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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.

Want advice about which of these to choose?Ask the StackShare community!

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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
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    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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