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Puppet Labs vs Terraform: 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; Terraform: Describe your complete infrastructure as code and build resources across providers. With Terraform, you describe your complete infrastructure as code, even as it spans multiple service providers. Your servers may come from AWS, your DNS may come from CloudFlare, and your database may come from Heroku. Terraform will build all these resources across all these providers in parallel.

Puppet Labs belongs to "Server Configuration and Automation" category of the tech stack, while Terraform can be primarily classified under "Infrastructure Build Tools".

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, Terraform provides the following key features:

  • Infrastructure as Code: Infrastructure is described using a high-level configuration syntax. This allows a blueprint of your datacenter to be versioned and treated as you would any other code. Additionally, infrastructure can be shared and re-used.
  • Execution Plans: Terraform has a "planning" step where it generates an execution plan. The execution plan shows what Terraform will do when you call apply. This lets you avoid any surprises when Terraform manipulates infrastructure.
  • Resource Graph: Terraform builds a graph of all your resources, and parallelizes the creation and modification of any non-dependent resources. Because of this, Terraform builds infrastructure as efficiently as possible, and operators get insight into dependencies in their infrastructure.

"Devops" is the primary reason why developers consider Puppet Labs over the competitors, whereas "Infrastructure as code" was stated as the key factor in picking Terraform.

Puppet Labs and Terraform are both open source tools. It seems that Terraform with 17.7K GitHub stars and 4.83K forks on GitHub has more adoption than Puppet Labs with 5.37K GitHub stars and 2.1K GitHub forks.

According to the StackShare community, Terraform has a broader approval, being mentioned in 509 company stacks & 312 developers stacks; compared to Puppet Labs, which is listed in 180 company stacks and 49 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 Terraform?

With Terraform, you describe your complete infrastructure as code, even as it spans multiple service providers. Your servers may come from AWS, your DNS may come from CloudFlare, and your database may come from Heroku. Terraform will build all these resources across all these providers in parallel.
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    What are some alternatives to Puppet Labs and Terraform?
    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.
    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.
    See all alternatives
    Decisions about Puppet Labs and Terraform
    StackShare Editors
    StackShare Editors
    Ansible
    Ansible
    Puppet Labs
    Puppet Labs
    Salt
    Salt

    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.

    See more
    John Kodumal
    John Kodumal
    CTO at LaunchDarkly · | 3 upvotes · 27.2K views
    atLaunchDarklyLaunchDarkly
    Armory
    Armory
    Packer
    Packer
    Terraform
    Terraform
    Spinnaker
    Spinnaker
    Ansible
    Ansible

    LaunchDarkly is almost a five year old company, and our methodology for deploying was state of the art... for 2014. We recently undertook a project to modernize the way we #deploy our software, moving from Ansible-based deploy scripts that executed on our local machines, to using Spinnaker (along with Terraform and Packer) as the basis of our deployment system. We've been using Armory's enterprise Spinnaker offering to make this project a reality.

    See more
    Joseph Kunzler
    Joseph Kunzler
    DevOps Engineer at Tillable · | 9 upvotes · 23.4K views
    atTillableTillable
    AWS CloudFormation
    AWS CloudFormation
    AWS Elastic Load Balancing (ELB)
    AWS Elastic Load Balancing (ELB)
    Amazon EC2
    Amazon EC2
    Amazon S3
    Amazon S3
    Terraform
    Terraform

    We use Terraform because we needed a way to automate the process of building and deploying feature branches. We wanted to hide the complexity such that when a dev creates a PR, it triggers a build and deployment without the dev having to worry about any of the 'plumbing' going on behind the scenes. Terraform allows us to automate the process of provisioning DNS records, Amazon S3 buckets, Amazon EC2 instances and AWS Elastic Load Balancing (ELB)'s. It also makes it easy to tear it all down when finished. We also like that it supports multiple clouds, which is why we chose to use it over AWS CloudFormation.

    See more
    Marcel Kornegoor
    Marcel Kornegoor
    CTO at AT Computing · | 5 upvotes · 64.1K views
    atAT ComputingAT Computing
    Python
    Python
    Chef
    Chef
    Puppet Labs
    Puppet Labs
    Ansible
    Ansible
    Google Compute Engine
    Google Compute Engine
    Kubernetes
    Kubernetes
    Docker
    Docker
    GitHub
    GitHub
    VirtualBox
    VirtualBox
    Jenkins
    Jenkins
    Visual Studio Code
    Visual Studio Code
    Fedora
    Fedora
    Red Hat Enterprise Linux
    Red Hat Enterprise Linux
    Debian
    Debian
    CentOS
    CentOS
    Ubuntu
    Ubuntu
    Linux
    Linux
    #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.

    See more
    AWS CloudFormation
    AWS CloudFormation
    Google Cloud Deployment Manager
    Google Cloud Deployment Manager
    Terraform
    Terraform

    I use Terraform because it hits the level of abstraction pocket of being high-level and flexible, and is agnostic to cloud platforms. Creating complex infrastructure components for a solution with a UI console is tedious to repeat. Using low-level APIs are usually specific to cloud platforms, and you still have to build your own tooling for deploying, state management, and destroying infrastructure.

    However, Terraform is usually slower to implement new services compared to cloud-specific APIs. It's worth the trade-off though, especially if you're multi-cloud. I heard someone say, "We want to preference a cloud, not lock in to one." Terraform builds on that claim.

    Terraform Google Cloud Deployment Manager AWS CloudFormation

    See more
    Pedro Arnal Puente
    Pedro Arnal Puente
    CTO at La Cupula Music SL · | 7 upvotes · 28.6K views
    atLa Cupula Music SLLa Cupula Music SL
    Ansible
    Ansible
    Packer
    Packer
    Terraform
    Terraform
    Amazon ElastiCache
    Amazon ElastiCache
    Redis
    Redis
    Amazon RDS for Aurora
    Amazon RDS for Aurora
    Amazon S3
    Amazon S3
    Amazon EC2
    Amazon EC2
    Debian
    Debian

    Our base infrastructure is composed of Debian based servers running in Amazon EC2 , asset storage with Amazon S3 , and Amazon RDS for Aurora and Redis under Amazon ElastiCache for data storage.

    We are starting to work in automated provisioning and management with Terraform , Packer , and Ansible .

    See more
    Interest over time
    Reviews of Puppet Labs and Terraform
    No reviews found
    How developers use Puppet Labs and Terraform
    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 Royal Icing
    Royal Icing uses TerraformTerraform

    Terraform makes it so easy to deploy AWS and Google Cloud services, with the declarative approach avoiding so many headaches of manual work and possible mistakes.

    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 Bùi Thanh
    Bùi Thanh uses TerraformTerraform
    • Infrastructure as Code.
    • Central tool to deploy all infratructure: AWS, CloudFlare, StatusCake
    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 Prime Technologies
    Prime Technologies uses TerraformTerraform

    The entire AWS environments is described and setup using Terraform.

    Avatar of Binded
    Binded uses TerraformTerraform

    All of our infrastructure is stored as code thanks to Terraform.

    Avatar of Razorpay
    Razorpay uses TerraformTerraform

    We orchestrate our AWS infrastructure using Terraform.

    Avatar of Michael Wieland
    Michael Wieland uses Puppet LabsPuppet Labs

    The server is set up using Puppet

    How much does Puppet Labs cost?
    How much does Terraform cost?
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