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10 Must-Have Salesforce DevOps Tools and How to Orchestrate Them Right

Rajeswar Rajendran

October 4, 2021

Managing your operations pipeline is critical for any business that uses Salesforce. If you do it well, you’ll bring a cultural shift that will allow people to break down communication silos. This will further help teams to improve the quality of the software releases and deploy releases faster. 

A report reveals that 2020 was a driver for DevOps tool adoption. With 4,300 respondents globally, the report further stated that software testing and code review were still stumbling blocks even through 2021.

The thing is, you need the right DevOps tools to manage your Salesforce operations, or you risk introducing more friction among teams, slow down development, and impact your security too. Sure, you can’t rely only on tools to bring this transformation, but they are key to your Salesforce DevOps strategy. 

The right tools can automate processes, improve speed, reduce errors, and boost cross-team collaboration. The challenge is, there are literally dozens of tools on the market right now that promise to help you be better with DevOps. With so many options, it can be challenging to figure out which tool best fits your requirements, and if they’ll actually lessen your workload.  

To make it easier for you to pick the best Salesforce DevOps tool for your team, we did the groundwork for you. So, we have compiled 9 Salesforce DevOps tools that will help you bring radical transparency and collaboration to your workflow.

What are Salesforce DevOps tools and why do you need them? 

It’s no secret that software companies find Salesforce to have a paradoxical experience. Simply put, the platform has amazing features and the capability to deliver powerful solutions. But things tend to get messy when you’re using Salesforce to run an organization with several hundreds of users and multiple developers working across projects. In such cases, adopting Salesforce DevOps tools is a good idea.

Now, DevOps is a way for developers and operations teams to work together more closely to enhance and refine the continuous delivery process. This means frequent releases, better automation, fewer security issues, and errors. As DevOps brings a cultural shift - mindset, processes, and technology - teams within organizations are tightened, so they can become more collaborative and work quickly on priorities at hand.

There are many benefits of integrating DevOps tools into your Salesforce team:

  • Quicker release cycles drive more business agility
  • Rapid deployments reduce turnaround times
  • Fewer bugs/issues related to the product, thanks to continuous testing
  • Higher-quality releases deliver a better customer experience
  • Automation allows reliable and continuous delivery
  • Monitoring, rollback, and backups ensure service reliability
  • DevOps maximizes your Salesforce ROI

Best Salesforce DevOps tools

Deployment Tools

The key to successful Salesforce DevOps is to enable speed while maintaining software quality. When you’re starting on your journey with Salesforce DevOps, the first priority should be to select deployment tools. These tools should help you track multiple projects, organize the team’s progress, and make it easier for developers to self-manage builds efficiently.

More sophisticated Salesforce deployment tools are packed with rich features and an intuitive user interface, making the entire process of deployment and management easier.

Version Control

Version control systems (VCSs) allow users to backtrack to a previous state at any time. They do so by automatically and continuously taking snapshots of a set of files in fixed intervals; keep logs of all changes in the code.

Moreover, a good VCS allows developers to work independently on their features, without having to wait for other programmers or team members. This is a key driver for continuous integration in Salesforce DevOps.

Recommended tools: GitLab, GitHub, BitBucket, Apache Subversion, Perforce.

CI/CD

DevOps integration is all about accelerating the delivery speed and ensuring product quality. At the heart of it, DevOps uses a continuous and automated delivery cycle to make fast and reliable deployment possible. This is where CI/CD tools come in.

A good CI/CD tool leverages automation features and creates a solid CI/CD pipeline to help teams boost their speed.

Recommended tools: Jenkins, Bamboo, Cumulus CI, Circle CI, Travis CI

Rollback

Over time you may perform hundreds of releases and some deployments may not work as expected. So, you need a reliable tool that can immediately rollback the changes you made if a system failure occurs and to ensure there are no disruptions to business. 

Testing

Frequent changes in the code or the addition of new functionalities in the build tend to make it vulnerable to bugs and issues. To ensure the quality and security of the code, it’s critical to integrate testing tools that can run automated tests. 

Usually, developers can automate most testing processes like build, dependency management, conflict management, deployment, and more; helps reduce manual efforts and save time. 

Reporting

Whether you’re using the greatest data warehouses, or multiple platforms, a reporting tool should be able to easily pull in data from services like MySQL, Google BigQuery, Oracle OCI, Amazon Aurora, Amazon Redshift, DB2, XMLA, and more. The less time your team spends on downloading and manipulating data, the more time they can dedicate to what matters more.

Backup Tools

In DevOps, teams work in a live operational environment with highly dynamic microservices running across a highly distributed system of tightly connected services, applications, data, and computers. In such dynamic environments, it’s crucial to integrate the backup processes into the DevOps CI/CD pipeline. 

Broadly there are two types of backups in Salesforce:

  • Data: It means values stored in the object-store. 
  • Metadata: It means additional configuration data specific to your project or organization including custom layouts, fields, rules, APEX triggers, reports, and others. 

For organizations working on multiple projects and heavily customizing their instance, there may be a considerable amount of data that requires protection. 

Look out for tools that offer automated and on-demand Salesforce backup for all your Salesforce data. Having flexible recovery options means that your team can restore data at any point in time (especially in the case of a low-grade deployment).

Data Backup 

In a well-defined DevOps system, you need to use specialized backup tools that provide an easy way to integrate with your CI/CD pipeline. Otherwise, it’s simply an external dependency that you need to coordinate with every single deployment. So, instead of trying to juggle with various CSVs, use Salesforce backup tools that come with an intuitive interface to help you restore your data any time.

Metadata Backup

No developer would like to overwrite a complex Flow or Apex trigger, only to be told that there’s no backup. Having metadata backups in the DevOps cycle makes the process more reliable, as teams can easily perform rollbacks. 

Recommended tools: CloudAlly, OwnBackup, Grax, Spanning, Metazoa Monarch, Skyvia, Ave Point, Odaseva, Druva

Test Automation Tools

Testing in DevOps is more than just performing unit tests and achieving code coverage. Sure, that’s a great way to ensure your deployments are secure and safe to run. But you also need to ensure that your build performs business processes as intended while offering a solid user experience. 

Automated testing tools can detect bugs in real-time, which means you can identify and fix them quickly; making deployments faster. They can run scheduled tests to check functional processes, such as triggering an event whenever certain conditions are met, moving a user from and to a specific database, progressing an opportunity, and more. 

The top attributes you should consider while choosing an automated tool include: 

  • Training and documentation: Pick a solution that comes with in-depth training materials and easy documentation, so your team can easily adapt the tool and learn its ebbs and ways. 
  • Good test reports: It’s critical to choose an automation testing tool that generates solid test documents and logs for test execution analysis, status reports, and issue diagnosis. 
  • Licensing and support costs: Allocate a specific budget for your automation testing. Factor in the costs associated with acquiring, maintaining, and support for the tool. Besides, it’s always a good idea to look for hidden costs that may impact the budget at a later stage. 
  • Learning curve: Your team of quality analysts may or may not be equipped with strong programming skills. Done wrong, adopting an automated testing tool can bring in more responsibilities and complexity to their jobs. So, it’s reasonable to choose an automated tool that has a minimal learning curve or requires zero coding skills. 

Recommended tools: Selenium, Provar, Katalon, Functionize, ACCELQ

Code Scanning Tools

One of the major factors that are important for Salesforce teams is the “code quality”. Ground reality is, there’s no such thing as a “full-proof manual scanning”. Regardless of how experienced or skilled, there’s a possibility of your development team overlooking a small bug during the code review process.

Unhealthy code could lead to issues in deployment security, functionality, and longevity. Besides, it could also lead to severe security issues, which in turn requires your DevOps team to go back and again review each line of the code manually.

Code scanning tools help DevOps engineers to automate the mundane, repetitive processes of reviewing Salesforce code and configuration. Moreover, a sophisticated DevOps tool can also ensure best practices throughout the code; for a healthy code.

Recommended tools: PMD, Code Scan, Checkmarx, SonarQube, Clayton, Codacy, Code Climate, Quality Clouds, DigitSec

Salesforce DX & DevOps

The principal idea of DevOps is to automate any part of the development-release cycle that’s still manual. Now, while you have plenty of Salesforce DevOps tools to choose from and automate your software dev-release process, it’s essential that all these tools function well together and streamline the entire process. This is where Salesforce DX comes in. 

Salesforce Developer Experience (DX) is a collection of tools and features designed for developers to improve how they build, test, and release packages. It offers useful and accessible tools that development teams can use to work with command-line interfaces (CLIs) or integrated development environments (IDEs). 

Salesforce DX is not an alternative to DevOps tools, but an addition that further simplifies the management of orgs and releases. At the crux of DX is scratch orgs which are source-driven, fully configurable, and disposable environments that can be used by Salesforce teams and DevOps engineers for rapid development and automated testing.

Benefits of Salesforce DX

  • It’s a completely API-driven functionality. 
  • Salesforce CLI provides commands for the entire software development lifecycle, so teams can work more efficiently with packages, scratch orgs, and development processes.
  • Enterprise teams can organize and deploy metadata to production orgs. 
  • Developers can better organize their source and easily share Apex code.  
  • Brings more agility and efficiency to release cycle processes. 
  • Allows developers to use any tool to modify the code such as Sublime, Atom, CLI, VIM, etc. 
  • Enables continuous integration and facilitates automated testing. 

Challenges of Salesforce DX

  • Given DX is relatively new, you may find some features missing (it’s a work in progress). 
  • It comes with a steep learning curve, so you’ll have to train your developers to get accustomed to the platform and its configurations. 
  • It requires heavy line commands and instructions, which makes it difficult for system admins to do troubleshooting. 

Salesforce DevOps Process: How to orchestrate these tools

Integrating DevOps in Salesforce can be challenging. More so, when you have to pick up all the pieces of the puzzle and put them together perfectly. To make this process easy and efficient, you can consider using tools like Opsera that provide no-code DevOps orchestration. 

Enterprises are able to accelerate their Salesforce deployments by nearly 50% to 75% using Opsera’s no-code Salesforce DevOps platform.  

Opsera is an end-to-end solution that takes care of the entire software development lifecycle including choosing the right tools, deploying automated configurations, merging components, version control, continuous deployments, and automated regression testing. 

It allows users to seamlessly orchestrate Salesforce DevOps tools across their development ecosystem. This eliminates the bottlenecks of traditional dev tools. So, dev teams can build automate entire pipelines with their favorite choice of CI/CD tools, access a large pool of integrations, gain end-to-end visibility, real-time governance, and data backups. 

If you’d like to know more about Opsera, please reach out to us - we’d love to hear from you. 

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