Data Science



Puppet vs Chef: Choosing the Right Configuration Management Tool in DevOps

Puppet vs Chef

The term ‘DevOps’ describes a set of development methods that automates the integration of software development (also known as Dev) and IT operations (also known as Ops). Building, testing, and releasing high-quality software take less time when DevOps removes the boundaries that traditionally existed between the development and operations teams.

A DevOps pipeline makes use of integrated technologies delivery (CI/CD) to facilitate the rapid release of new software features and the acceleration of company expansion.

The move toward DevOps is essential for enterprises to make to support the ever-quickening development rates that are demanded by both external customers and internal stakeholders. And to make this move, they are in need of skilled DevOps professionals who can work with all the leading industry tools. 

Teams are now able to deploy and maintain code in an even more effective manner than in the past because of cloud-native technologies, open-source solutions, and Agile application programming interfaces. 

Organizations can keep pace with the rapid speed of development if they integrate the development process with their operations as well as the procedures that support them.

What Exactly Does ‘Configuration Management’ Mean?

The process of managing an item’s real capabilities, utilitarian ascribes, plan, needs, and operational data over its whole life cycle is referred to as configuration management. This is the approach that is used to keep track of and organize the execution of things. It is a redundant task, highly unpredictable, and prone to errors for the system administrators, who are responsible for physically installing, transporting, and designing a variety of servers and devices on which applications will function. 

For this circumstance, we need to find a way to automate the process of arranging many servers and other devices, thereby making the configuration of the system more efficient and less prone to errors, as well as ensuring that we can accomplish all of this with only a few fundamental methods. There are a variety of tools available, such as Puppet, Ansible, and Chef. They are the instruments for configuration management of frameworks that find widespread use in the DevOps environment.

What is Chef?

It is a tool for managing configurations and can manage infrastructures on both virtual and physical devices. Ruby is the programming language that was employed in its creation by Opscode, which also built the software. Because Chef is open-source software, we may use it not just to manage servers but also to deploy, repair, and upgrade them. Chef has an architecture that is capable of supporting over one platform. It encompasses several operating systems such as Windows, Solaris, and Ubuntu. Additionally, Chef can collaborate with cloud service platforms such as Google Cloud Platform, Open Stack, and Amazon Web Services. Participate in Hero Vired’s training program if you have an interest in learning more about Chef as well as how to utilize it.

Even if you have the greatest system administration staff in the world, it will be almost difficult for them to take better care of infrastructure being this large if the company they work for has a significant amount of data that has to be configured and maintained continually. Chef will come to check on you in this area. Any kind of infrastructure, regardless of its scale, is under your control when you have Chef. Continuous deployment is only one of its capabilities. It can also find and fix issues that have been introduced into the code.

What is Puppet?

The process of configuration management may be centralized and automated using Puppet, which is a tool for system management. A tool for deploying software may also be created using Puppet. It is a piece of open-source software that manages configurations and is used extensively for server setup, administration, deployment, and orchestration of different kinds of applications and services throughout an organization’s infrastructure.

Puppet is a configuration management tool that works well with both Linux and Windows operating systems. It is developed in Ruby and to specify system settings, it makes use of Ruby’s own Domain Specific Language (DSL).

Similarities Between Chef and Puppet

Customization:

There may be instances when it seems that even the most sophisticated instrument is unable to fulfill your specific requirements. At this point, you need to concentrate on the tool that you are using so that you may mold it in the manner that best suits you. Let’s learn more about these two configuration managers:

  • To begin, there is support for modules and resources that have been generated by the end-users themselves. 
  • According to the lesson provided by Chef, it is feasible to learn how to develop new resources in only 160 minutes (including testing). 
  • Puppet suggests setting aside around 3 hours to go into this subject in the context of an instructor-led class.
  • In addition to that, the systems are open-source, which indicates that you can alter their behavior by amending the scripts that govern them. 
  • As a result, the options are almost limitless, and the only things that may restrict you are the amount of time and information at your disposal.

Interoperability:

Interoperability between Chef and Puppet is comparable to that of other programming languages. You should get familiar with Linux since both types of servers operate most effectively on computers running the Unix or Linux operating system. Nevertheless, there exist versions of both software products that are compatible with computing systems other than Windows. 

To provide just two examples, Chef Client and Workstation, as well as Puppet Agent, would be compatible with Windows.

Here’s something more about the two:

  • Chef and Puppet are not compatible with a wide variety of different operating systems, so you will need to find an alternative. 
  • There are variants of Chef which could be used to assist cloud platforms, including Google Cloud Platform and Amazon Web Services.
  • You will most likely find that it is simplest to operate both configuration management tools throughout Linux or Unix platforms. There are many versions of Chef that could be used to assist cloud platforms.

Setup:

  • Puppet and Chef both use a master-client architecture to run their respective applications. 
  • In this configuration, the server is executed on the system that serves as the master, while the client is executed as an agent on each of the client machines. 
  • When you use Chef, there is a component known as Workstation and it is responsible for handling all of the setups and administration.
  • In the case of Puppet, on the other hand, there is a prerequisite for an agent-master certification that has to be satisfied.

Differences Between Chef and Puppet

Availability:

Let’s evaluate the availability of the Chef tool as well as Puppet in comparison to one another. Each of these applications has high availability, which indicates that there are several instances of these servers accessible in the market, and thus they may be utilized by an unlimited number of customers. In the event that the master server experiences any kind of failure at any time, there will always be a backup service available to ensure that you have access to any information you may need. The following are how the failure condition is handled by both Chef and Puppet:

In the event when the Chef server has technical difficulties, there will be a secondary backup server ready to take its place. In the case of Puppet, the multi-master architecture is used, which implies that in the event that one of the masters has an interruption in service, another master can step in and take over quickly.

Although both Chef and Puppet have excellent availability, the methods in which they operate are rather different. If Chef’s primary server has an outage, a secondary server is ready and waiting to take its place. But on the other hand, Puppet is a system that relies on the employment of masters to function. Because there are numerous masters, if one of them becomes incapacitated for whatever reason, another one of the masters simply steps in and assumes responsibility for the role that was once held by the incapacitated master.

Configuration Language: 

The configuration language that is used by each software program is the last significant point of differentiation that should be taken into consideration. You will be required to get familiar with Chef’s Ruby domain-specific language (DSL) if you are considering utilizing Chef. Learning this language is notoriously challenging, but if you have previous expertise with Ruby, it may be of great assistance in the process.

Puppet is written in its language, which is known as Puppet DSL. This is also recognized for being a tough language to learn, and regrettably, it is much more difficult than Chef’s Ruby DSL since it is built by and particularly for the Puppet servers as well as the users of Puppet. This is because Puppet’s Ruby DSL was developed by Chef, who is a third party.

Cost:

There is an annual subscription of $137 per node for using Chef Automate, but for that money, you get all you need to develop and deploy. If you choose the basic support plan, the cost of Puppet is $112 per node per year. However, if you bundle in the premium support plan, the cost increases to $199 per node per year.

Documentation and Community Support:

The documentation that comes with Chef has a more logical organization and is simpler to understand. The walkthroughs cover a wide range of ground and are very easy to understand. You have the option of beginning your education on an already existing system, a Vagrant VM, or a cloud computer hosted by Amazon. You also have the option of selecting among the most widely used host operating systems.

In addition, the documentation for Puppet is quite thorough. Because you need a deeper comprehension of the subject matter, you should be ready to spend a significant amount of time reading through the documentation before you start working on the project. In addition, Puppet offers multiple training and educational opportunities. It can make sense for you to participate in a training course either online or even in person if you are interested in obtaining business assistance. Similar materials for Chef are available. Both of these firms provide appropriate services toward certification in the event that you want evidence of your skill with either tool.

Chef Vs Puppet: Which One Should You Choose?

The use of DevOps software can automate several manual development processes, such as provisioning, application services, continuous delivery, orchestration, and endpoint protection. This software also provides some other benefits, which include increased security as well as collaboration, expandability, reliability, quick deployment, and a high rate of innovation.

Chef and Puppet are excellent options in their own right, and additional research into both of them is necessary before making a well-informed acquisition decision. When making your decision, it is important to take into account how much control you wish to have for the backend of the system. Although Puppet gives you the ability to specify the intended states, it does not provide you control over how the product achieves or maintains those states. If the individuals using Chef get the essential expertise of Ruby programming, they will have a greater degree of control over the activities that take place in the background. In addition, Puppet follows a method that is considered to be more convenient for managing and configuring servers. 

Puppet is an option to consider if any of the executives in your business would want to go with a solution that has a more comfortable and familiar feel to it. The older of the two items is Chef, although some customers consider it to have a more contemporary feel. That may be a good thing or it might be a terrible thing, based on the specifications of the company you work for.

Final Thoughts

Gaining additional knowledge as a student with a keen interest in software, knowing the basics of Chef and Puppet will come in handy. To facilitate smooth and efficient automation, you need to analyze your project’s requirements and then choose between Chef and Puppet. 

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