Cloud Infrastructure: 5 Core DevOps and Cloud Automation Tools

What are cloud automation tools? These are basically tools that will unlock speedier application delivery and improved workflow. Do not waste time searching for one tool that encompasses everything. The best possible option is to utilize a variety of different tools for server provisioning, configuration management, and similar efforts. When searching for appropriate tooling, you should think in terms of faster code deployments, efficient monitoring, and automated builds. Other objectives on your list should be cost reduction, a faster and streamlined CI/CD process.

Categories for Cloud Automation Tools

Tools currently available for infrastructure automation and cloud automation can be divided into the following categories:

  • Infrastructure Provisioning
    Terraform
  • Configuration Management
    Ansible or Chef
  • Containerization
    Docker
  • CI/CD DevOps
    Bamboo

Infrastructure Provisioning

Provisioning is a process of building or setting up IT infrastructure. It denotes certain necessary steps for managing access to data and resources before they are made available for users and systems. Do not confuse this with the configuration process, which is also a vital component for any deployment. Bear in mind that there are various types of provisioning. It may refer to network provisioning, server provisioning user provisioning, and more. Infrastructure as Code (IaC) comes into play here. Rather than manually setting up servers, just define a configuration script; then a provisioning tool takes it from there.

Terraform

Setting up the first cloud building blocks is a crucial step. If you are looking for a cloud infrastructure provisioning tool, Terraform is the top choice. The widely used tool helps you describe infrastructure with code. Terraform is used to rapidly spin up resources. In addition, you can manage, and modify any individual resources in parallel. Utilizing Terraform state files, you can maintain the state of your infrastructure. Any environments you set up in Terraform (public cloud or private cloud infrastructure), can then easily be configured further with config management tools. You can also learn more about Terraform as an open-source tool and how efficient Terraform is for cloud deployment.

Configuration Management

Once you are done spinning up resources for a new cloud environment, via Terraform, it is necessary to configure this environment for upcoming projects.

Ansible

If you wish to have a configuration management tool with continuous delivery and quicker deployments, Ansible is one of the best choices. With Ansible you get a straightforward methodology for automating apps and infrastructure. It entails automated application deployment, configuration management, as well as Continuous Delivery. It also automates cloud provisioning and similar recurring tasks. Ansible connects the nodes and pushes out small programs called modules to them. Then it executes these modules and removes them when the execution is complete. Learn more about Ansible.

Chef

Chef is a popular Ruby-powered DevOps config management tool. It is popular for a reason. The tool is a very good alternative to Ansible and it can be used to manage the infrastructure for web-scale IT ops. Whether you are working with machines that are physical or the cloud, you will be able to handle any configuration management without much of a hassle. This refers to configuring any infrastructure that is smaller and simpler. Should the infrastructure scale-up, you may need a different tool. That is where Chef comes in. It allows you to perform automation and offers a range of ways to speed up any intricate tasks. Learn more about Chef.

Containerization

Employing application containerization, a constantly evolving technology that developers use to run tests and run application instances within the cloud. The greatest advantage of containerization is using a less resource-intensive way to run an application on a VM. Application containers can share resources and memory without the need for an OS to power the app. One of the leading DevOps tools in that area is Docker.

Docker

The widely used open-source containerization platform, known as Docker, allows developers to package applications into containers. Containers are standardized executable components that combine the application source code with OS libraries and dependencies that are necessary to run the code. The process of application containerization was, in fact, made popular by Docker. Developers now commonly utilize Docker to build, ship and run applications in any environment. These processes can be done efficiently and rapidly in Docker. There are several advantages of Docker containerization. When apps are isolated and separated into containers, you increase security as well. In addition, Docker maintains a private registry for image storage, management, and configuration. This open-source cloud automation tool has other plus points. Major cloud platforms like AWS, Google, and Azure all have added support for Docker. Discover more advantages of Docker.

CI/CD DevOps

To ensure the best possible DevOps practices, IT teams need to set up CI/CD pipelines (i.e. Continuous Integration / Continuous Delivery). This allows you to develop, refine, and release app/project changes through code in an efficient way.

Bamboo

Bamboo is an essential CI/CD DevOps tool for enabling an automated delivery pipeline (build to deployment). When you utilize Bamboo for your projects, you will notice certain advantages almost instantly. There are lots of prebuilt functionalities. These would otherwise have to be configured manually if you are using tools like, say, Jenkins (which has over thousands of plugins, as opposed to Bamboo which has only about a hundred). Thanks to such characteristics Bamboo is used to perform tasks out of the box. You save time with configuration. What is more, Bamboo integrates seamlessly with numerous other products and services such as Jira, Bitbucket, and the like. The intuitive UI offers various handy features such as auto-completion, tooltips, and so on. On top of that, you gain access to built-in Git and test environments.

What You Get with Infrastructure and Cloud Automation Tools

Utilizing these cloud automation tools gives you the opportunity to:

  • Reduce complexity: cloud automation tools greatly decrease the complexity of infrastructure provisioning and management. IT teams gain instant value. Planning, optimization, implementation, and maintenance becomes simpler.
  • Reduce Errors: if you rely on infrastructure automation you will be able to reduce human-related errors, which occur often when provisioning resources manually. With infrastructure automation, IT teams concentrate on other tasks that are more important for the business.
  • Increase Cost-effectiveness: thanks to these automation tools, you will not have to rely on huge teams working manually to get things done during projects. In other words, you are effectively eliminating staff costs.
  • Speed Up Delivery: with infrastructure and cloud automation tools listed above, IT provisioning becomes rapid, significantly decreasing the time and work usually required to build underlying infrastructure. Project delivery, product launches become faster to boot.

Feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions regarding cloud deployment, cloud automation, or any other cloud-based technology that could improve your business.