What application deployment/config mgmt/server provisioning tool works best with DO?

What is the preferred tool nowadays for any/all of 1) server provisioning, 2) application deployment, and 3) configuration management with DO?

Ansible looks rock solid as a core tool and has the modules for DO, but I’m not completely sold on using it long term since their Tower product, which provides the automation component, is completely out of reach price-wise.

I’m primarily using Ruby on Rails on Ubuntu.

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not sure if this fits your use case, but although not specifically stated on the Ansible Tower product page, Ansible Tower is actually free “forever” for up to 10 nodes.

Check out the EULA for the exact details in the 5.2 Tower Trial Software Usage section:

So if you’re not managing more than 10 nodes, it might be enough for you. You could also check out Semaphore, an open source alternative to Ansible Tower.

Have a nice day, Alex