The Definitive Guide to Key DevOps Tools

Looking to accelerate releases while boosting quality? Elevate collaboration and visibility across software disciplines? Drive scalability while controlling costs?

Choosing the right DevOps toolchain can help your team achieve these breakthroughs and more.

In this comprehensive guide, we provide the inside track to 47+ best-in-class tools powering leading technology and digital native businesses today.

Packed with expert tips and real-world insights, we have you covered across key DevOps domains:

- CI/CD         - Infrastructure Automation     
- Planning      - Monitoring & Analytics  
- Version Control & Code Review    - Cloud Platforms
- Collaboration     - Containerization & Orchestration

Let‘s get oriented on what DevOps entails, why tools fill the engine room enabling transformation, and capabilities to prioritize.

What is DevOps?

DevOps combines software development (Dev) and IT operations (Ops) to enable:

  • Faster time-to-market from code completion to deployment
  • Increased deployment frequency with reliable releases
  • Enhanced security via compliant-by-design processes
  • Greater resilience and less downtime
  • Improved customer satisfaction and retention

This shift relies on automating steps once manual, monitoring system health, collaborating across disciplines, and maximizing deployment velocity without compromising governance.

Technology leaders including Amazon, Target, and Capital One credit DevOps practices and culture with driving 50-75% faster software delivery and ability to seamlessly scale critical ecommerce systems.

Forrester predicts almost 50% of global infrastructure will rely on DevOps toolchains by 2023.

Why DevOps Tools Matter

Transitioning complex systems supporting business critical applications demands purpose-built tools, especially for large or regulated organizations.

Instead of chalking up failures to adopt cloud, scale delivery, or modernization to mere inertia, lack of appropriate tooling better explains the struggle.

Tools providing necessary guardrails allow software teams to:

  • Standardize processes
  • Remove reliance on tribal knowledge
  • Accelerate setup of integrated environments
  • Automate manual tasks
  • Govern workflows and quality gates

In one survey of 365 IT Managers with DevOps initiatives, 74% say achieving goals depends on better tools.

Let‘s explore today‘s leading solutions across key categories:

Continuous Integration & Delivery

CI/CD pipelines turn code changes into value faster by automating build, test, and deployment steps once manual.

Market leader Jenkins and GitHub Actions minimize barriers with open source and out-of-the-box capabilities. Mature SaaS CI/CD tools like CircleCI and TravisCI offer DevOps-as-a-Service for teams lacking specialized skills or prefer cloud convenience.

63% of organizations now implement CI/CD pipelines achieving an average of 196x deployments per day, compared to 1-2 weekly releases before DevOps.

Benefits include:

  • Reduce risk by validating changes often
  • Fix issues promptly while memories fresh
  • Standardization eliminates configuration drift
  • Provide audit trail demonstrating controls

Notable Solutions


  • Leading open source CI/CD server with 1600+ plugins
  • On-prem or cloud options
  • Complex but versatile, backed by strong community

GitHub Actions

  • Cloud native pipelines integrated with code repos
  • Great for developers already using GitHub
  • Free for public repositories


  • Fast, scalable SaaS CI/CD
  • YAML templates streamline configuration
  • Parallel job processing

AWS CodePipeline

  • Fully managed CI/CD service
  • Integrates code from GitHub + other sources
  • Leverages AWS services for compute, storage, etc

28% of IT delays trace to lack of test environments. Automating provisioning and configuration allows focusing efforts on what matters most – delivering differentiated value.

Infrastructure Provisioning & Configuration

Tools promoting infrastructure-as-code and policy enforcement free up cycles previously spent on tedious upkeep.

HashiCorp Terraform establishes itself as the standard for declaratively managing infrastructure across clouds while Ansible, Puppet and Chef handle configuration.

78% of companies report Terraform skills now required for cloud ops roles as environments scale rapidly.

Benefits include:

  • Accelerate provisioning through automation
  • Enforce security and compliance guardrails
  • Prevent configuration drift at scale
  • Promote collaboration between ops and developers

Notable Solutions


  • Defacto standard for infrastructure-as-code
  • Supports major cloud platforms
  • HashiCorp backing and thriving community


  • Agentless automation with nearly 3000 built-in modules
  • Push-based execution avoids daemons
  • Declarative playbooks written in YAML


  • Powerful configuration management
  • Model based deployments
  • Enterprise capabilities

AWS CloudFormation

  • Declare infrastructure resources within AWS platform
  • Repeatable provisioning
  • Integrates with IAM, VPCs, etc

93% of companies believe achieving visibility across systems is major DevOps challenge. Robust monitoring and observability platforms digest signals creating actionable insight.

Monitoring & Observability

Essential telemetry coupled with analysis platforms guide stability improvements and optimization.

While open source options like Prometheus and Grafana entered as Kubernetes sidecars, commercial tools lead at enterprise scale and extensibility – notably Datadog and New Relic.

89% of respondents in Vision Research Report say poor visibility contributes to application issues in production.

Benefits include:

  • Assess availability and performance
  • Identify anomalies requiring intervention
  • Inform capacity planning decisions
  • Accelerate root cause analysis
  • Contextualize business impact of technology issues

Notable Solutions


  • Unified platform aggregating metrics, traces, logs
  • Embed telemetry within apps
  • Anomaly detection and collaboration features

New Relic

  • Leading APM supporting custom dashboards
  • Tuned query language
  • First-class mobile, browser and synthetic monitoring


  • Open source specifically for cloud-scale dynamism
  • Multi-dimensional data model
  • Integrates with major Kubernetes distributions


  • Monitoring and management for AWS resources
  • Dashboards, custom metrics, log analytics
  • Integrated with key services like EC2

Public cloud computing unlocked business agility, subscription economics and vast capacity for software teams.

Cloud Platforms

Hyperscale cloud platforms now anchor delivery infrastructure thanks to Web Services APIs abstracting provisioning and administration complexities.

While AWS continues its forward momentum snaring over 30% of worldwide spend, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud race to advance developer services around containers, data analytics and machine learning – each now valued at over $1 trillion.

476 of the Fortune 500 now use AWS highlighting dominance.

Benefits include:

  • Utility pricing converts CapEx infrastructure to OpEx
  • Self-service control over provisioning agility
  • Expand or shrink capacity on demand
  • Leverage economies of hyperscale

Notable Solutions


  • Broadest, deepest cloud platform – 190+ integrated services
  • 76 Availability Zones globally
  • Trusted leader with proven operational expertise

Microsoft Azure

  • Future proof Windows workloads
  • Focus on containers, AI and machine learning
  • Power Platform low code app development

Google Cloud Platform

  • Price/performance leader
  • Open source commitment – Anthos, Istio, Knative
  • Leverage Google‘s software-defined infrastructure

Microservices, APIs and distributed applications achieve responsiveness and scale but demand robust orchestration.

Containerization & Orchestration

Container platforms increase compute density and speed deployment while orchestrators automate scheduling, availability and networking.

Docker kickstarted the container revolution while Kubernetes cemented itself as the open source industry standard for operating containers at scale. Incumbents race to enable turnkey hybrid Kubernetes through VMware Tanzu, Red Hat OpenShift and AWS EKS Anywhere.

451 Research found containers used in production by over 84% of organizations.

Benefits include:

  • Accelerate setup with portable development environments
  • Upgrade, rollback revisions effortlessly
  • Right size deployments with improved utilization
  • Automate failover, scaling, load balancing

Notable Solutions


  • De facto standard for packaging and distributing applications as containers


  • Container orchestration at massive scale
  • Cloud agnostic – manages on-prem or cloud infrastructure

Amazon EKS

  • AWS managed Kubernetes eliminating undifferentiated heavy lifting
  • Tightly integrated with cloud services

Red Hat OpenShift

  • Enterprise Kubernetes including management and security
  • Ideal for regulated or legacy infrastructure

Key Takeaways

We covered 47+ commanding options across pillars like:

  • Continuous Integration & Delivery
  • Infrastructure Automation
  • Monitoring & Analytics
  • Cloud Platforms
  • Containerization & Orchestration

Of course, products evolve rapidly – forecast the demise of on-prem VMware server virtualization giving way to Kubernetes and cloud over a decade ago?

Prioritize capabilities over vendors, look for mission focus over spreading thin, and integrate rather than attempt to boil the ocean.

The right DevOps toolchain empowers your team to achieve improved velocity and quality. But tooling alone gets no one far.

Realigning processes, culture and organizational support stand equally essential to unlocking modern delivery and value streams – with appropriate solutions now readily available whatever the constraints.

What resonated most? Any glaring omissions? Which capabilities offer your delivery chain the biggest lift? Let‘s keep the conversation going!