Ansible vs Salt: What are the differences?
Developers describe Ansible as "Radically simple configuration-management, application deployment, task-execution, and multi-node orchestration engine". Ansible is an IT automation tool. It can configure systems, deploy software, and orchestrate more advanced IT tasks such as continuous deployments or zero downtime rolling updates. Ansible’s goals are foremost those of simplicity and maximum ease of use. On the other hand, Salt is detailed as "Fast, scalable and flexible software for data center automation". Salt is a new approach to infrastructure management. Easy enough to get running in minutes, scalable enough to manage tens of thousands of servers, and fast enough to communicate with them in seconds Salt delivers a dynamic communication bus for infrastructures that can be used for orchestration, remote execution, configuration management and much more..
Ansible and Salt can be primarily classified as "Server Configuration and Automation" tools.
Some of the features offered by Ansible are:
- Ansible's natural automation language allows sysadmins, developers, and IT managers to complete automation projects in hours, not weeks.
- Ansible uses SSH by default instead of requiring agents everywhere. Avoid extra open ports, improve security, eliminate "managing the management", and reclaim CPU cycles.
- Ansible automates app deployment, configuration management, workflow orchestration, and even cloud provisioning all from one system.
On the other hand, Salt provides the following key features:
- Remote execution is the core function of Salt. Running pre-defined or arbitrary commands on remote hosts.
- Salt modules are the core of remote execution. They provide functionality such as installing packages, restarting a service, running a remote command, transferring files, and infinitely more
- Building on the remote execution core is a robust and flexible configuration management framework. Execution happens on the minions allowing effortless, simultaneous configuration of tens of thousands of hosts.
"Agentless" is the primary reason why developers consider Ansible over the competitors, whereas "Flexible" was stated as the key factor in picking Salt.
Ansible and Salt are both open source tools. It seems that Ansible with 38.2K GitHub stars and 16K forks on GitHub has more adoption than Salt with 10.1K GitHub stars and 4.59K GitHub forks.
According to the StackShare community, Ansible has a broader approval, being mentioned in 960 company stacks & 587 developers stacks; compared to Salt, which is listed in 110 company stacks and 20 developer stacks.
What is Ansible?
What is Salt?
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For automating deployment or system admin tasks, Shell/Perl are more than enough. Specially Perl one liners, that I use heavily, even to make changes in xml files. But quite often the need is to just check the state of system and run scripts without fear. Thats where I actually needed some scripting language with "state mechanism" associated with it. Salt provided me above similar kind of experience. I tested salt first on a small scenario. Installation of 60 RPMS on a machine. I was pleased that I could achieve that in around 25 lines of code using salt. And eventually I was also able to keep data and code separate. This was another plus point. henceforth I was able to use salt to deploy a large potion Datacenter (apps deployment). I am still working towards orchestration and finding it quite promising. The use of pure python whenever needed to deal with more complex scenario is awesome.
Ansible is the deployment tool for people who don't like deployment tools. It's close to scripting, doesn't pollute your servers with agents or centralized servers, and just makes immediate sense. The entire stack at Cloudcraft.co is orchestrated by Ansible. What does that mean? Beyond the obvious of installing packages and configuring services, Ansible coordinates all the machines into a working deployment: It adds API servers to the loadbancer pool, opens ports on the DB server for the backend servers to connect, gracefully upgrades services in a rolling fashion for zero-downtime deployments etc. And it's so easy to use, it's easier to use than doing things by hand, meaning it's a deployment tool you'll actually use every time!
When it comes to provisioning tens to hundreds of servers, you need a tool that can handle the load, as well as being extremely customisable. Fortunately, Salt has held that gauntlet for us consistently through any kind of issue you can throw at it.
We use Ansible to synchronize the few configuration-options we've taken on our CoreOS-Machines. This makes deployment even easier and the fact that it's Agentless made the decision even easier.
Ansible is used in both the development and production deployment process. A playbook couple with a Vagrantfile, easy deploys a local virtual machine that will mirror the setup in production.
I use Ansible to manage the configuration between all of the different pieces of equipment, and because it's agentless I can even manage things like networking devices all from one repo.
We've built something using SaltStack and Debian Linux to help us deploy and administer at scale the servers we provide for our part- and fully-managed hosting customers.
- Configuration management:
- deploy/install all web/app environments
- simple with Galaxy and playbooks.
- No need any pre-installed agent on remote servers.