Prior to DevOps – the latest philosophy to project execution methodology, The development and operations teams were working for a single project in their own ways and means. DevOps brought them together and thereby came the need for integrated configuration management and continuous integration.
Configuration management tools are the call for today and the need for tomorrow. Two of the most popular, in-demand configuration management tools are Puppet and Chef. A lot has been said and written about it. There is much in common, something different to each other. Both are good, both are in vogue and both have their own individualistic nature.
Both Puppet and Chef are best-in-class configuration management tools that are leveraged to design, deploy, configure and manage servers, infrastructure, etc. They are both, capable of automating multi-tier applications and competent enough to manage complicated apps.
Before we investigate both individually and further compare them, let us have a glimpse at the foundation stone of both – configuration management.
On a basic level, configuration management offers an abstraction layer between the infrastructure’s basic formation and its chosen state by emphasizing important objectives rather than the monotonous responsibilities needed to attain them.
The major objective of configuration managers is to utilize comprehensive languages to understand and grasp all operations’ necessities so that there is even knowledge sharing within different projects. For any newcomer in the team, it is ideal to have detailed know-how of the standardized tool rather than explaining to the team member about all the intricate details.
“Unlike error-prone procedural scripts, which require you to define every step for configuring systems, Puppet Enterprise lets you simply define the desired state of your infrastructure and applications. Puppet continuously and automatically enforces that state, so you can spend more time innovating and less time-fighting fires.” – Puppet
Puppet is used by thousands of companies worldwide some of them being Google, Red Hat, Siemens, Stanford, Harvard law school, and many more. It has a popular user-based contributing to its source code. It has been in vogue since 2005 and has come up with many versions with continuous improvement. It has been deployed in large infrastructures and possesses large user-driven documentation that suffices all queries. Puppet is based on Ruby and utilizes a tailor-made Domain Scripting Language nearer to JSON for working within it. It can execute on any platform that supports Ruby.
“Chef is the leader in Continuous Automation software, an innovator in application automation and one of the founders of the DevOps movement. Chef works with more than a thousand of the most innovative companies around the world to deliver their vision of digital transformation, providing the practices and platform to deliver software at speed.” – Chef
A chef is an automation tool that offers a mechanism to define infrastructure as a code. Instead of using manual procedures, it believes in managing infrastructure by writing code. It utilizes the Ruby language for writing the configuration items. It automates infrastructure configuration, app deployment, and configurations managed across the network.
Since both looks at the same fundamental objective of configuration management, there are certain attributes that are found to be existing in both, here are they:
|Accommodates careful system administrators||Caters to imaginative developers|
|Offers more safely norms for the users||Offers more power to the users|
|Focusses on users not making mistakes and is more protective||Focusses on users develop new things and helps take risks|
|Uses a declarative language like JSON or XML||Uses an imperative language as if its wholly featured Ruby|
|The user creates manifests and modules||The user creates recipes and cookbooks|
|Puppet uses standardized tools such as RSpec and Cucumber for testing||Chef uses dedicated solutions such as Test Kitchen for testing|
|The module directory that offers support is PuppetForge||The module directory that offers support is Supermarket|
|Puppet Masterworks only on Linux/Unix, but Puppet Agent also works on Windows||Chef Server works only on Linux/Unix, but Chef Client and Workstation can be on Windows also|
|Puppet is a model-driven architecture||Chef is based on a procedural architecture|
|Since Puppet is an older technology than Chef, its traditional infrastructure operations are well-liked by the certain user community||Since Chef is the younger one, it offers a modern approach to configuration management which is appreciated by a specific set of users|
|Uses a command-and-control approach for scalability that works well for a certain scale of operations||Uses the distributed system principles and hence scales very well over many node infrastructures|
|Puppet leverages its own non-standard custom programming language with limiting rules and hence isn’t that extensible||Chef uses the DSL but when that isn’t enough, it leverages the potential of Ruby to the maximum|
|Puppet implements security measures with Puppet’s 52||Chef implements security measures with Chef Vault|
As we read through both the options, we understand the importance of both. Both are competitive, good, popular, and are in line with the latest DevOps-related needs. Both are upgrading themselves to fit in the latest groove. Both have matured immensely and hence which one to choose is entirely up to the organization’s basic needs and workflows.
What is more important is to have a well-established and experienced configuration management partner who can help in the entire process, right from choosing the technology, implementing it and reaping its benefits.
What are your thoughts? let us know via comments below.
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