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11/29/2019
07:00 AM
Hardik Shah, Product Development Consultant, Simform
Hardik Shah, Product Development Consultant, Simform
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5 Must-Have IT Infrastructure Automation Tools

There's no one tool that can do it all. But in the end, it is all about tools that provide maximum ROI within the given budget.

Image: Pixabay
Image: Pixabay

Automation of IT and cloud infrastructure has become a must in modern times. The rapid automation process is led by the surge of effective and helpful IT/cloud automation tools in the market. However, there are a lot of challenges while selecting tools, such as a lack of powerful computing, inconsistency in data monitoring, network issues, and troubleshooting.

With multiple aspects of the infrastructure that need to be managed alongside these key pain points, there is no one tool that can do it all. Lack of proper tools can maximize IT downtime, affecting other aspects of the business. According to the report ‘State of Digital Operations by PagerDuty,’ 40.4 % of respondents claim sales to be the most affected non-IT department in terms of loss due to IT issues. This directly affects profit.

Maximizing productivity is another major concern when it comes to automating IT and cloud infrastructure.

While selecting an automation tool for your company, you must focus on the following aspects:

  • Consistency with requirements
  • Support structure
  • Trouble-shooting
  • Productivity
  • Budget

In over 10 years of working as a technical consultant for a software development company, I have tried and tested multiple tools to help the organization with its overall IT requirements. Here are 5 tools currently in the market that in my experience have been extremely effective in IT/cloud infrastructure automation for organizations:

1. Ansible

Ansible automates a range of IT aspects including configuration management, application deployment, cloud provisioning, etc. It is focused on the way various systems of your IT infrastructure interact with each other rather than managing one component at a time.

Ansible can be easily managed using a web interface called Ansible tower. The tool provides a range of pricing models where users can choose from a basic, standard or premium package and get a custom quote for the features they use. The costs range from $5000-$14,000 a year for Ansible Tower.

It is an extremely user-friendly and easy-to-manage automation tool.

2. Datadog

Datadog is primarily a monitoring tool for cloud applications. It provides detailed metrics for all your cloud applications, servers, and networks. It can be easily integrated with other automation tools such as Ansible, Chef, Puppet, etc.

Datadog pricing plans include Synthetics, Log Management, Infrastructure and APM priced at $5, $1.27, $15 and $31 per host, per month, respectively.  These can be further priced based on pro and enterprise packages.

Datadog can help in quick detection and trouble-shooting of problems within the system.

Thus, it is quite a time and cost-effective solution for managing your cloud infrastructure.

3. Puppet

Puppet is an Infrastructure as Code (IaC) tool that lets users define the desired state of their infrastructure and automate the systems to achieve the same.

It monitors all your systems and prevents any deviation from the defined state. From simple workflow automation to infrastructure configuration and compliance, Puppet can do it all. The open-source tools are free while the enterprise model for more than 10 nodes is chargeable. Companies can get custom quotes based on their requirements.

Preferred by companies such as Dell and Google, Puppet is the perfect tool to maintain consistency in the system while maximizing productivity. 

4. Selenium

Primarily created for testing web applications, Selenium is a robust tool for automating web browsers. It is the perfect tool for web-app testing and management. Companies can create quick bug-fixing scripts as well as develop automated, regressive bug fixing mechanisms with Selenium.

Selenium combines software, with each serving a different purpose: Selenium Integrated Development Environment (IDE); Selenium Remote Control (RC); WebDriver; and Selenium Grid.  It’s free, open-source software that can be sponsored under the standard Apache 2.0 license.

It’s quite easy to use and install and provides supports for extensions as well. 

5. Docker

Docker is a tool that focuses on continuous integration and deployment of code. Developers can easily create and manage applications using Dockerfiles.

Dockerfiles enable application management in isolated environments including code, system files, libraries, and other functions. Hence, it is preferred by companies engaged in multi-cloud and hybrid computing. 

Users can choose from three enterprise editions of Docker to manage docker containers starting from $750 per node a year.

Docker saves up a lot of time and resources while enhancing the productivity of systems and can also be easily integrated with existing systems.

Consult with your DevOps team to understand what suits best. In the end, it is all about the tool that provides maximum ROI within the given budget.  Keep in mind that you should constantly evaluate your tools alongside your requirements and upgrade when necessary. Maintenance is a must.

Hardik Shah works as a Tech Consultant at Simform, a leading custom software development company. He leads large-scale mobility programs covering platforms, solutions, governance, standardization and best practices. His twitter handle: https://twitter.com/hsshah

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