Puppet and Ansible… you’re being weighed, Part 1

I have been hearing a lot of buzz around Puppet and Ansible for some time. Many many moons ago I tinkered with Puppet and did the little tutorials online but never really had a reason to go much deeper. I figured it was an obligation, since most of the products I use on day to day revolve around Red Hat and Red Hat has more or less adopted Puppet (for better or worse). During the same time Ansible was starting to traction. I really didn’t really see the advantages of using Ansible over Puppet other than the whole agent vice agent less approach.

Well as it turns out my client is in desperate need of a configuration management tool and I truly mean desperate. My experience with configuration management tools is that they are really a nice to have, but most shops have their own way of doing configuration management and when they weigh all the assets they have invested in (software, people, processes, etc) against migrating to a new way of doing things it is just too expensive for them to undertake (for now!).

My client doesn’t have this luxury. They are under staffed and under trained. Off the bat they are behind. If they were trained, maybe they’d be able to just, just keep up with operational demand, but any snag with throw everything behind. So this is the case we all hear about, but possibly never experience in real life where the work people do is not done well so they have to spend additional time fixing what the did putting them further behind on the next task.

So, when a team can’t write/manage complex scripts and they need to troubleshoot every configuration and environment because everything has been done ad-hoc and not to mention deadlines, what do they do? They have no choice but to use a configuration management tool to alleviate them from having to troubleshoot work they’ve already done.

In rolls Puppet and Ansible. My project [1] attempts to highlight the differences between Ansible and Puppet doing the same configurations. My hope is that it will give a good idea of the level of rigor involved in using the tools and to pick the one that is most appropriate for my client.

My next post will talk about some things I found annoying and useful about both tools and what I will inevitably recommend to my client.

[1] https://github.com/jmarley/anisble-puppet-workshop

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Author: jasonmarley

I have been with Red Hat since 2010 and love it! My day to day is consulting on RHEL/JBoss/OpenShift, but I work on open source projects in my free time. The best part about my job are my awesome colleagues and our community.

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