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Top 5 Basic Tools to Become an Effective DevOps Engineer Series: Part 1 (Ping)

Updated: Nov 25, 2022

Anthony De La Rosa @Anthony.D. / 5:00 PM EDT. September 23, 2022.


As a DevOps engineer, it's essential that you have the essential tools at hand. In this series, I'll be providing you with an extensive list of the top 5 tools every budding DevOps engineer needs to have in their toolbox. This way, if you're looking to become an effective DevOps Engineer then you'll be armed with the right amount of skills and know-how needed when implementing any kind of project.

Being a DevOps engineer is not simple. There are a lot of things that you have to understand in order to become one. However, before you can be effective as a DevOps engineer, there are probably some basic tools that you need to learn first. I'll be explaining 5 basic tools every DevOps engineer should know about.

An increasingly popular profession, DevOps engineers are sought after by tech giants such as Google, Microsoft and Facebook. Dominated by men — there were only 38 women working as DevOps engineers during 2014 — the job demands fast-paced work environments, a constant collaboration between teams and highly complex technical problems to solve. Becoming an effective DevOps engineer requires more than just having the right technical aptitude, it also requires creativity and flexibility which is why many of them prefer using specialized software tools such as Atlassian.

DevOps is not just a buzzword for IT pros anymore. These days, DevOps has become an integral part of companies' growth strategies, especially as increasing complexity in software applications demands ever-greater efforts from IT organizations across the board. As such, being a DevOps engineer is no longer just a dream job. It's also seen as a lucrative career move with plenty of potential opportunities available to qualified candidates.


It always surprises me how many engineers are AWS Certified or Certified Kubernetes Administrators but lack the basic concepts because they think knowing how to configure a Kubernetes Cluster or build a Serverless Application in AWS is more important. In reality, those basic concepts are the foundation and without them, everything else becomes unnecessarily difficult. I’ve been working in the industry for 18 years and have spent a lot of time building, configuring, administering, learning and maintaining all types of technologies but by far troubleshooting is where I have spent most of my time. Troubleshooting or fixing issues is a daily task for most engineers and it really just comes with the role so there is no escaping that but you have the choice to either work hard or work smart. I think we can all agree that working smarter is ideal but it’s not always the easiest because you see, even though you want to work smarter sometimes you end up working harder to fix something simply because you didn’t know how to effectively troubleshoot the root cause.

Ping or Packet Internet Groper (no seriously that’s what ping stands for:/) is a command that is easily overlooked and one that most people type but don’t fully understand. Ping works by sending an Internet Control Message Protocol echo request packet to a specified ip address or DNS Record and waits for an echo reply packet.


Ping helps us verify the target host is online and available. How many times have you tried to SSH into a server only to have no answer from the server? A simple ping command would assure that the server is online instead of continually trying to SSH. Ping sends one packet at a time and usually a packet size of 64 bytes though that can be bigger or smaller.

The ping response also includes the time it took to receive a response from the server and that is measured in milliseconds. For example, pinging should have no latency at all but look at what happens when you do the same command against a website in Bangladesh. Notice the time or latency difference.

There is nothing necessarily wrong with the website in Bangladesh taking long to respond because I am sending those ping echo requests from Canada and the servers that host that website are located in Bangladesh so the distance is what is causing the latency.

Ping command can help you diagnose network latency issues in the event a host/website is taking a long time to load when it used to be fast to load in the past.

Ping is also helpful to test DNS Records when you are having issues connecting to a specific host. In conclusion, ping is an amazing tool and should be the first tool you use when you are trying to solve a networking problem.

Ping is one of the easiest tools to use out there but many DevOps engineers do not use it often. But, with a little bit of training, you can be up and running in no time. You might not use this tool every day as a DevOps engineer, but it's a safe bet that you'll need it at least once or twice in your career. Especially if your company uses AWS or Google cloud (i.e. GCE).

Ping is a basic packet analysis program that allows you to test if packets are successfully reaching their destination on the local network. You can then use this information to determine your next move. If the packet is reaching its destination, the problem is most likely on the receiving end. However, if it is not reaching its destination, you can try to troubleshoot further by using other programs such as traceroute or mtr to get more information. Ping simply tests one point in between the packet's source and destination.

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