Best Cloud Tools for Infrastructure Automation: Take the Pain Out of Infrastructure Management with These 51 Tools for Agile DevOps
| May 9, 2017
There are two main reasons for infrastructure automation. First, system administrators, IT professionals and DevOps engineers need to automate as many routine tasks as possible. That’s why we build tools at Stackify to help developers automate processes like application performance management, error monitoring, and log management; automation means you have more time for mission-critical tasks. Second, automation makes the management of complex, diverse environments possible and allows rapid scaling.
Whether you are using a public cloud, private cloud or hybrid cloud, infrastructure automation tools will come in handy. The following is a look at the 51 best cloud infrastructure automation tools available today, which we’ve listed below in alphabetical order.
Ansible is a relatively simple infrastructure automation engine that automates application deployment, configuration management, cloud provisioning and intra-service orchestration. It has hundreds of modules that ensure the support of multiple integrations including Google Cloud Platform, Amazon Web Services, Splunk, and NetApp. Ansible allows you to centralize your infrastructure through a role-based permissions, job scheduling, and a visual dashboard.
Designed for multi-tier deployments
Uses simple language that approaches everyday English
Does not require additional security infrastructure
Ansible Tower Self Support – Ideal for smaller deployments. Costs $5,000 a year for up to 100 nodes and $10,000 for up to 250 nodes
Ansible Tower Enterprise – Perfect for Enterprises and includes 8to5 support. Costs $10,000 per annum for up to 100 nodes. Contact for a price quote if more than 100 nodes
Ansible Tower Premium – Best for mission-critical DevOps and provides 24×7 support. $14,000 per year for up to 100 nodes. Contact for a price quote if more than 100 nodes
Automate delivers desktop and server automation that builds on years of experience across thousands of customers. It integrates with cloud-based and virtual computing environments and is both flexible and cost friendly. It makes easy work of schedule management, trigger management, and task scheduling.
Dynamic, drag-and-drop and easy-to-deploy tasks
Multi-document support, efficient action search, stack viewer support
Event-driven task triggering
Automate Trial Version – Free (expires after 30 days)
Bcfg2 allows system administrators to create verifiable, reproducible and consistent descriptions of their infrastructure environment. It has reporting and visualization tools to support everyday administrative tasks.
Runs on multiple environments including Mac OS X, Solaris, FreeBSD, AIX, and Ubuntu
Allows a client’s response to provide an objective assessment of a specification’ completeness
Facilitates manual system modification
Enables complex deployment and change management strategies
CA’s automation solutions simplify and accelerate the transition from manual to automated service delivery. It ensures full capability across both physical and virtual infrastructure, services and applications. The automation drives innovation, reduces costs and speeds up business processes.
Intelligent technological automation that adapts to ever-changing business requirements
Accelerate and streamline transition to the cloud
Exceptional control, visibility, productivity and speed
Industry-tested scalability to manage complex workloads
Continuous compliance via automated configuration error remediation
One of the oldest configuration engines in the market, CFEngine was first rolled out in 1993. It automates complex, large-scale and mission critical infrastructure. Global changes are made consistently and securely while ensuring compliance. It is used by major brands including Intel, LinkedIn, Panasonic, Samsung, Chevron, Comcast and Deutsche Telekom.
Written in C which ensures one of the leanest and fastest executing tools available. A configuration change can be deployed across 50,000 servers in just 5 minutes
Stable, mature solution tested in a diverse range of large enterprise environments
Compliance reports and real-time dashboard
CFEngine Community Edition (Free) – Includes compliance & reporting function
CFEngine Enterprise Edition (Request a quote) – The Community Edition plus support and a graphical user interface
Chef is one of oldest and best-known infrastructure automation tools out there. It scales easily and can be used to manage 5 servers or 5,000. It facilitates continuous delivery and configuration management. By converting infrastructure to code, Chef enables IT professionals and cloud engineers to automate the building, deployment, and management of infrastructure.
Automation of tasks by employing reusable definitions
You can use the predefined resources as building blocks or define your own
Test code on a local workstation or isolated environment before deploying into production
Automated testing for security and compliance
Dashboards for infrastructure management, auditing, and troubleshooting
Chef Basics – Free. Comes with Chef Server, Client and Development Kit, Supermarket Content and 8-to-5 support for the first 30 days
Hosted Chef – $72 per node per year (minimum of 20 nodes). Chef Basics plus Chef Server hosting services, Supported Content, High Availability and unlimited 8-5 support
Chef Automate – $137 per node per year. Hosted Chef plus workflow, compliance, visibility and 24-7 support (excludes server hosting services)
Cirba provides several options for cloud environment integration, routing automation, densification, and reservation. It enables smart, automated demand management whether through the analysis of existing applications or integration with third-party portals.
Provides complete picture of the network, storage and compute resources available including current workloads
Allows balancing of resources to meet service levels, and match compliance requirements
Multidimensional analysis to ensure capacity reservation and accurate forecasting
Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud delivers operational efficiency, responsiveness, speed and user satisfaction. Whereas this solution blends well with other Cisco products and technological solutions, it can be integrated into an enterprise’s existing non-Cisco infrastructure, systems, operational processes and service management tools.
User-friendly portal and service catalog
Convenient dashboard for lifecycle management, resource status, and consumption control
Enhanced visibility and discovery means a greater ability to make real-time changes
Simplified provisioning for complex cloud environments
Cobbler is an installation server that allows the quick setup of installation environments. It joins and automates numerous tasks, so network administrators do not need to jump between multiple applications and commands when deploying or changing systems. It may be used for configuration orchestration, power management, package updates, DHCP, DNS and overall installation.
Interacts with koan for virtualization and re-installation support
Installation profiles that can be applied to one or thousands of machines
Combination of snippets, profiles, and ksmeta ensures high flexibility
Commando is a distributed online SSH platform that provides a simple way to manage servers. It enables users to improve their workflow, increase efficiency and eliminate uncertainty over server provisioning, deployment, and maintenance.
Import servers across multiple infrastructure providers
Native SSH means quick setup with no external dependencies
Pico Plan ($12 per month) – Add up to 3 servers and 2 users
Nano Plan ($24 per month) – Add up to 5 servers and 3 users
Micro Plan ($49 per month) – Add up to 10 servers and 4 users
Mega Plan ($99 per month) – Add up to 20 servers and 5 users
Giga Plan ($199 per month) – Add up to 40 servers and 6 users
Crowbar is an Apache-2 licensed tool that allows one to build complete and easy-to-use operational deployments. Groups of network nodes can be converted into a production-ready cluster in a matter of hours.
Completely automated deployment
Extensible and mature architecture
Scalable and well suited for large organizations
Supports wide range of cloud environments including Ceph, OpenStack, and CloudFoundry
Fabric’s functions are fairly basic. If you need greater and more sophisticated functionality running on Fabric, Cuisine is what you might want to look at.
It consists of several high-level functions such as upgrade/installation packages, addition/removal of users/groups as well as broader file and directory operations than are possible using basic Fabric.
A single file API that’s not only small but also easy to read
DivvyCloud BotFactory is an engine for automated policy enforcement on cloud infrastructure. It works on the principle of pervasive cloud discovery. It connects to cloud APIs to extract data on cloud resources irrespective of how they’re provisioned or where they’re running. It ensures a near real-time inventory of infrastructure via a single pane of glass.
Security rule audit by inspecting access lists for insecure protocols/ports and non-compliant rules
Identification and deletion of orphaned resources
Cost savings by scheduling instances to stop on holidays, weekends and at night when not in use
Inspect global root cloud accounts to ensure multi-factor authentication
Dynatrace monitors the virtualized environment of your private data center. Technology professionals can see the complete picture of their infrastructure in real time and keep up with the changes including machine migration.
Interactive map of network environment showing applications, processes, and dependencies
Keep tabs on critical metrics including throughput and read/write
Pinpoint and analyze application and virtualization performance problems
Fabric streamlines SSH use in system administrator tasks and application deployment. It is a command line tool and Python library that provides a suite of basic operations for the execution of remote or local shell commands. Fabric is most often used for the upload and download of files.
Execute Python functions through the command line
A library of subroutines that make the execution of shell commands easy
HP Cloud Service Automation suite makes it easy for businesses to benefit from compliant, secure cloud services. IT professionals can simplify and automate the management and deployment of hybrid infrastructure environment. Jumpstart hybrid or private cloud implementations with several quick options.
Self-service, intuitive and customizable portal with mash up capabilities and modern shopping experience
Unified, comprehensive and highly automated lifecycle management
Extensible, open architecture with one-touch provisioning of applications, operating systems, and infrastructure
Reduced risk and increased deployment quality with HPE Cloud Maps
CloudController delivers consistency and coherence to back office and customer-facing technology infrastructure operations. Standardized workflows mean significant improvements in operations efficiency. It flawlessly integrates existing cloud infrastructure.
ISconf is a tool for managing infrastructure configuration and build. It is somewhat a cross between sudo and Git, Bitkeeper or other distributed version control tool. All changes made via ISconf are not only journaled but also added to a repository where they are queued for execution on target machines.
Target machines do not need to be online or built at the time of queuing the changes. Once the machine is turned on and built, ISconf will consult the journal and execute the required changes in the set order.
Peer-to-peer. No single point of failure such as a central server.
MagniComp RDist is an open source application for maintaining identical copies of files across multiple hosts. It preserves details of the file including owner, mode, group and mtime. MagniComp RDist differs from older rdist versions in that the server and client portions are separated into two programs.
Instead of making the connection to remote hosts directly, it uses ssh or rsh thus eliminating the need to setuid to root
Can perform encrypted and secure updates
Supports automated system configuration and therefore works on many Linux/Unix based systems
Mist.io is a secure cloud management engine for orchestration and automation, as well as usage and cost monitoring. It targets system administrators, developers and any IT professionals engaged in remote, on-premise or hybrid computing.
Simplifies cloud management by abstracting infrastructure layer to ease replication across multiple providers
Supports private clouds, public clouds, bare metal machines and Docker containers
Unified interface for automation, orchestration, monitoring and provisioning
Easily integrates into existing workflow
Free – Up to 5 machines
Small ($150 per month) – Up to 50 machines
Medium ($400 per month) – Up to 150 machines
Large ($750 per month) – Up to 300 machines
Enterprise (Request a quote) – More than 300 machines
Netreo is a full-stack IT management management solution that leverages automation and AIOps to empower customers with real-time information on their cloud, on-premises, and hybrid networks, applications, and devices — so they can provide amazing internal and external customer experiences from their digital environments and focus more on innovation.
Automated devices discovery and configuration
Automated topology and geographic mapping
Automated root-cause analysis
AIOps for automated tuning of your environment
Netreo pricing starts at $5 per device per month with volume discounts as you scale. Netreo is sold in three tiers to support your monitoring needs: Essentials, Professional, and Ultimate
NexentaStor is an easy to use, full-featured, and unified storage solution. It allows the execution, management, and analysis of routine storage tasks. NexentaStor has an impressive track record of deployment across a wide range of industries. It helps enterprises increase performance, flexibility, and agility while lowering overall costs by 50% or more.
Unified File and Block Services
Enterprise-grade performance and data integrity that includes the ability to scale from tens of terabytes to petabytes
Unlimited file system sizes
Cost savings via inline data reduction
Unlimited space optimized clones and snapshots
Continuous or periodic long-distance asynchronous replication
NixOS is a Linux distribution that provides a unique approach to configuration and package management. The operating system is built from a description in a wholly functional build language. Wholly functional means new configuration builds cannot overwrite previous ones.
Atomic upgrades means system remains in a consistent state if upgrade is interrupted e.g. due to a power interruption
Openfiler converts x86_64 architecture to full-fledged SAN/NAS appliance of IP storage gateway. It is a powerful tool for storage administrators to cope with rapidly growing storage demands. It addresses all the key data storage indicators i.e. availability, reliability, scalability, and performance. Openfiler ensures administrators make the most use of storage capacity and system performance resources when managing and allocating storage on a multi-platform network.
Pconsole is a system administration tool for working with machine clusters. It allows one to simultaneously connect to multiple nodes of a cluster. Administrative commands typed in a specialized window are ‘multiplied’ to each opened connection. It can be run in either X Windows or in console mode and need only be installed on one machine in the cluster.
PIKT is short for “Problem Informant/Killer Tool”. It is a multipurpose, cross-categorical software for configuring and monitoring computer systems, organizing security, administering networks and plenty more. Whereas it is primarily meant for system monitoring and configuration management, its extensibility and versatility mean it has numerous other uses. It excels at handling a diverse set of machines, saving time and eliminating repetition.
Feature-rich, sophisticated macro preprocessor
Scripting language with unique, innovative labor-saving features
Centrally-directed and flexible process scheduler
Customizing file installer
Command line extensions for remote and local execution
PontusVision Thread Manager reduces the time required for system performance improvement from several weeks of unpredictable experiments to just seconds of simulations. It banks on industry-tested templates to automate software and hardware deployment.
Improves performance by as much as 270%
Simulation results can be applied to any modern multi-CPU server, operating system, and computer language
Optimal thread allocation
Can be run in passive-modeling mode or self-tuning mode
A major player in the automation marketplace, Puppet’s client list features some big names including NASA, Salesforce, Intel, Gettyimages, Verizon, Uber, and Sony. Puppet provides a standard means of delivering and operating software. Its easy-to-read language simplifies the process of defining what your infrastructure and apps should look like.
Write your own code or select from the thousands of freely available modules
Manage the control, visibility, and automation of changes to your applications and infrastructure
Puppet Enterprise Free – Limited to 10 nodes. Includes access to product updates and numerous pre-built modules
Puppet Enterprise Standard – Starts at $120 per node per year. Puppet Enterprise Free plus bug fixes and private knowledge base
Puppet Enterprise Premium – Contact Puppet for pricing. Puppet Enterprise Standard plus free training and 24/7 support
Cloudshell Cloud Sandboxing solution is designed to speed up the development of hybrid applications for the cloud. Automate cloud environments testing and deployment to production on both public and private cloud infrastructure. It provides a common working environment for even the most complex hybrid cloud setups.
Application blueprints and templates are cloud agnostic
Can contain all cloud components including infrastructure, applications, network components, databases and virtual services
Cost optimization and efficient resource utilization
Visual interface with drag and drop capability simplifies the process
Dashboards and reports provide comprehensive business intelligence
Qualys Policy Compliance (QPC) is a cloud management tool that facilitates the automation of IT security configuration assessment. It reduces risk and ensures continuous compliance with external regulations and internal policies.
Automated high volume identification, tracking, and scanning of network assets
Assessment goes beyond just the operating system and includes databases, applications, and network devices
Interactive controls library and policy editor
Detailed non-compliance evidence and exception documentation
Quattor is a system administration platform that provides a modular, portable and powerful tool set for the automated management, configuration, and installation of clouds, grids, farms, and clusters. Quattor has three key building blocks: Configuration Management Database (CMDB) server, the Automated Installation Infrastructure (AII) server, and Managed Clients.
Clearly defined tool interfaces allow flexible integration with existing tools
Proven scalability in large-scale enterprise environments with more than 30,000 systems
Comprehensive system description validation features ensure configuration errors are caught before deployment
Quest Cloud Manager is an enterprise solution that provides choice, governance, and agility in cloud management. The manager serves as a single portal for the control and implementation of governance policies.
API facilitates integration of automation tools and back-end systems
Can be implemented as SaaS for the management of public clouds
Supports multiple cloud environments and instances
Rudder by Normation is a tool for infrastructure automation and compliance verification. It seamlessly handles machine deployment (cloud, virtual, physical instances), configuration management and compliance monitoring (including ISO 27001, PCI-DSS, Corporate Policy, etc.).
The only open source automation tool with a web management interface
An extensive library of ready to use rules
Easy to use, codeless graphical creation module
Comprehensive compliance dashboard
Highly scalable and can manage networks with 100,000 machines
Rundeck is open source software that automates routine and ad-hoc procedures for cloud environments. It is used by organizations keen on improving control of daily operations, reduce errors and improve auditability/visibility. Standardize operating procedures, define access controls and view activity reports on a single dashboard.
Jobs can be on-demand via API or web interface or triggered by a scheduler
End-to-end infrastructure orchestration across servers by using queries, filters, tags, and attributes
Can be executed across Unix and Windows platforms
Interested parties are automatically notified of the start, success or failure of a job
SaltStack is an established name in infrastructure automation. It approaches IT management by creating software that is easy to use, fast and scalable. SaltStack provides a dynamic communication bus for orchestration, configuration management, and remote execution. Since it was launched in 2011, SaltStack is one of the most active and fastest growing infrastructure automation projects in the world.
Scalr is an enterprise cloud management tool that facilitates the successful delivery of a standardized, automated, and cost-effective enterprise cloud. It uses a top-down, hierarchical approach that equips administrators with the requisite tools to balance development, security and finance needs.
Builds hierarchical process where provisioning is put through a policy layer. The policy layer incorporates orchestration, placement, security, permissions, cost management and integration
Application-level visibility into budgeting reports, tools and cloud spend
Automate cleanup and waste reduction by identifying unutilized resources and preventing needless spending
Modular and plugable means easy integration with a wide range of existing systems
ServiceNow Cloud Management simplifies and automates the full cloud services lifecycle. It creates an environment that optimizes resource utilization and drives down costs. Accelerate provisioning, approval and service requests. Manage cloud environment efficiently and consistently, while ensuring security and compliance.
Cloud-agnostic and can be extended to manage multiple private and public cloud environments
Full control of cloud services and resources including key metrics, business costs, and usage visibility
Single system of record for consistent configuration of cloud resources, business services, and data
Users can self-manage and self-provision predefined configurations
Tstconfig allows system administrators to automatically test a large set of configuration files. It provides assurance on a system’s level of integrity.
Enforce good configuration standards across multiple systems
It examines the existing configuration and confirms that specified attributes have the expected values
Notifies SysAdmins of discrepancies
Remember that this list is in alphabetical order and is not ranked in terms of importance. Note that the same tool will have different importance and relevance from one organization to another. It will all depend on the complexity of the infrastructure environment the tool is meant for, the ease of integrating with existing systems and the acquiring organization’s budget.
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