Mina vs Salt: What are the differences?
Developers describe Mina as "Really fast deployer and server automation tool". Mina works really fast because it's a deploy Bash script generator. It generates an entire procedure as a Bash script and runs it remotely in the server. Compare this to the likes of Vlad or Capistrano, where each command is run separately on their own SSH sessions. Mina only creates one SSH session per deploy, minimizing the SSH connection overhead. 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..
Mina and Salt belong to "Server Configuration and Automation" category of the tech stack.
Some of the features offered by Mina are:
- Safe deploys. New releases are built on a temp folder. If the deploy script fails at any point, the build is deleted and it’d be as if nothing happened.
- Locks. Deploy scripts rely on a lockfile ensuring only one deploy can happen at a time.
- Works with anything. While Mina is built with Rails projects it mind, it can be used on just about any type of project deployable via SSH, Ruby or not.
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.
"Easy, fast and light weight" is the primary reason why developers consider Mina over the competitors, whereas "Flexible" was stated as the key factor in picking Salt.
Mina and Salt are both open source tools. It seems that Salt with 10.1K GitHub stars and 4.59K forks on GitHub has more adoption than Mina with 4.05K GitHub stars and 453 GitHub forks.
According to the StackShare community, Salt has a broader approval, being mentioned in 110 company stacks & 20 developers stacks; compared to Mina, which is listed in 8 company stacks and 9 developer stacks.
What is Mina?
What is Salt?
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What tools integrate with Mina?
By 2014, the DevOps team at Lyft decided to port their infrastructure code from Puppet to Salt. At that point, the Puppet code based included around "10,000 lines of spaghetti-code,” which was unfamiliar and challenging to the relatively new members of the DevOps team.
“The DevOps team felt that the Puppet infrastructure was too difficult to pick up quickly and would be impossible to introduce to [their] developers as the tool they’d use to manage their own services.”
To determine a path forward, the team assessed both Ansible and Salt, exploring four key areas: simplicity/ease of use, maturity, performance, and community.
They found that “Salt’s execution and state module support is more mature than Ansible’s, overall,” and that “Salt was faster than Ansible for state/playbook runs.” And while both have high levels of community support, Salt exceeded expectations in terms of friendless and responsiveness to opened issues.
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.
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'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.