Chef vs. Puppet – A Detailed Comparison Of The Configuration Management Tools
You've certainly heard of both Chef and Puppet by this point. See how these two popular tools stack up against each other.
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Prior to DevOps, the latest philosophy in 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 created the need for integrated configuration management and continuous integration.
Two of the most popular, in-demand configuration management tools are Puppet and Chef. A lot has been said and written about both, and there are commonalities and differences between each. 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 of both – configuration management.
What is Configuration Management?
On a basic level, configuration management offers an abstraction layer between the infrastructure’s basic formation and its chosen state by emphasizing on 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 knowledge of the tool.
Here are some of the evident benefits of using configuration management tools:
Offers good control over the competence to review, approve and make changes into a configuration item
Automates identifies and guides configuration items through the project life cycle
Ensures a lot of cost-effectivenesses all through the project execution
Provides a good quality output by measuring and tracking continuous integration components
Addresses future needs in a better light and keeps the system up and running
Increases reliability, stability, the effectiveness of the system
“Unlike error-prone procedural scripts, which requires 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 by companies like 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 popular since 2005 and has been reiterated 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.
The Core Components
Puppet Server – the central server that accomplishes Puppet nodes
Puppet Enterprise Console – a web GUI for report analysis and infrastructure resource control
Puppet Agent – client software connected on managed nodes that permits harmonization with the Puppet Master
PuppetDB – data storage service for the data formed
Pros And Cons of Puppet
When To Use Puppet
Puppet is the preferred choice when the key concerns are stability and maturity. It is best for huge enterprises with a varied environment and different skills with the DevOps team
Puppet, being the older one, offers more of a traditional infrastructure support and can be opted by organizations who want to stick to the original traditional outlook
Puppet is good if your team has a range of skills on the DevOps team
“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
Chef is an automation tool that offers a mechanism to define infrastructure as a code. Instead of using manual procedures, it manages 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.
The Core Components
Chef Server – The main hub where Chef propagates and stores recipes and cookbooks
Chef Client – Performs configuration tasks on the local machine and is installed on every node being managed
Workstation – Permits selected workstations to author/test/maintain cookbooks and upload them to Chef Server
Chef Analytics – A stage that delivers actions and runs history, real-time reporting, and notifications around Chef mechanization activities
Chef Supermarket – An open-source directory of community-contributed cookbooks
Pros And Cons Of Chef
When To Use Chef?
Chef is the preferred choice when you have skilled resources in Git and Ruby. It is best for teams that are focussed on the development and for enterprises that are looking for a modernized environment
You can choose Chef if you are familiar with both Git and Ruby.
Chef, being the younger one, showcases more modernization and can be opted by organizations who are looking for an advanced tool
Puppet And Chef – The Similarities
Since both look at the same fundamental objective of configuration management, there are certain attributes that are found to be existing in both.
Both help development and operations teams manage applications and infrastructure.
Both are highly mature technologies that are extensively installed, possess detailed documentation.
Both have dynamic user groups and strong SLAs (service level agreements).
Both have respectable and big brands as their clients. Puppet is used by Red Hat, Siemens, Salesforce, Sony, and Google. Chef is used by Facebook, Mozilla, Expedia, Rackspace, Xero, Disney, and GE.
Both generally work in client-server modes.
With both these tools, Docker, Packer and Vagrant support agentless provisioning and client-server
Both are highly scalable and have high interoperability.
Setup and management aren’t very easy in either.
Both have a backup server to act immediately if the main server fails.
Puppet vs Chef: A Quick Comparison To Know The Differences
|Accommodates careful system administrators||Caters to imaginative developers|
|Offers more safely norms for the users||Offers more power to the users|
|Focuses on users not making mistakes and is more protective||Focuses on users to 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 newer of the two, 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 the one each organization chooses 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.
Published at DZone with permission of Ankit Kumar. See the original article here.
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