Unless you've been hiding under a rock in a datacenter from the last century, chances are you've heard of Docker, the leading software container solution on the market. And if so, you've likely heard of its chief competitor CoreOS as well. Let's see how the two stack up in this comparison.
When it comes to modern software development, collaboration is the name of the game; to this end, development teams have more than ample selection of tools at their disposal these days. With a user base in the double digit millions, GitHub is the perennial favorite for sharing, collaborating, and repositing code, but the recently revamped Visual Studio Online—now known as Microsoft Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS)—may soon be stealing some of its thunder.
Continuous Integration (CI) is one of the formative concepts behind DevOps, driven by a need to regularly integrate new and changed code back into the master repository, and is often combined with Continuous Delivery (CD) to achieve faster and more stable builds with automation. Teams compile software, and run it through a series of tests in a production-identical development environment to ensure the success of the build. The logic behind this is wonderfully simple, though it only came about in response to the problems of the traditional deployment cycle: the more often you build and test during development, the less you have to worry about each time. Instead of having a D-Day, where the software will finally be compiled and run in production for the first time, continuous building and testing makes the go-live date just another routine deployment.
People seem to have a hard time deciding what DevOps even is, much less how (or whether) it compares to a highly structured methodology like ITIL. To answer the big questions up front: no, you don’t have to choose between DevOps and ITIL; no, DevOps is not replacing ITIL or vice versa; no, DevOps will not solve all the problems of an ITIL environment, and no, DevOps will not be perfected by implementing ITIL. But building good IT processes is they key to resilience, and UpGuard can help.
Most people associate DevOps with open source platforms and applications and with good reason. In the forward for the book Continuous Delivery with Windows and .NET, Dave Farley, who literally wrote the book on continuous delivery, writes, “I think it fair to say that some of the initial innovation in the Continuous Delivery space came from the Open Stack community.” But Microsoft has been pushing itself as a viable option for continuous workflows, offering its Azure cloud platform and its Visual Studio Online products as alternatives to Linux-based solutions.
In terms of what they do and how they work, Tripwire and Puppet have little overlap. Tripwire is for monitoring changes and Puppet is for configuring servers. The reason for tracking changes and configuring servers, however, brings them together as two approaches to compliance automation and, ultimately, reducing risk in computing systems. We’re going to compare Tripwire to Puppet here, not necessarily as identical tools, because they do have mostly different functionality sets, but how they fit into an IT environment.
Many enterprise software hopefuls tackle the final stretch to becoming a mature offering through the development of an easy-to-use management GUI. This is especially true of DevOps and automation tools, as quite a few solutions have recently rounded out their platforms with web-based UI consoles for easier, visual management of resources and services.
Puppet and Chef have both evolved significantly since we covered them last—suffice to say, we’re long overdue in revisiting these two heavy-hitters. In this article we’ll take a fresh look at their core components along with new integrations and expansions that continue to position them as leading enterprise IT automation platforms.
Chef is one of the most widely-used CM tools today, arguably playing second fiddle to the mighty Puppet. The tool is written in Ruby and Erlang, uses a pure-Ruby DSL in the Knife CLI, and includes a nice GUI for easy management. Developers and DevOps types will prefer using Chef, much more so than sysadmins.
Opsworks and Chef are very similar Configuration Management (CM) tools. Opsworks is actually built on the Chef framework, then customized for Amazon’s giant cloud environment AWS. Hosted Chef is an IaaS solution from Chef parent company Opscode, in which they host the Chef server for you, and it in turn manages and communicates with your nodes, which are most likely also hosted in a cloud infrastructure such as Amazon’s EC2 infrastructure. So both solutions are evolutions of the traditional CM tool, now tweaked for cloud-hosted environments. Let’s peek behind their respective curtains.
Open-source vs. proprietary? In the software universe, this debate has raged on in almost all sub-sectors – OS’s, databases, and even in the CM arena, where SCCM vs. Puppet are two of the heavyweight champs slugging it out. But beyond that philosophical difference in origin, they also take two completely different paths to the destination of easing the sys admin’s life.
Today’s sys admin and devops professionals have to manage, on average, a much larger number of servers hosting a much larger number of applications, than their counterparts from as recently as the 90’s. Blame this on the exponential growth on computing for organizations, coupled with the emergence of new technologies such as virtualization and cloud computing.
AWS and Rackspace are both giants of the cloud infrastructure services arena. Although to paraphrase George Orwell’s famous novella, all cloud providers are not created equal. So let’s take a closer look at our pugilists before placing bets or declaring the winner. The Contenders
Two factors have resulted in a corresponding increase in the number of servers supported by today’s sys admin - virtualization and the massive growth of computing in the organization. Even in small and medium-sized companies, it is not unheard of to have a sys admin supporting 4 servers or so. And of course, this number only goes up as the size of the organization increases. Enter configuration management (CM) tools like Puppet, Chef and Salt. Make no mistake, any of these tools will truly simplify your life as a sysadmin, by automating and minimizing the drudgery of manual server setup and creation. But which one should you go for? As with IOS vs. Android vs. Windows Phone, X-Box vs. PlayStation vs. Wii, each has both diehard loyalists and vociferous critics. The answer, again as happens in many of these wars, is that you need to match and compare each contestant’s capabilities to your own needs, and judge for yourself.