The DevOps lifecycle is built on speed, collaboration, and communication.

And, a crucial part of any DevOps workflow is using the right tools for the job. DevOps tools work in all phases of the DevOps workflow, and many offer integrations with other tools to improve handoffs between each phase.

But, DevOps tools are not only necessary for their functionality; they help DevOps engineers and their teams achieve new efficiencies.

DevOps tools improve communication between distributed team members and optimize knowledge sharing. They also increase the speed and scale at which the team is able to perform by automating routine tasks and providing new approaches to their workflow. Security in particular can be automated and better enforced, which is a constant challenge given the speed of the DevOps lifecycle. Finally, tools help developers maintain consistency with routine checks to enforce code standards before new code is committed.

These benefits are crucial for a DevOps team to achieve a sustainable cadence while maintaining oversight based on their goals and best practices.

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In this post, we’ve broken down the best DevOps tools available by the phases of the DevOps lifecycle they align to and their area of focus.

DevOps Tools


Plan Phase: Communication Tools

1. Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams channel

Price: Starts free; Microsoft 365 Business Basic for $5/user/month; Microsoft 365 Business Standard for $12.50/user/month

Teams is an all-in-one business communication platform launched by Microsoft in 2017. The tool offers chat and video conferencing capabilities to connect DevOps teams.

Additional features include:

  • Teams and channels for reaching larger numbers of recipients
  • Direct chat between teammates for more personalized communications
  • Document storage in SharePoint
  • Integrations with other productivity tools

2. Slack

Slack channel

Price: Starts free; Pro for $6.67/month; Business+ for $12.50/month; Enterprise Grid, contact for pricing

Slack is an instant messaging business communication platform recently acquired by Salesforce. Slack provides different chat options for individuals, groups, and channels with user-based permissions for information sharing between team members.

Additional features include:

  • Desktop and mobile apps for greater accessibility
  • Channels and group messages for reaching whole teams
  • Private messages for 1:1 communication
  • Integrations with Google Calendar and Zoom

3. Zoom

Zoom virtual presentation

Price: Starts free; Pro for $14.99/month/license; Business for $19.99/month/license; Enterprise for $19.99/month/license

Zoom is a video conferencing communication platform launched by Zoom Video Communications in 2012. It offers online meeting, webinar, and virtual event capabilities that each support different numbers of users and presentation formats to keep your team informed.

Additional features include:

  • Screen sharing for real-time walkthroughs and troubleshooting
  • Meetings for daily standups and team updates
  • Virtual event and webinar features for larger audiences
  • Zoom Chat for instant communication across devices

Code and Build Phases: Version Control Tools

4. GitHub

GitHub repository branch commit

Price: Starts free; Team for $4/user/month; Enterprise for $21/user/month

GitHub is a Git-based version control platform and software repository for storing your products' source code. It was launched in 2008 and was acquired by Microsoft in 2018.

GitHub's main features include:

  • Support for 200+ coding languages
  • User-based permissions and reviews to protect source code from unauthorized changes
  • Project documentation and a dedicated wiki for users
  • Issue boards to support Kanban and Scrum methodologies

5. GitLab

GitLab issues board

Price: Starts free; Premium for $19/user/month; Ultimate for $99/user/month

GitLab is another Git-based version control platform and software repository for hosting and managing source code that launched in 2014.

Its main features include:

  • Built-in task lists, description templates, and issue management cards for project management
  • Security scans and dynamic testing
  • Continuous integration features offered in the free plan
  • Auto DevOps feature supported in the free plan

6. Bitbucket

Bitbucket Pipelines

Price: Starts free; Standard for $3/user/month; Premium for $6/user/month

Bitbucket is a version control platform and code repository created to maintain and protect software source code. Bitbucket supports Git and is owned by Atlassian.

Its main features include:

  • Bitbucket Pipelines, a tool that visualizes the timeline for projects between the different stages of the DevOps lifecycle
  • Integration with Jira and Asana for greater visibility of project status across platforms
  • Unlimited number of private repositories
  • Access to plugins from the Atlassian marketplace

Testing Phase: Application Testing Tools

7. Test.ai

Test.ai dashboard

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Price: Free with custom paid plans available — contact Test.ai for custom pricing

Test.ai is a suite of testing tools built to automate the testing process so that developers can spend less time writing and maintaining scripts.

Additional features include:

  • AI-powered bots build tests without needing human input
  • Testing for every application feature to ensure full functionality on deployment
  • Scalable test execution to thousands of virtual machines or apps
  • Visual dashboard to display test results for analysis

8. Selenium

Selenium IDE

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Price: Free

Selenium is an automation tool for testing web applications across different web browser environments (i.e. Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer). The tool supports parallel test execution so that other tests run against the application concurrently, which saves time during the testing phase.

Additional features include:

  • Ease of use
  • Simulate multiple browsers and device types (e.g. desktop, laptop, mobile, tablet)
  • Develop and automate test cases using Selenium's scripting language
  • Open-source approach allows you to review the code powering the tool for full visibility

9. Docker

DockerHub

Price: Starts free; Pro for $5/month (single user); Team for $7/user/month; Business for $21/user/month 

Docker is a testing tool built to simulate real-world environments with a lightweight container versus dedicated servers that are more resource-intensive.

Additional features include:

  • Isolated containers so that multiple Docker environments can run concurrently without overlapping
  • Light-weight source code is scalable and efficient due to focus on reducing overhead
  • Reusable data volumes across environments for simulations

Release and Deploy Phases: Deployment Tools

10. Jira

Jira board

Price: Starts free; Standard for $7.50/user/month; Premium for $14.50/user/month; Enterprise, contact for pricing

Jira is an issue tracking software for bug resolution during the deployment phase. The tool also supports project management throughout the entire DevOps lifecycle, allowing your team to report progress and view tasks in one dashboard. It launched in 2002 and is owned by Atlassian.

Additional features include:

  • Integrations with the rest of the Atlassian product suite (i.e. Opsgenie, Confluence, Bitbucket)
  • Integrations with additional developer tools for greater accessibility
  • Custom workflows to fit the needs of individual teams and projects
  • Project performance measurement to compare against goals and identify where additional resources are needed

11. Jenkins

Jenkins Blue Ocean dashboard

Price: Free

Jenkins is a continuous integration (CI) tool that pushes the newest code to all instances of your "live" application to simplify the update process no matter the environment it's deployed in.

Additional features include:

  • Ease of installation and configuration
  • Open-source approach allows you to review the code powering the tool for full visibility
  • Numerous plugins to add new capabilities and extend its reach
  • Works across multiple operating systems (i.e. Windows, Mac OS, Linux)

12. Octopus Deploy

Octopus Deploy

Price: Cloud for $50/month for five targets; Server for $600/month for five targets

Octopus Deploy is an automated server for deploying your team's application to multiple environments. The tool provides customization to meet your project's needs and offers user-based permissions to prevent unauthorized access.

Additional features include:

  • Runbooks to automate routine and emergency tasks
  • One deployment pipeline for all clients/customers instead of thousands of deployment pipelines for each local app
  • Release management to model environments like dev, staging, and production
  • Variable management to share API keys, passwords, and other critical information for smooth deployments while ensuring only the correct users have access

Operate Phase: Security Tools

13. Splunk

Splunk Security dashboard

Price: Splunk IT Solutions for $40/host/month; Splunk Observability Solutions for $65/host/month; additional services, contact for pricing

Splunk is a security monitoring tool that analyzes the performance of systems and scans for errors and threats to allow your team to react to issues faster. The company was founded in 2003.

Splunk's main features include:

  • Real-time alerts
  • Automation and orchestration to allow instant responses to identified threats
  • Scalability to analyze large volumes of data
  • High redundancy to ensure availability

14. Nagios

Nagios dashboard

Price: Free

Nagios is a security monitoring tool that reaches across systems, servers, storage, and networks to check for status changes and identify intrusions. It is an open-source tool that was launched in 2002 and is maintained by a dedicated developer group.

Nagios' features include:

  • Real-time alerts
  • Dashboard for visualization of application status and analytics on performance
  • Custom criteria for alerts so you can catch and address issues before they become outages
  • Plugins to extend capabilities

Monitor Phase: Monitoring Tools

15. AppDynamics

AppDynamics dashboard

Price: Infrastructure Monitoring Edition for $6/month/CPU Core; Premium Edition for $60/month/CPU Core; Enterprise Edition for $90/month/CPU Core; Real User Monitoring for $0.06/month/thousand tokens

AppDynamics is an observability platform that tracks performance across your entire application stack. The company was founded in 2008 and acquired by Cisco in 2017.

Its main features include:

  • Specialized monitoring for issues in cloud provider infrastructure
  • Specialized monitoring for container tools, including Docker and Kubernetes
  • Extensions and additional supported languages for broader functionality

16. Dynatrace

Dynatrace application mapping

Price: Cloud automation for $0.10/Cloud Automation Unit; Application Security for $10/month; Digital experience monitoring for $11/month; Infrastructure monitoring for $21/month; Open ingestion for $25/month; Full-stack monitoring for $69/month

Dynatrace is a software-intelligence monitoring platform that leverages AI and automation to report on the health and performance of your applications. Dynatrace was founded in 2005.

Its features include:

  • Automatic mapping and monitoring of your entire IT environment after initial installation
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) capability to process large volumes of data almost instantly
  • Dedicated monitoring for end-user experience
  • Cloud architecture for limitless scalability to ensure optimal performance no matter the complexity of your environment

17. Datadog

Datadog infrastructure monitoring

Price: Free trial with paid plans available

Datadog is an analytics platform that measures and quantifies the performance of systems, servers, and networks so you can identify issues in your applications' technology stack and your team's internal DevOps tools. It is a SaaS-based platform that was launched in 2010.

Additional features include:

  • Real-time reporting
  • Insight into the full application stack plus the upstream and downstream systems that support the application for complete visibility
  • Monitoring for health and performance of other DevOps tools
  • More than 450 vendor-supported integrations for turn-key visibility into most components

DevOps Lifecycle: Cloud Tools

18. AWS DevOps

AWS DevOps CodeBuild

Price: Free with paid plans available

AWS DevOps is a suite of integrated DevOps tools that are hosted in AWS's cloud, removing the need for any dedicated infrastructure to host these tools.

Additional features include:

  • Built-in tools CodePipeline, CodeBuild, CodeDeploy, and CodeStar support the entire DevOps lifecycle
  • Ability to run tools either in the cloud or on your local machine
  • Easy integration and deployment on AWS infrastructure like EC2 or S3
  • AWS Marketplace to leverage additional tools and functionalities

19. Azure DevOps

Azure DevOps Pipelines

Price: Free with paid plans available

Azure DevOps is a product suite custom-built to support the DevOps lifecycle launched by Microsoft in 2005.

Additional features include:

  • Built-in tools Boards, Pipelines, Repos, and Test Pipelines support the entire DevOps lifecycle
  • Can be run in the cloud (Azure DevOps Services) or on-premises (Azure DevOps Server)
  • Extensions to bring in additional tools and capabilities
  • Can deploy on Azure or a different infrastructure

Developing Your Skills to Implement DevOps Tools

As you can see, there are a variety of tools to meet the needs of your DevOps team. Selecting the best tool depends on your specific use case, budget, and tech stack, but this post should provide a starting point as you narrow down options and drill deeper into each offering.

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Originally published Nov 15, 2021 7:00:00 AM, updated November 15 2021