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Open Source Tools Every IT Pro Needs to Know

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Open source is no longer a small part of the IT community. It’s a major part of any IT organization — for both software development and operations. Open source is a community of IT professionals that give back with free code and tools that can be used in a variety of sectors. If you’re an IT professional, here are a few open source tools that you should get acquainted with. We’ve compiled some development tools as well as operations tools to help you perform better and faster.

Operations: Packet Analysis
Packet analysis takes complex skills, but you don’t have to pay for the right tools. Wireshark is the Number 1 packet analysis tool for operations. If you have suspicious network traffic or need to review packet requests for certain services, you can download Wireshark and get started. This tool is one of the open source community’s favorites, so there is plenty of support and tutorials to get you started.

Operations: Nmap
Do you know what is attached to your network? It’s common for IT systems to get out of control as the business grows and more resources are attached to the internal LAN. Nmap is a lightweight open-source program that can help you detect resources on the network. You can even create a “map” of system resources that can be useful for planning and architecture reviews.

Development: Deploying Software
How long does it take to deploy software to your servers? With Jenkins, you can completely automate the process. Jenkins lets you create scripts that copy files, edit directories, and even call commands on the remote server. It also keeps a repository of all changes, so you can review the updates you’ve made on your servers. It’s perfect for enterprise environments where you’re forced to deploy to several servers at once.

Development: GitHub Code Repository
Most organizations have several software projects in development. Your developers can make tools and create code that works within the organization and isn’t a part of a main project. GitHub is an open-source code repository that you can use to manage change control and additions to the current code base. It can be your main repository, or you can use it in addition to other solutions.

Operations: Logging
Every organization needs a logging tool, and offers a way to have a repository and aggregation of your logs for all of your servers and network resources. This tool is great for system administrators that need to monitor several resources across a large network. With this tool, you can aggregate your data, run statistics and review reports for better monitoring and security auditing.

Operations: Server and Network Configurations
When you deploy dozens of servers across an environment, it’s tedious to configure every server and remember to keep configurations uniform. You can overcome this hurdle using Chef. Chef is a configuration automation tool. Similar to Jenkins, it lets you deploy configuration using scripts. Change your script and reconfigure all of your servers on the network. This tool cuts down on hours of configuration deployment and maintenance.

Operations and Development: Agile Management Solutions
Operations and development must be able to manage projects together. Most IT infrastructure changes affect software on the system, and any development tools must be supported by the operations department. To fully understand changes, the two teams must work together.

Agile is a common methodology to handle these changes, but to get the work done you need a reliable tool. Elasticbox is one such tool that brings the two departments together, so they can manage projects in one interface using the Agile methodology.

This list of tools is a must-have for any IT organization, but there are numerous others on the market provided by people who understand the importance of having the right automation, development and management. The open-source community is strong, and you’ll find plenty of support for many of the popular applications we listed.


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