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Old 17th July 2009, 05:19 AM
satimis Offline
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 1,398
Puppet on system admin

Hi folks,


Have folks tried Puppet before for system administration?

Puppet is system administration — Automated
http://reductivelabs.com/trac/puppet/wiki/AboutPuppet


Following article mentions that;
Code:
Puppet now manages systems at Google, Twitter, Sun, Sony, Red Hat, New York Stock Exchange, Digg, SlideShare, Shopzilla, and Harvard and Stanford universities.
What is the Puppet configuration management tool, and how does it work?
http://searchdatacenter.techtarget.c...68&uid=3056994


What will be your comment? Any other equivalent package equal or better than Puppet?

TIA

B.R.
satimis
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  #2  
Old 17th July 2009, 10:27 AM
SIGSEGV Offline
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Posts: 60
Hi satimis,

currently, I am making myself acquainted with Puppet.

So far I have only started with a very small setup of a puppetmasterd and one single puppetd client on another host.

I have been reading a nice book on Puppet Pulling Strings with Puppet by James Turnbull, whom I remembered as quite a good author from his earlier work "Pro Nagios 2.0" (also published by Apress; n.b. I am no sales rep. of them and don't get any payments for "advertising" their publications here).
The Puppet book I discovered in a local bookstore for a mere 11 Euros.
Though Puppet is still work in progress and the book a little over a year old
I preferred it over the also good Puppet trac doc
because I find it in general more pleasing to read longer passages from a hardcopy than from screen.
The book is well structured and introduces the most vital elements of setting up and configuring Puppet as well as the "Puppet Language" which is a bit close to the Ruby programming language.
That is because Puppet is written in Ruby, unfortunately to me since I am not yet into it (but can build on my (OO) Perl background).

Puppet requiring Ruby has another little drawback for my environment where I intend to use Puppet because I also have to cater for quite a few commercial Unix systems (like HP-UX, AIX, Solaris) where up until now unfortunately Ruby isn't so common and many of these "distros" lack development tools (their vendors usually charge immense extra license fees for e.g. ANSI C compilers), and they also lack prepackaged binaries for their OSes.

However, if you have to manage mainly Linux/*BSD systems (especially any RedHat-based ones) Puppet seems to be a perfect choice.

Because the setup of a Puppet system to my impression resembles a bit of some OO programming work (e.g. class definitions and the Puppet syntax) it can be a little daunting to admins with little or no coding experience at first.
And I can imagine that it will require a bit of fiddling to get a good configuration management for a big site to work smoothly.

But once you have it running I can also imagine that it not only eases config management for large sites with many hosts but that as a "by-product" of your Puppet configuration
you get a pretty good mapping and "documentation" of involved processes
(similar to as often shell scripts also act as part of a documentation of mundane, repetitive processes exercised by sysadmins).
And not to forget, your configuration changes get more reproducible and accountable.


As you asked, another "tool" that serves a similar purpose is e.g. cfengine
Interestingly, the initiator/creator of Puppet is said to have come from the cfengine project and to have started Puppet because he wasn't satisfied with some of the drawbacks of cfengine.

Last edited by SIGSEGV; 17th July 2009 at 10:33 AM.
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  #3  
Old 17th July 2009, 01:49 PM
satimis Offline
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Posts: 1,398
Quote:
Originally Posted by SIGSEGV View Post
Hi satimis,

currently, I am making myself acquainted with Puppet.

So far I have only started with a very small setup of a puppetmasterd and one single puppetd client on another host.

I have been reading a nice book on Puppet Pulling Strings with Puppet by James Turnbull, whom I remembered as quite a good author from his earlier work "Pro Nagios 2.0" (also published by Apress; n.b. I am no sales rep. of them and don't get any payments for "advertising" their publications here).
The Puppet book I discovered in a local bookstore for a mere 11 Euros.
Though Puppet is still work in progress and the book a little over a year old
I preferred it over the also good Puppet trac doc
because I find it in general more pleasing to read longer passages from a hardcopy than from screen.
The book is well structured and introduces the most vital elements of setting up and configuring Puppet as well as the "Puppet Language" which is a bit close to the Ruby programming language.
That is because Puppet is written in Ruby, unfortunately to me since I am not yet into it (but can build on my (OO) Perl background).

Puppet requiring Ruby has another little drawback for my environment where I intend to use Puppet because I also have to cater for quite a few commercial Unix systems (like HP-UX, AIX, Solaris) where up until now unfortunately Ruby isn't so common and many of these "distros" lack development tools (their vendors usually charge immense extra license fees for e.g. ANSI C compilers), and they also lack prepackaged binaries for their OSes.

However, if you have to manage mainly Linux/*BSD systems (especially any RedHat-based ones) Puppet seems to be a perfect choice.

Because the setup of a Puppet system to my impression resembles a bit of some OO programming work (e.g. class definitions and the Puppet syntax) it can be a little daunting to admins with little or no coding experience at first.
And I can imagine that it will require a bit of fiddling to get a good configuration management for a big site to work smoothly.

But once you have it running I can also imagine that it not only eases config management for large sites with many hosts but that as a "by-product" of your Puppet configuration
you get a pretty good mapping and "documentation" of involved processes
(similar to as often shell scripts also act as part of a documentation of mundane, repetitive processes exercised by sysadmins).
And not to forget, your configuration changes get more reproducible and accountable.


As you asked, another "tool" that serves a similar purpose is e.g. cfengine
Interestingly, the initiator/creator of Puppet is said to have come from the cfengine project and to have started Puppet because he wasn't satisfied with some of the drawbacks of cfengine.
Hi SIGSEGV,


Thanks for your detail advice and your time.

Does Puppet require X to run? Because most servers are headless without X. If YES then it can be used only on virtual boxes running virtualization for server consolidation. Puppet can be installed on host which has X running to monitor the servers on the said box as guests.


Would cfengine be the same? Thanks


B.R.
satimis
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  #4  
Old 17th July 2009, 02:48 PM
SIGSEGV Offline
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Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by satimis View Post
Does Puppet require X to run?
No, it doesn't. At least as far as I have scratched the surface of it.
Of course, I guess it would also depend on what you plan to have under Puppet's reign.
If there are any X servers involved, then yes I would think that X could be a requirement.
Quote:
Originally Posted by satimis
Would cfengine be the same?
I am afraid, I cannot tell if it covers exactly the same range of application
because I lack any cfengine experience.
But maybe someone else here can tell?
Or browse through cfengine's doc pages to find out for yourself.
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