What is Puppet and What Role Does it Play in DevOps

What is Puppet and What Role Does it Play in DevOps?

Puppet is probably the most popular configuration management tool used in DevOps. It allows you to set up and configure your servers with a simple language that can be run either locally or on your master server. It automates the process of installation, configuration management, software deployment, and supervision of your software across various server platforms. In this puppet tutorial we will cover the following points:

  • What is a Puppet?
  • What is DevOps? 
  • Why Use Puppets? 
  • Advantages of Puppet 
  • How Does Puppet Work? 
  • What process does puppet use? 
  • Puppet and its Role in DevOps 

What is a Puppet?

Puppet is a configuration management tool, which can be used for automated deployment of DevOps. It has written in the Ruby on Rails language. The central concept in Puppet is Puppetfile which contains a list of modules that are to be installed on a target host. Puppet uses Ruby DSL syntax for writing its own configuration files. Puppet works with almost all the operating systems and vendors such as Red Hat, SUSE, Debian, Ubuntu, and so on. Click Here to Try Puppet.

Puppet tool allows you to describe how a system should be configured, and then to change the system to match that description. This is useful when you have a lot of servers that are all basically similar, and was changing the configuration of one server should cause the same change to be made on the others.

Tasks Puppet can perform include:

  • Installing or upgrading software packages
  • Setting up users and groups
  • Setting up network connections
  • Setting passwords and service accounts
  • Platform provisioning, e.g., installing packages or setting up services
  • Configuration Management Using Puppet, e.g., configuring software or adding users
  • File distribution, e.g., copying files or installing packages
  • Setting up daemons such as web servers and databases, either as services or as stand-alone programs
  • Enforcing security policies such as requiring passwords, restricting access by IP address, or restricting which users can run certain commands

What is DevOps? 

DevOps
DevOps

DevOps in the simplest sense is a methodology that aims to bring both Development and Operations together into a single collaborative environment. While DevOps is pronounced “dev-ops,” it is often spelled as two separate words with a hyphen, as is common in the world of software. The method was created by Patrick Debois, a Belgian consultant and entrepreneur who wanted to improve the way software development teams and IT operations teams worked together.

DevOps is not just one thing. Rather, it is an idea or methodology that has been thought up by various people in an attempt to help the software development process work better. It’s a set of processes that helps ensure that you can deliver software faster, more safely, and with greater quality. The major concept behind DevOps is removing the gaps between the Development and Operations teams.

Click here to read: 10 Best DevOps Certification Training Program

Why Use Puppets? 

  • Puppet is an easy-to-use system for launching servers, managing applications, and creating infrastructure-based virtual machines. 
  • Puppet is an easy way to quickly build infrastructure for any web application or VMS, including WordPress sites and applications. 
  • It offers a simple, declarative approach to creating, launching, and managing systems. 
  • You can quickly spin up a local development server for testing or simply develop a new application within minutes. 
  • With the power of VirtualBox integrated into Puppet CCK, you can easily create a complete operating environment to experiment with your code before deployment.

Click here to read: What Is Ansible? Uses, Benefits, Architecture

Advantages of Puppet 

  • Puppet is free to use, or rather free to download and use. There are paid versions of Puppet that offer extra features, but everything you need for setting up servers and configuring them is available for free.
  • The Puppet language is very easy to learn and even simpler to write. You don’t have to be a programmer to write basic Puppet code.
  • Puppet devops tool gives you more control over your servers than the other configuration management tools like Chef or Ansible.
  • There are plenty of resources around that help you if you get stuck, such as puppetlabs.com
  • Configuration Management Using Puppet is easy and efficient.

How Does Puppet Work? 

Puppet tool works by downloading a software agent on every device that needs to be managed. The software agent then monitors the state of the machine and transmits any state changes to the Puppet master. The master will then process the requests from the clients based on their configuration and send corresponding commands back to the client.

Puppet Installation process

The Puppet system is made of three parts. 

  1. First, there are the puppet manifests. These are text files (usually written in Ruby, but there are also some in Puppet LUA) that describe a desired state for a piece of software or a system configuration. These manifest files use Puppet’s resource abstraction model to describe what the desired state should be; they then also use Puppet’s declarative language to describe how to achieve this desired state, and finally they use Puppet’s functional programming constructs to define relationships between resources in order to ensure that everything stays consistent when the system changes.
  2. Second, there is an optional package called Facter that supplies facts about the node it is running on. A fact is a name-value pair that describes something about the particular host machine it runs on, such as the amount of RAM installed or which interfaces are present.
  3. Third, there is another package called PuppetDB that provides a central place for Puppet agents to store their reports about what has changed on their systems and where these changes came from (say, whether they were applied by hand or automatically from another node). This information can then be used by your monitoring infrastructure to alert you when things go wrong or if repeated changes are being reported from multiple nodes.

Click Here to Read: Top AIOps Tools & How To Choose

What process does puppet use? 

Puppet DevOps tool uses the client-server architecture, where the puppet clients make requests to the puppet server. The request can either be to read some information, like the current configuration of a resource, or to change something, like adding a new file. The modifications are implemented on the server and then are bred to every client by the server.

puppet client server architecture
puppet client server architecture
  • The Puppet manifests contain instructions that are executed on the target system. These manifests can be written in Puppet’s native language or in an external language like Ruby or Python. 
  • The former approach is recommended when writing first-time Puppet code, as it is easier to use; however, if a more complex logic is required, using an external language may be required.
  • You can use Puppet to install software packages on client systems remotely, configure firewalls, manage users, manage databases, update content on web servers, manage file systems and much more.
  •  One thing to keep in mind with Puppet is that you need to understand exactly what you’re going to do before you begin working with it. If you’re looking for something that will enable you to perform tasks without planning them out first, then it’s probably not the right choice for your organization.

Puppet and its Role in DevOps 

Many of the tools and processes used in DevOps are aimed at streamlining software development and delivery. But there’s another aspect to DevOps that can be just as important: reducing the time it takes for a new release to reach production, known as the change window.

Puppet automation tool automates server provisioning, configuration management, and reporting. The users of Puppet are system administrators, DevOps engineers, and release engineers. As a DevOps tool, Puppet helps in the development process by mapping the desired state of a server to the present state and then making changes to the present state to align it with the desired state. The desired state is defined by Puppet in user-friendly terms. This is important as it enables non-technical people to define what they want and expect from their system, without having to write code.

Puppet manages configurations that are stored on various resources including file systems and databases. Once a configuration is changed using Puppet, it will be automatically updated using all available resources. This reduces the need for human intervention in large-scale infrastructures where thousands of servers need to be configured almost simultaneously.

Conclusion

If you are a developer who is used to writing code and pushing it out to a live server, then the idea of server configuration tools may feel odd to you. But they are vital to DevOps. They help solidify a workflow between your development team and operations team. A Puppet module that you created now becomes available to be used in your operations toolset. In order to make this workflow process easier, Puppet Labs have developed tools like Forge (mentioned above) which allows you to manage your Puppet modules while they build out their commercial offerings. Puppet acts as an interface between developer and production environments in order to provision and manage servers with ease.

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