Ansible vs. Puppet | Compare DevOps tools
Both Ansible and Puppet are tools capable of managing server infrastructure. Compare the features of these DevOps tools.
In DevOps environments, server management becomes a difficult task, but it is crucial for the efficiency and smooth running of the end user experience. Configuration, provisioning and deployment are all vitally important and luckily there are robust tools to help you out.
Two of the most popular DevOps tools are Ansible and Puppet. These DevOps tools offer common functions, but ultimately each is better suited to different tasks and environments.
What is Ansible?
Ansible is a procedural framework as a code management tool to facilitate the provisioning, deployment and configuration of complex network environments. It is agentless and communicates via SSH, allowing for a streamlined and efficient system that only requires the temporary and automatic installation of small Python modules on target machines.
What is Marionette?
Puppet is a software configuration management tool based on an agent-master architecture.
Puppet is the more mature of the two tools, and the code repository known as Puppet Forge contains many prebuilt modules written by the community. Many users believe these modules are better than what can be found in Ansible’s Galaxy, which serves a similar purpose as a repository for community-created modules.
Whichever option you choose, it’s always a good idea to search these repositories because you can usually find a module already coded to suit your needs, saving you the hassle of creating your own.
Ansible vs. Puppet: Feature Comparison
|Extensible in any language that supports JSON||Yes||Nope|
|The basic version is free||Yes||Yes|
|Simplified YAML language||Yes||Nope|
|Pre-made official integrations and community modules||Yes||Yes|
Direct Comparison: Ansible vs. Puppet
Both of these DevOps tools offer relatively easy setup and installation; however, Ansible is clearly the leader in this area due to its use of YAML as well as agentless architecture. Ansible should only be installed on a single server. Ansible also provides very easy to follow playbooks to get started using a relatively simple language.
Puppet is a little more involved, as installation is required on the main servers and all target servers, as well as each target node that needs to be trusted.
Graphical interface and dashboards
Ansible and Puppet both offer GUI and dashboard functionality, but Puppet is significantly superior of the two in this area.
Ansible is primarily a command-line tool, and most users will need to use it that way. Ansible’s GUI is lacking in several areas and is only usable for basic tasks. On the other hand, Puppet has a more integrated GUI and dashboard, and users can fully access all functions.
Both Ansible and Puppet offer great extensibility. Ansible users can work in any programming language they prefer as long as it supports JSON. This, combined with the already standard YAML, makes Ansible easier when it comes to custom modules and configurations.
Puppet requires you to work in Python, which for some may not be a problem at all, and for others may be a hindrance. Puppet uses its own configuration language known as PuppetDSL, with only a YAML data store, which also increases the learning curve.
SEE: Feature Comparison: Time Tracking Software and Systems (TechRepublic Premium)
For extensibility, Ansible is the winner when it comes to ease and simplicity. Although Puppet is equally capable, it requires more specific languages and has fewer paths to accomplish the same goal.
Choosing between Ansible and Puppet
Ansible is the choice when it comes to needing a fast and easily deployable solution for provisioning and deployment, as well as configuration. Network or storage engineers will find Ansible much more capable.
Puppet excels as a configuration manager with a lighter focus on provisioning. The more difficult and complex installation also plays a role here. For temporary use or temporary DevOps environments, it’s not worth the complexity of setup, but over time, Puppet’s more integrated approach makes scaling much more manageable.