15 Tools for Cloud Infrastructure Automation

May 11, 2021
cloud infrastructure automation tools

It is necessary that you use the right tools in DevOps environments, in order to enjoy swifter application delivery. There is no one single cloud infrastructure providers that can meet all your needs, including monitoring, code deployments, automated builds, configuration management, and server provisioning.

There are several factors which determine how a tool will be used in cloud infrastructure. In this article, we will examine the top cloud infrastructure automation tools that you can use in an ideal environment using DevOps concept.

Best Cloud Infrastructure Automation Tools

There are several tools which can be used for infrastructure automation. The best tool to employ will be determined by the needs and architecture of your infrastructure. Below, we have discussed 15 useful tools which fall under different categories including monitoring, continuous integration, orchestration, and configuration management.

  1. Terraform

    This is a cloud-based infrastructure provisioning tool built by Hashicorp and written in Go. Terrafoam is very easy to understand that you can actually get started in days.

    Features

    • Compatibility with all private and public cloud infrastructure (firewall, managed services, servers, networks, etc.).
    • State files – a concept which helps to maintain the condition of your infrastructure
    • Its own domain-specific language known as HCL (Hashicorp configuration language).
    • Custom functionalities using Golang
  1. Ansible

    This is an agent-less configuration management and orchestration tool. The configuration modules in Ansible are known as “playbooks” and they are written in YAML format.

    Features

    • Ansible, like other tools, can be employed for cloud provisioning
    • Ansible Galaxy which contains all community playbooks
    • Supports multi-level deployments
    • Requires no coding knowledge
    • A user-friendly and simple IT automation
  1. Chef

    This is a ruby based configuration management tool. It has cookbooks concept in which the user can code their infrastructure in domain-specific language (DSL) and with minimum programming. It is a highly customizable tool that provides the historical data needed in the project management processes.

    Features

    • Provisioning and configuration of virtual machines according to the cookbook rules.
    • Chef Supermarket – which contains all the community cookbook
    • Simple, human-readable configuration rules
    • Essential elements such as chef server, chef workstation, and chef client.
  1. Puppet

    This is another ruby based configuration management tool, just like Chef. Its configuration code is written with Puppet DSL’s and packaged in modules. Unlike chef cookbooks which are more centered on the developer, Puppet is created by keeping the system administrators in mind.

    Features

    • It runs a puppet agent on every server to be configured and then retrieves the assembled module from the from the puppet server
    • Installation of necessary software packages indicated in the module
    • Puppetforge – which contains all community Puppet Modules.
    • Precise and predictive workflows

(Also Read: A Complete Guide on Infrastructure as Code)

  1. Jenkins

    This is a java-based continuous integration tool used for swifter application delivery. It is very compatible with version control platforms such as SVN and GitHub.

    Features

    • It requires connection to a version control system such as SVN or GitHub.
    • An orchestration tool used for creating pipelines that involve application provisioning and deployment.
    • A new functionality known as pipeline as code, allows you to maintain the CI/CD pipelines as an entire code.
    • Includes more than 1,000 pre-built plugins
  1. Vagrant

    This is an excellent tool that configures virtual machines for a development infrastructure. It is one of the trending automation tools for cloud infrastructure.

    Features

    • It works on top of VM solutions such as Hyper-V, VMware, VirtualBox, etc.
    • Vagrantfile – a configuration file which comprises all the configurations necessary for the VM.
    • It has plugins for cloud integration and programming provisioning with configuration management tools (like puppet, chef, etc.) for configuring the VM on run time.

    Cloud Native Platforms and Why You Need One

  1. Packer

    Packer is the perfect solution for those who seek to follow an immutable infrastructure pattern through the use of Virtual machines. This tool becomes very useful as it packages all dependencies and create deployable VM images.

    Features

    • It supports both public cloud and private clouds VM image management.
    • It can be added as part of your Continuous Integration pipeline to create a VM image as a deployable component.
  1. Docker

    This cloud infrastructure automation tool runs on the concept of process-level virtualization. Docker helps in creating isolated structures for applications, known as containers. Docker is regarded as the new stage in virtualization.

    Features

    • The containers can be moved to any other server without causing modifications to the application.
    • It has a large developer community
    • It is becoming increasingly popular among DevOps pioneers and practitioners in cloud computing.
  1. Consul

    This is an open source widely-available key-value store. Its major purpose is for service discovery. If there’s a use case you have to keep and retrieve configurations in real-time, then consul is the ideal option for you. It is also used for saving and storing the real-time configurations.

    Features

    • It supports multi datacenter deployments
    • Service discovery and configuration
    • Segmentation functionality
    • Easy to use web user interface
  1. etcd

    This is an open source key-value store developed by the CoreOS team. It is one of the major cloud tools for infrastructure automation used to store the condition of cluster management and operations in Kubernetes.

    Features

    • Manages the metadata for Kubernetes
    • It uses standard HTTP tools which provide a simple interface
  1. Vault

    This is another open source tool that is used to store and retrieve secret data. It offers numerous functionalities for storing your secret key in an encrypted pattern.

    Features

    • It allows you to create roles, policies, and ACLs to control how the end-users will have access to the secrets.
  1. Prometheus & Alert Manager

    This is an open source tracking system from one of the most trusted cloud infrastructure providers.

    Features

    • It is very lightweight and has been specifically designed for modern application tracking.
    • It is compatible with container monitoring and Linux server.
    • It offers out of the box support for Openshift and Kubernetes monitoring. The alert manager controls all the alerting configured for the tracking metrics.
  1. New Relic

    This is a cloud-based software as a service (SaaS) platform for application monitoring. It has two subtypes namely New Relic Server and New Relic APM used for server monitoring and application monitoring respectively.

    Features

    • It supports the monitoring of different applications such as NodeJS, Java, Ruby, Php, etc.
    • It provides real-time insights concerning your running application.
    • To obtain real-time data, you would configure a new relic agent in your application.
    • New relic makes use of several metrics to offer useful insights concerning the application being monitored.
  1. Sensu

    This is an open-source monitoring software written in Ruby. Sensu as a monitoring framework has been specifically created for cloud infrastructures.

    Features

    • Easy deployment through the use of tools such as puppet and chef.
    • It features a business version for monitoring
    • Automates repetitive tasks
    • Offers a sophisticated scheduler
  1. Datadog

    This is another cloud-scale software as a service server and application monitoring platform. It provides the monitoring of services, tools, databases, and servers via a SaaS-based data analytics system.

    Features

    • Allows you to track docker containers as well as other applications.
    • Provides visibility into performance of application

Final Thoughts

Infrastructure automation is a necessary task for all DevOps team. The selection and usage of a tool will be determined by factors such as functionality, skillset, cost and so on. You should understand that a single tool will certainly not meet all your needs. The process of selecting a toolset should be influenced by the team or organization’s requirements instead of the functionality of the tool. So, the burning question now is this: which cloud infrastructure providers do you want to use for your infrastructure automation?

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