AWS CloudFormation vs Salt: What are the differences?
AWS CloudFormation: Create and manage a collection of related AWS resources. You can use AWS CloudFormation’s sample templates or create your own templates to describe the AWS resources, and any associated dependencies or runtime parameters, required to run your application. You don’t need to figure out the order in which AWS services need to be provisioned or the subtleties of how to make those dependencies work; Salt: 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..
AWS CloudFormation belongs to "Infrastructure Build Tools" category of the tech stack, while Salt can be primarily classified under "Server Configuration and Automation".
Some of the features offered by AWS CloudFormation are:
- AWS CloudFormation comes with the following ready-to-run sample templates: WordPress (blog),Tracks (project tracking), Gollum (wiki used by GitHub), Drupal (content management), Joomla (content management), Insoshi (social apps), Redmine (project mgmt)
- No Need to Reinvent the Wheel – A template can be used repeatedly to create identical copies of the same stack (or to use as a foundation to start a new stack)
- Transparent and Open – Templates are simple JSON formatted text files that can be placed under your normal source control mechanisms, stored in private or public locations such as Amazon S3 and exchanged via email.
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.
"Automates infrastructure deployments" is the primary reason why developers consider AWS CloudFormation over the competitors, whereas "Flexible" was stated as the key factor in picking Salt.
Salt is an open source tool with 10K GitHub stars and 4.58K GitHub forks. Here's a link to Salt's open source repository on GitHub.
TimeHop, Custora, and NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory are some of the popular companies that use AWS CloudFormation, whereas Salt is used by Lyft, Hulu, and Webedia. AWS CloudFormation has a broader approval, being mentioned in 195 company stacks & 75 developers stacks; compared to Salt, which is listed in 108 company stacks and 19 developer stacks.
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