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The 7 Best Open Source Internal Developer Platform Tools

  • WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 82 [name] => Internal Developer Platform [slug] => internal-developer-platform [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 82 [taxonomy] => post_tag [description] => [parent] => 0 [count] => 10 [filter] => raw ) Internal Developer Platform
The 7 Best Open Source Internal Developer Platform Tools
Author: DuploCloud | Tuesday, December 6 2022

Using open source tools to build your IDP is a good way to tap into community resources and avoid licensing fees (if you have the time)

Applications are becoming more and more complex in today’s development world, and developers are increasingly overloaded as they face building, deploying, and managing resources at scale. Internal developer platforms (IDPs) support the work of both DevOps teams and engineers by automating, codifying, and streamlining everything from infrastructure to configuration management. Because IDPs are built piece by piece from an array of software solutions, platform engineers often combine a series of open source tools that provide maximum value and total visibility while minimizing overhead costs and licensing fees. Here are seven of the best open source internal developer platform tools you should consider adding to your stack.

The 7 Best Open Source Internal Developer Platform Tools

When you build your internal developer platform using open source tools, you get the benefits of solutions that are constantly being improved by robust and passionate communities without the need for a commercial license. And because they are made available publicly, open source tools can by definition be used and extended at no cost. Let’s explore the top seven open source internal developer platform tools in more detail:

#1: Ansible

Organizations can use Red Hat’s Ansible to automate manual IT processes like provisioning, configuration management, application deployment, and orchestration. The open source tool offers pre-configured “playbooks” in a YAML-based DSL that make it easier and faster for developers to provision the required infrastructure, instead of having to provision hundreds (or more) servers manually from scratch. Ansible offers a range of IT automation features from deploying Infrastructure as Code to improving security, making it a valuable addition to any open source internal developer platform.

#2: Argo CD

Argo CD is an open source CI/CD platform certified by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). It is dedicated specifically to deploying applications on Kubernetes and making their definitions, configurations, and environments both declarative and version controlled. Taking a GitOps approach means that Argo CD uses Git repositories to define and deploy the desired application state in an easy-to-understand way. It offers standard role-based access control (RBAC) capabilities, and allows developers to deploy applications without needing to access external services. As part of an IDP, Argo CD creates a level of abstraction between developers and Kubernetes by deploying code changes automatically each time they are committed.

#3: Backstage

Spotify’s Backstage is an open source platform backed by the CNCF and designed to help platform engineers build their own IDPs. Its main features include a software catalog for managing microservices, data pipelines, machine learning models, a library of standardized templates that unlock golden paths and push-button microservice deployment, and (free) automated documentation on TechDocs that’s easy to maintain and update alongside the code itself. When it comes to conducting your internal developer platform assessment, it can be comforting to know that Spotify is intimately familiar with the problem of environment drift and the costs of sprawling ecosystems, not just financially but also in terms of engineer autonomy and effectiveness.

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#4: Gimlet

Gimlet provides a range of internal developer platform tools for organizations using Kubernetes and Flux. Using generic Helm charts, Gimlet minimizes the configuration code that engineers need to write and makes it easy to declare, share, and version configurations in an application repository. Gimlet’s priority is taking care of organizations’ IDP needs so that highly trained and specialized engineering talent can focus on higher-value projects and responsibilities instead of building an internal developer platform from the ground up.

#5: Puppet

Puppet allows organizations to automate and configure the many components, workflows, and resources that go into infrastructure management. Because it prides itself on being open source, Puppet actively encourages members of the community to contribute to improving the tool and defining its ever-evolving direction. Organizations can use Puppet’s Ruby-based DSL to control and configure multiple application servers simultaneously so that IT teams can use it without extensive programming knowledge or dedicated DevOps support. Once a user has described their desired end-state infrastructure, Puppet determines the best way to achieve those goals.

#6: Terraform

HashiCorp’s Terraform is an open source Infrastructure as Code tool that many organizations use to manage hybrid and multi-cloud environments. Configuration files created with Terraform are easy to read (instead of being obscured by hyper-specific programming languages), which makes them even more reusable and shareable across consistent workflows. The platform’s core capabilities support compute, storage, and networking resources, DNS entries, and SaaS features, all of which can be augmented by a broad ecosystem of third-party integrations created by Terraform’s open source community.

#7: Crossplane

Upbound’s Crossplane is a CNCF-backed open source framework that allows organizations to build cloud-native control planes with minimal code. Crossplane users can orchestrate applications and provision infrastructure using simple YAML files across all the major cloud services and providers, including AWS and Google Cloud Platform. It’s a Kubernetes-focused tool that makes it easy to unite engineers with guardrails and abstractions that create consistency across deployments and cover everything from RBAC to security and compliance.

Making your internal developer platform open source from top to bottom is a good way to cut down on overhead costs and licensing fees, but it also typically requires additional up-front work and long lead times to cobble together a complete solution (without a lot of dedicated support along the way). Organizations may feel more comfortable using a dedicated DevSecOps automation platform like DuploCloud, which accelerates time-to-market with a low-code/no-code approach. Ready to see how you can make deployment times 10x faster while also reducing operating costs by 75%? Learn more about DuploCloud's solution for platform engineering.

Author: DuploCloud | Tuesday, December 6 2022