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Puppet Labs vs Salt: What are the differences?

Puppet Labs: Server automation framework and application. Puppet is an automated administrative engine for your Linux, Unix, and Windows systems and performs administrative tasks (such as adding users, installing packages, and updating server configurations) based on a centralized specification; 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..

Puppet Labs and Salt belong to "Server Configuration and Automation" category of the tech stack.

Some of the features offered by Puppet Labs are:

  • Insight- Puppet Enterprise's event inspector gives immediate and actionable insight into your environment, showing you what changed, where and how by classes, nodes and resources.
  • Discovery- Puppet Enterprise delivers a dynamic and fully-pluggable discovery service that allows you to take advantage of any data source or real-time query results to quickly locate, identify and group cloud nodes.
  • Provisioning- Automatically provision and configure bare metal, virtual, and private or public cloud capacity, all from a single pane. Save time getting your cloud projects off the ground by reusing the same configuration modules you set up for your physical deployments.

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.

"Devops" is the top reason why over 45 developers like Puppet Labs, while over 41 developers mention "Flexible" as the leading cause for choosing Salt.

Puppet Labs 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 Puppet Labs with 5.37K GitHub stars and 2.1K GitHub forks.

Uber Technologies, Twitch, and PayPal are some of the popular companies that use Puppet Labs, whereas Salt is used by Lyft, LinkedIn, and Robinhood. Puppet Labs has a broader approval, being mentioned in 180 company stacks & 49 developers stacks; compared to Salt, which is listed in 110 company stacks and 20 developer stacks.

What is Puppet Labs?

Puppet is an automated administrative engine for your Linux, Unix, and Windows systems and performs administrative tasks (such as adding users, installing packages, and updating server configurations) based on a centralized specification.

What is Salt?

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.
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What are some alternatives to Puppet Labs and Salt?
Ansible
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.
Chef
Chef enables you to manage and scale cloud infrastructure with no downtime or interruptions. Freely move applications and configurations from one cloud to another. Chef is integrated with all major cloud providers including Amazon EC2, VMWare, IBM Smartcloud, Rackspace, OpenStack, Windows Azure, HP Cloud, Google Compute Engine, Joyent Cloud and others.
Capistrano
Capistrano is a remote server automation tool. It supports the scripting and execution of arbitrary tasks, and includes a set of sane-default deployment workflows.
Fabric
Fabric is a Python (2.5-2.7) library and command-line tool for streamlining the use of SSH for application deployment or systems administration tasks. It provides a basic suite of operations for executing local or remote shell commands (normally or via sudo) and uploading/downloading files, as well as auxiliary functionality such as prompting the running user for input, or aborting execution.
EasyEngine
It is a command-line tool for the Nginx web servers to manage WordPress sites that are running on the LEMP Stack (Linux, Nginx, MySQL/MariaDB, and PHP-FPM). It is created with python and can be installed on Ubuntu and Linux Debian distributions.
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Decisions about Puppet Labs and Salt
StackShare Editors
StackShare Editors
Salt
Salt
Puppet Labs
Puppet Labs
Ansible
Ansible

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.

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Marcel Kornegoor
Marcel Kornegoor
CTO at AT Computing · | 5 upvotes · 267.8K views
atAT ComputingAT Computing
Linux
Linux
Ubuntu
Ubuntu
CentOS
CentOS
Debian
Debian
Red Hat Enterprise Linux
Red Hat Enterprise Linux
Fedora
Fedora
Visual Studio Code
Visual Studio Code
Jenkins
Jenkins
VirtualBox
VirtualBox
GitHub
GitHub
Docker
Docker
Kubernetes
Kubernetes
Google Compute Engine
Google Compute Engine
Ansible
Ansible
Puppet Labs
Puppet Labs
Chef
Chef
Python
Python
#ATComputing

Since #ATComputing is a vendor independent Linux and open source specialist, we do not have a favorite Linux distribution. We mainly use Ubuntu , Centos Debian , Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Fedora during our daily work. These are also the distributions we see most often used in our customers environments.

For our #ci/cd training, we use an open source pipeline that is build around Visual Studio Code , Jenkins , VirtualBox , GitHub , Docker Kubernetes and Google Compute Engine.

For #ServerConfigurationAndAutomation, we have embraced and contributed to Ansible mainly because it is not only flexible and powerful, but also straightforward and easier to learn than some other (open source) solutions. On the other hand: we are not affraid of Puppet Labs and Chef either.

Currently, our most popular #programming #Language course is Python . The reason Python is so popular has to do with it's versatility, but also with its low complexity. This helps sysadmins to write scripts or simple programs to make their job less repetitive and automating things more fun. Python is also widely used to communicate with (REST) API's and for data analysis.

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Interest over time
Reviews of Puppet Labs and Salt
Review ofSaltSalt

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.

How developers use Puppet Labs and Salt
Avatar of Cyrus Stoller
Cyrus Stoller uses Puppet LabsPuppet Labs

I'm using puppet to configure my servers. This makes it really simple to ensure that I have the same environment. There is a bit of a learning curve, but the repeatability definitely makes it worth the effort. I found puppet to be a little easier to pick up relative to chef, but I've used both. They're both great solutions.

I really like that there are a lot of modules available on the puppet forge that are being actively maintained.

Avatar of Trusted Shops GmbH
Trusted Shops GmbH uses Puppet LabsPuppet Labs

We provision all servers with puppet. We have one central Puppet server which uses puppet modules referenced by a Puppetfile. Those puppet modules are partly from forge and partly self written.

All modules which are self written, have to be tested using rspec-puppet and beaker.

Avatar of Refractal
Refractal uses SaltSalt

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.

Avatar of FAELIX
FAELIX uses SaltSalt

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.

Avatar of Opstax Ltd
Opstax Ltd uses Puppet LabsPuppet Labs

Opstax uses puppet for role/profile based configuration management and the distribution of small/static code.

Avatar of GeniusLink
GeniusLink uses Puppet LabsPuppet Labs

Configures or servers and allows us to be region independent we have 5 regions across the globe.

Avatar of Runbook
Runbook uses SaltSalt

Everything is deployed via Salt. From configurations to Docker container builds.

Avatar of Aspire
Aspire uses SaltSalt

Simple configuration of vagrant for development environments.

Avatar of SAP Hybris
SAP Hybris uses SaltSalt

configuration manager and orchestrator for deployment

Avatar of Michael Wieland
Michael Wieland uses Puppet LabsPuppet Labs

The server is set up using Puppet

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