DevOps Automation Tools

An automated testing tool is a software that enables you to set testing jobs before taking control and running the tests automatically. In an ideal world, there is little need for human intervention.

Multiple platforms, including desktop PCs, mobile devices, and smartphones, can be tested using various automation testing technologies. Performance testing can be automated without human interaction, enabling code to be tested whenever necessary, even around the clock, and accelerating the test execution process.

Benefits of Automation Testing

Considering the complex and huge systems, automation testing saves significant time. This enables testing to be done frequently, producing better and quicker results with less work and less time.

  • Swifter Feedback system
    During the validation stage of any software project, automation testing is essential. It vastly improves communication between product merchants, designers, and developers. It also allows potential bugs to be fixed immediately, increasing the development team's effectiveness.
  • Brand Enhancement
    The caliber of the test data used determines how well a test will work every time. Because it takes a long time to produce relevant, high-quality test data, testing is frequently done on replicas of live databases. You can reuse your data repeatedly thanks to automation technologies.
  • Cost-effective
    The longer a corporation uses automation testing, the more money it will ultimately save, despite the larger initial investment required. The time needed to execute the tests has decreased, which is primarily to blame. The absence of negligence or human error also leads to a significantly more excellent quality of work. This reduces the need for bug fixes during the post-release period, saving a significant portion of project costs.
  • Efficiency Testing
    Testing is one of the most crucial phases in creating an application. The automation testing's ability to be almost left unattended is its most attractive feature. This gives plenty of leeway for the outcomes to be kept under observation as the procedure closes. This makes it possible to boost the application's overall effectiveness.
  • Increase in Coverage Area
    More tests can be assigned to any application through the usage of automated testing. Higher testing coverage and fewer software abnormalities result from this. It also creates opportunities for testing more advanced features and applications. However, manual testing requires a huge crew and strict time limitations to accomplish the same thing.

Types of Automation Testing

  • Unit testing
    Unit testing is the process of testing small, discrete components of the software. It's the initial phase of testing, and even while it's typically carried out manually, it can occasionally be automated, so I am adding it here.
  • Smoke Tests
    A smoke test is a functional test that establishes the stability of a build. It checks the functionality of crucial components to ensure that the program can withstand additional testing. The test's name refers to the notion that if it isn't yet ready for more testing, it will stop the software from catching fire.
  • Integration Tests
    These functional tests ensure that the individual software components work correctly collectively.
  • Regression Tests
    To ensure that no aspect of the product has regressed once modifications are performed, regression tests are both functional and non-functional.
  • Examining API
    The application programming interface or API connects all the other systems your software requires to operate. Software is typically tested after development to ensure that everything functions as it should.

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Automation tools

  • Terraform
  • Ansible
  • Jenkins

TERRAFORM

DevOps teams generally use the IAC tool Terraform to automate various infrastructure activities. One of Terraform's primary use cases is the provisioning of cloud resources, for example. It is a Go-based, open-source provisioning tool developed by HashiCorp that is independent of the Cloud.

Your entire infrastructure may be described in code using Terraform. Terraform enables you to create and manage these resources in parallel across providers, even if your servers are from different vendors like AWS or Azure. You can manage your entire IT stack using Terraform as a common language and connective tissue.

What is Terraform used for?

For public cloud deployment on one of the major providers, Terraform serves a key role. Terraform's primary objective has been, and will continue to be, providing an IaC for services like AWS and Azure. Terraform provides a provider, a plugin that wraps already-existing APIs and languages like Azure Bicep, and a syntax generator to use these public clouds.

Facilitating multi-cloud deployments is Terraform's second primary use. The fact that Terraform performs across all cloud providers simultaneously, in contrast to some of its other IaC rivals, is one of its primary selling points. Because engineers may use the same syntax without having to become familiar with various tools and technologies, the ability to deploy resources to different cloud providers is essential.

Using Terraform to deploy, manage, and orchestrate resources with specialized cloud providers ranks third in terms of usage. You can use a provider in Terraform to wrap an existing API and convert it to the declarative syntax of Terraform even if you don't use AWS or another wellknown cloud service. To integrate Terraform with current tools or APIs, providers can also be created for internal use cases.

So, whether it's a single cloud, several clouds, or a customized deployment, Terraform enables you to manage your complete IT environment via IaC.

Benefits of Infrastructure-as-Code (IaC)

Lines of code from IaC replace manual labor and standard operating procedures for managing IT resources. IaC automates infrastructure management by using source code rather than manually configuring cloud nodes or physical hardware.

Quickness and simplicity. IaC speeds up lifecycles' delivery and management by eliminating manual operations. IaC enables the simple execution of a script to spin up a comprehensive infrastructure design instantly.

Work in a team. Through tools like GitHub, different team members can work together on IaC software just as they would with traditional application code. For future usage and reference, code can be quickly connected to issue-tracking systems.

Reduction of errors When deploying your infrastructure, IaC reduces the likelihood of mistakes or deviations. The code standardizes your configuration, enabling applications to run faultlessly without needing ongoing admin oversight.

Recovery from disaster. You can indeed bounce back from calamities faster with IaC because the infrastructure that was humanly built needs to be manually rebuilt. However, using IaC, you may frequently provide the same software again by running the same scripts.

Increased Security. Automation is a key component of IaC, removing numerous security vulnerabilities caused by human mistakes. The total security of your computing architecture and related data significantly increases when an IaC-based solution is configured appropriately.

How Does Terraform Work?

Terraform enables you to define and manage your entire infrastructure by utilizing configuration files and version control. It does this by utilizing the Core and Providers subsystems of Terraform architecture.

How Terraform Core Works

Terraform core utilizes two input sources to carry out its function. The first is the source input, or the list of resources that need to be produced or provisioned, that the user configures into Terraform. The second input source is data that Terraform receives about how the infrastructure is currently built up.

The necessary actions are then determined by Terraform using these inputs. It compares the userspecified desired state with the existing state, then configures the architecture to fill in the gaps. To ultimately supply your infrastructure, Terraform Core determines what needs to be produced, modified, or removed.

How Terraform Providers Work

Providers for particular technologies are the second essential element that powers Terraform. However, any alternative infrastructure or platform as a service tool might be used in place of conventional cloud services providers like AWS or Azure. For instance, Kubernetes would be another supplier that Terraform makes use of.

The resources of Terraform are accessible to consumers thanks to its more than one hundred suppliers for diverse technologies. For instance, if you're utilizing AWS, Terraform will also have access to EC2 instances and other tech stack resources. Then, you may build infrastructure at various levels, such as by layering Kubernetes over Azure.

This is how Terraform functions, completing your application and infrastructure setup rapidly and entirely through code.

LET'S BUILD TOGETHER ON DevOps

ANSIBLE

Ansible is becoming more and more popular lately if you work in IT. According to CIO, Ansible is the "darling" of DevOps for software automation, who also notes that it "has risen from nothing to be the No. 1 choice for software automation in many organizations." StackShare claims over 1,000 users, including Intel, Evernote, Hootsuite, and Ansib1. Le blog claims that Apple and NASA have also adopted it. What is Ansible, then, and why has it become so wellknown so quickly? We'll get into that here and briefly discuss why Ansible and Docker complement each other so well and how to utilize Ansible in Docker. You'll see a hint of why the Ansible-Docker pairing is so effective. Let's start by discussing what Ansible is.

What is Ansible?

Ansible is an open-source automation platform or tool for IT activities like provisioning, intraservice orchestration, and application deployment. Automation is crucial since today's IT environments are too complex and frequently need to scale too quickly for system administrators and developers to keep up with. Complicated jobs can be made simpler to perform through automation, making developers' workloads more manageable and freeing them up to focus on other tasks that are advantageous to the company. In other words, it improves productivity while freeing up time. And Ansible is quickly overtaking its competitors in automation tools, as was already said. Let's examine a few of the factors that make Ansible so popular.

What's the sense of reverting back to when windows and menus were one of the most significant advancements in computer software development? Because they still offer some definite advantages over GUIs, CLIs like Bash are still used. Let's examine some of these benefits.

Benefits of Ansible

  • Free: Ansible is an open-source tool.
  • Very simple to set up and use: No special coding skills are necessary to use Ansible's playbooks (more on playbooks later).
  • Powerful: Ansible lets you model even highly complex IT workflows.
  • Flexible: You can orchestrate the entire application environment no matter where it's deployed. You can also customize it based on your needs.
  • Agentless: You don't need to install any other software or firewall ports on the client systems you want to automate. You also don't have to set up a separate management structure.
  • Efficient: Because you don't need to install any extra software, there's more room for application resources on your server.

Ansible Features

  • Configuration Management
    Ansible is intended to be highly straightforward, dependable, and consistent for configuration management. You can start using it immediately if you already work in the IT industry. Ansible configurations are straightforward data descriptions of infrastructure that can be read by humans and parsed by computers. A password or SSH (Secure Socket Shell, a network protocol) key is all you need to begin administering systems. An illustration of how simple Ansible makes configuration management: You only need to write down all of the nodes' IP addresses (also known as remote hosts) and create an Ansible playbook to install the updated version of the desired software on each node, then execute the playbook from your control machine.
  • Application Deployment
    Ansible allows for the quick and straightforward deployment of multitier apps. You won't need to write any new code to automate your systems; instead, by writing a playbook that lists the tasks that must be carried out, Ansible will work out how to get your systems to the state you want them to be in. In other words, each system's software will only need to be individually configured. When you run a playbook from your control system, Ansible communicates with the remote hosts using SSH and executes each command (tasks).
  • Orchestration
    Just as a conductor of music blends the notes produced by many instruments into a cohesive artistic performance, orchestration combines various elements into a wonderfully functioning entire operation. For instance, while deploying an application, you must handle the front-end and back-end services, databases, networks, storage, etc. Additionally, you must ensure that each task is completed in the appropriate sequence. Ansible employs provisioning, automated processes, and other methods to simplify task orchestration. And after you've defined your infrastructure using Ansible playbooks, you can utilize the same orchestration everywhere you need to because Ansible playbooks are portable.
  • Security and Compliance
    Site-wide security policies (such as firewall rules or limiting user access) can be implemented with other automated procedures, like application deployment. All the remote hosts will automatically receive the new security information if you configure it on the control computer and execute the script that goes along with it. That implies you won't need to check each computer for security compliance continuously. Additionally, an admin's user ID and password cannot be retrieved in plain text on Ansible for added protection.
  • Cloud Provisioning
    Automating the provisioning of your infrastructure is the initial step towards automating the life cycle of your applications. You can set up bare-metal servers, virtualized hosts, network devices, and cloud platforms with Ansible.
  • Ansible Architecture
    Let's now talk about the components that make up the Ansible environment.
  • Modules
    Ansible distributes modules akin to short programs to all nodes or remote hosts from a command machine. The modules control services, packages, and files and run via playbooks (see below). Ansible runs all of the modules for updating software or performing other necessary tasks, and when it's done, it removes them. For routine activities, Ansible offers more than 450 modules.
  • Plugins
    Plugins are additional code that increases functionality, as you undoubtedly already know from many other tools and platforms. A few plugins come with Ansible, but you may also create your own. Examples of plugins are action, cache, and callback.
  • Inventories
    A single, straightforward file contains a list of all the computers you use with Ansible (the control machine and nodes), with information about each one's IP address, servers, databases, and other resources. After registering the inventory, you may use a straightforward text file to assign variables to any host.
  • Playbooks
    Ansible playbooks function similarly to task instruction manuals. They are straightforward files created using YAML, short for YAML Ain't Markup Language, a human-readable data serialization language. Because they explain the activities to be completed fast and without the user needing to know or remember any particular syntax, playbooks are actually at the core of what makes Ansible so popular. The objective of a play is to assign a set of hosts to clearly defined roles represented by tasks. Each playbook is made up of one or more plays.
  • APIs
    You can add new connection types, callbacks, and other features to Ansible by using a variety of APIs (application programming interfaces). SSH is only one example of an API.

Advantages of Using Ansible with Docker

Ansible does a great job of automating Docker and operationalizing the process of building and deploying containers. For example, if you're managing a traditional IT system, adding containertooling functionality can take a lot of work. But Ansible removes the need to do processes manually. There are four main advantages of using Ansible with Docker.

  • Portability/Flexibility
    Ansible playbooks are portable, can be used anywhere, and are repeatable, saving you a lot of time and effort. For example, if you use a pure Dockerfile to build a container, you can reproduce the application only in a Docker container. If you use an Ansible playbook to create a container, on the other hand, then you can reproduce the application in Docker, on the Cloud, and so on.
  • Auditability
    Even if you create containers, you'll still need to monitor code and track vulnerabilities. Using Ansible with Docker, you can easily track who has deployed which containers and what's in all of the containers and know that you can rebuild any containers as necessary.
  • Management of Entire Environments
    With Ansible, you already know you can manage your Docker containers. But you can also maintain the environment that all the containers are in, even in highly complex environments. Ansible can monitor containers and non-container simultaneously, which is essential because containerized applications often need to "talk" with noncontainerized applications.
  • Similar Syntax
    As mentioned, Ansible used YAML files for its playbooks. Docker uses its non-YAML scripts, but they are similar and can do almost the same.

JENKINS

Jenkins provides a straightforward method for automating other joint development operations and setting up a continuous integration or continuous delivery (CI/CD) system for practically any collection of languages and source code repositories. Jenkins gives you a faster and more robust means to integrate your complete chain of build, test, and deployment tools than you can quickly develop yourself, even though it doesn't eliminate the need to write scripts for individual processes.

What is Jenkins?

Jenkins is a Java-based open-source Continuous Integration server that automatically orchestrates a series of tasks to complete the Continuous Integration process. Jenkins supports every software development life cycle phase, including building, testing, documenting, deploying, and others.

Around 300,000 installations of Jenkins are present worldwide, and that number is increasing daily. Software organizations can speed up their software development process by utilizing Jenkins because it can quickly automate build and testing.

How Jenkins works

Jenkins is available as a WAR archive, installer packages for the main operating systems, a Homebrew package, a Docker image, and source code. With a small amount of Groovy, Ruby, and Antlr files, the source code is primarily written in Java.

The Jenkins WAR can be used solo or as a servlet in a Java application server like Tomcat. In either scenario, it generates a web user interface and welcomes requests to its REST API.

When you launch it for the first time, Jenkins creates an administrative account with a long random password, which you may paste into its opening webpage to unlock the installation.

Advantages of using Jenkins

  • Jenkins is run by an open-minded community. They hold public meetings each month where they solicit suggestions from the general public for the advancement of the Jenkins project.
  • Approximately 280 tickets have been resolved thus far, and the project releases stable versions every three months.
  • Jenkins develops along with technology. Around 320 plugins have currently been published in Jenkins' plugin database. Jenkins gains even more power and features with plugins.
  • You can deploy Jenkins on cloud-based platforms because the Jenkins tool also supports cloud-based architecture.
  • Jenkins' success can be attributed to the fact that a developer for other developers developed it.

Disadvantages of using Jenkins

  • Jenkins has shortcomings while being an extremely effective tool.
  • Its interface needs to be updated and user-friendly compared to modern UI trends.
  • Jenkins is well-liked by many developers. However, managing it takes some server administration expertise since Jenkins operates on a server.
  • Jenkins' complexity in terms of installation and configuration is one of the reasons that many users choose to refrain from using it.
  • Due to a few minor setup modifications, continuous integrations frequently fail. Continuous integration will be suspended, necessitating developer involvement.

Next Article

Communication And Collaboration In DevOps

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