gaps, issues, and inefficiencies. Feedback loops are necessary to automate communication between tests that spot issues and tests that process needs to be supported by your chosen tool. Select a tool that can identify the issue using either manual or automated mechanisms, and tag the issue with the artifact so the developers or operators understand what occurred, why it occurred, and where it occurred.

    The DevOps tool should also help define a chain of communications with all automated and human players in the loop. This includes a consensus as to what type of resolution you should apply, an approach to correct the problem in collaboration with everyone on the team, and a list of any additional code or technology required. In addition, the tool should also help you define tracking so you are able to report whether the resolution made it through automated testing, automated deployment, and automated operations.
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