Understanding DevOps Toolchains

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By Shantanu Kaushik

2021 is underway. DevOps is influencing businesses with its consistent cultural shift results. In this article, I will explain what a DevOps toolchain stands for and how Alibaba Cloud has made significant improvements with tool delivery in association with the open-source community.

What is a DevOps Toolchain?

The DevOps toolchain has to be customized to fit the needs of the business. Every tool within the DevOps toolchain is well-curated. Every tool should complement the business values to assist and comprehend the changing business. The DevOps toolchain is put in place to ensure a healthy software development lifecycle.

Creation and Maintenance

Learning from the principles of software development, it is safe to say that any assembly of software tools also requires careful planning and maintenance during and after the operation. Even the products used for maintenance require O&M. The DevOps toolchain will also require certain resources to work flawlessly. It will also have maintenance requirements.

Strategy

Where Should You Focus?

Initially, the DevOps teams might not feel the need to adopt the newly presented toolchain, but you must focus on promoting its usage with the formulated strategy.

Creating Your First Toolchain

A DevOps toolchain is a simpler way to shape the entire DevOps process. The only point here to consider is the type of toolchain required for your DevOps practice:

1. Plug-and-Play Toolchain

The plug and play toolchain provides a standard set of tools that may fit your business needs. A plug-and-play DevOps toolchain could be the answer for your organization if you can refer to a case study of another organization with a similar set of business values as your own. The biggest benefit of a plug-and-play toolchain lies in its simplicity and its ability to be replicated across different teams quickly.

2. Custom Toolchain

A custom DevOps toolchain can be used to orchestrate a set of tools for functionality that the plug-and-play toolchain cannot offer. A custom solution can be curated to work with your DevOps practice if your business values differ from most generic practices of other businesses.

As the case presents, a plug-and-play solution offers a more standardized practice with a better possibility of seamless integration than a custom toolchain. However, the custom toolchain offers a better and more precise functionality that is practice-specific.

Maintaining Your DevOps Toolchain

Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery, and applied Continuous Testing can only be achieved through a perfectly synced toolchain to provide proper automation throughout the entirety of the DevOps pipeline.

Toolchain Usage to Maintain QA

One of the primary uses associated with the DevOps toolchain is to maintain quality assurance. Utilizing tools to detect and resolve errors quickly is among the prime movers associated with QA. Configuring the tools within your DevOps toolchain will ensure an automated, precise, and capable QA practice with a better user experience.

Integrate and Deploy Faster

Tools Within the Toolchain

Strategy and Control

Repositories (like GitHub) and tools (like Slack) can be helpful here. GitHub can provide standardized control over how your source code is used within your DevOps pipeline. Alibaba Cloud provides seamless integration with GitHub to facilitate collaboration.

Continuous Integration and Delivery

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Configuration Management and Monitoring

Puppet expands on the possibility of increased productivity and manageability by sending out real-time alerts and generating detailed reports for the user to reveal and act on changes that require attention.

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When it comes to configuration, we also need to mention Chef. Chef passes instructions to automate tasks for deployment, configuration, and management modules to define the Infrastructure as Code (IAC).

Ansible can be used for configuration and management to automate continuous delivery. It enables faster application deployment by providing automatic configuration management, cloud provisioning, and orchestration for the DevOps teams. It can also be used to write custom applications and re-configure machines.

Wrapping Up

Agile teams can move fast. A DevOps toolchain can help teams provide incident control and mix automation with team building for a better and more responsive DevOps pipeline.

Alibaba Cloud has deep-rooted itself within the open-source community to collaborate and standardize DevOps tool usage within its infrastructure to enable users to leverage the best of everything at every stage of the DevOps pipeline. Alibaba Cloud has extended support for the DevOps toolchain for containers, microservices, and DevSecOps for integrating security.

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