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Ansible vs Puppet

Ansible and Puppet are fast becoming essential components for managing a large number of servers. They are commonly called configuration management and remote execution tools.

These mega-useful apps allow the admin, for instance, to execute an action on several servers simultaneously, and deploy multiple apps with a single click. It makes it much easier to configure and maintain thousands of servers. Before move further, take a glance at Ansible and puppet.

Ansible

Ansible is an open-source IT engine that automates application deployment, cloud provisioning, intra service orchestration, and other IT tools.

Ansible is easy to deploy because it does not use any agents or custom security infrastructure on the client-side, and by pushing modules to the clients. These modules are executed locally on the client-side, and the output is pushed back to the Ansible server.

It can easily connect to clients using SSH-Keys, simplifying though the whole process. Client details, such as hostnames or IP addresses and SSH ports, are stored in the files, which are called inventory files. If you created an inventory file and populated it, then Ansible can use it.

Ansible uses the playbook to describe automation jobs, and playbook, which uses simple language, i.e., YAML. YAML is a human-readable data serialization language & commonly used for configuration files, but it can be used in many applications where data is being stored.

A significant advantage is that even the IT infrastructure support guys can read and understand the playbook and debug if needed.

Ansible is designed for multi-tier deployment. Ansible does not manage one system at a time, and it models IT infrastructure by describing all of your systems are interrelated. Ansible is entirely agentless, which means Ansible works by connecting your nodes through SSH (by default). Ansible gives the option to you if you want another method for the connection like Kerberos.

Puppet

Puppet is a configuration management tool that is used for configuring, deploying, and managing servers. It also performs the following functions, such as:

  • It defines the distinct configuration for every host, and also it continuously checks and confirms the required configuration, such as is it in place and not altered on the host. (if altered, they will revert to the required configuration).
  • Dynamic scaling up and scaling down of machines.
  • It provides control over all your configured machines, so a centralized change gets propagated to all automatically.

Puppet uses a master-slave architecture in which the master and the slave communicate through a secure encrypted channel with the help of SSL.

Below are some main differences between the Ansible and Puppet:

Parameters Ansible Puppet
Availability Ansible runs with a single active node, called the Primary instance. If the primary goes down, there is a Secondary instance to take its place. Puppet has multi-master architecture. If the active master goes down, then the other master takes the active master place.
Easy to setup Ansible has only a master running on the server machine, but no agents running on the client machine. It uses an SSH connection to log in to client systems or the nodes you want to configure. Client machine VM requires no unique setup. That's why it is faster to setup! Puppet also has a master-agent architecture. Puppet server runs on the master machine, and Puppet clients run as an agent on the client machine. After that, there is a certificate signing between the agent and the master. That's why it is not that easy to setup.
Management Easy to manage the configurations as it uses YAML (Yet Another Markup Language). The server pushes configurations to all the nodes. Suitable for real-time application, and there is immediate remote execution. Puppet is not easy to manage the configurations as it uses its language called Puppet DSL. The client pulls the configurations from the Server. It is entirely system-administrator oriented, and there is non-immediate remote execution.
Configuration language Ansible uses YAML (Python). It is quite easy to learn, and it is administrator oriented. Python is inbuilt into most Unix and Linux deployments, so setting the tool up and running is quicker. Puppet uses its puppet Domain Specific Language (Puppet DSL). It is not easy to learn, and it is system administrator oriented.
Interoperability The Ansible server has to be on Linux/Unix machine. As well as Ansible supports windows machines. Puppet Master works only on Linux/Unix, but Puppet Agent also works on windows.
Pricing The pricing for Ansible Tower for standard IT operations up to 100 nodes is $10,000 per year. This includes 8*5 support, whereas premium offers 24*7 support for $14000 per year. The pricing for puppet ranges from $112 node per year with a standard support plan to $199 node per year with the premium plan.
GUI Ansible was the command-line tool only at the time of its inception. Now it has the UI in the enterprise version, but it is not perfect. Sometimes, GUI is not in perfect sync with the Command line and not able to perform the same things like the command-line interface. Puppet's Graphical User Interface is more interactive than Ansible. It is used to manage, view, and monitor more complex tasks. Otherwise, there is an option of using a command-line interface too when need which is written in Ruby.





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