Chef Vs Puppet Vs Ansible – Comparison of DevOps Configuration Management Tools
Chef Vs. Puppet Vs. Ansible, this is a dilemma that every organization has. Since DevOps has evolved rapidly and becomes part and parcel of every business function in the digital trend, this comparison is quite relevant and pressing.
Many organizations are increasingly adopting the new collaborative culture in a bid to achieve a competitive edge in modern IT.
“The global DevOps market size reached USD 3.8 billion in 2018 and is projected to attain USD 14.97 billion by 2026 with a CAGR of 19.1% during the forecast period.”
DevOps automates and monitors the process of software creation, ranging from integration, testing, releasing to deploying and managing it.
DevOps has successfully laid down the path to take the IT industry to the next level by facilitating a host of benefits including faster delivery time, 100% customer satisfaction, quick fault detection, CI/CD and high ROI.
“IT departments with a strong DevOps workflow deploy software 200 times more frequently, with 2,555 times faster lead times, recover 24 times faster, and have three times lower change failure rates,” says the 2016 State of DevOps Report.
However, while every IT company is finding out ways and chalking out plans for effective DevOps implementation, many are failing to meet the expectations.
Embracing the right DevOps platform or configuration management tool is one of the major challenges encountered in DevOps implementation.
There are a number of latest DevOps configuration tools such as Chef, Puppet, SaltStack and Ansible with various features available in the market.
So, there is an inevitable need to compare Chef Vs. Puppet Vs. Ansible tools to identify the best tool for the success of DevOps projects.
At this very juncture, we bring you the comparison of the top configuration tools including Chef, Puppet and Ansible.
Chef vs Puppet vs Ansible – What are the differences?
The three configuration tools are simple to use and yet facilitate robust capabilities to automate complex multi-tier IT application environments.
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The distinctive difference between Ansible, Chef, and Puppet is the underlying script. While Puppet is coded in Ruby, Ansible utilizes Python and YAML scripts, and Chef is built on Ruby like Puppet. However, in the Puppet Vs. Chef bout, Chef is different from Puppet as it is programmed on Ruby combined with Domain Specific Language. The other differences in Chef Vs. Puppet Vs. Ansible are portrayed based on different factors, including Availability, Configuration Language, Setup and Installation, Ease of Management, Scalability, Interoperability, Tool Capabilities, and Pricing.
The availability of the three configuration tools, Chef, Puppet, Ansible, in the event of main master or server failure is very high. Every tool has the facility of a backup server or an alternative master to render support in case of main server failure.
|DevOps Tool||Availability (in case of server failure)|
2) Configuration Language
As indicated earlier, the configuration language in the IT automation tools is one of the most distinctive differences. Configuration language plays a prominent role in determining the applications of a configuration management tool.
|DevOps Tool||Configuration Language||Suitable for||Learning Level|
|Puppet||Ruby, Puppet DSL, Embedded Ruby (ERB), DSL||System Administrators||Difficult|
|Ansible||Python, YAML||System Administrators||Simple|
3) Setup and Installation
When it comes to ease of setup and installation, Ansible dominates the other two tools, Chef and Puppet, as it has an ‘agentless’ architecture. Chef and Puppet follow master-agent or master-slave architecture.
|DevOps Tool||Architecture||Ease of Setup and Installation|
|Chef||Master-Agent||Difficult and complex due to Chef Workstation|
|Puppet||Master-Agent||Difficult due to certificate signing between master and agent|
|Ansible||Only Master (Agentless)||Easy|
4) Ease of Management
The management of the Devops automation services depends upon the language and configuration of the tools. There are two types of configurations, including ‘pull’ and ‘push’. Pull configuration involves pulling all configurations from a central server to the slave nodes without any commands. Whereas in a push configuration, all the configurations in the server will be pushed to the nodes with specific commands.
In terms of configuration language, YAML is considered to be the easiest one as it is similar to English and is human-readable. While Puppet DSL and Ruby DSL languages create setbacks for management.
Once again Ansible portrays its dominance over the others in terms of management as it supports YAML language and follows both push and pull configurations.
|DevOps Tool||Configuration||Ease of Management|
|Ansible||Push and Pull||Easy|
Scalability of the configuration tools is one of the main factors enterprises consider before choosing the tool.
Chef, Puppet, Ansible can manage large infrastructures while handling the burden of scaling configurations. However, there is a slight difference between them in terms of scalability owing to the complexity of their configuration language.
In terms of interoperability, all three tools, Chef, Puppet, Ansible, have similar features. In three cases, all the servers work on Linux or Unix machines, while slaves or nodes will work on Windows machines.
|Chef||Chef Server should be on Linux/Unix; Workstation and Chef Client support Windows|
|Puppet||Puppet Master should be on Linux/Unix; Puppet Agent or Client supports Windows|
|Ansible||Ansible Server should be on Linux/Unix; Client machines support Windows|
7) Tool Capabilities
A review of the product capabilities in Chef Vs. Puppet Vs. Ansible can help in choosing the most suitable tool for your requirements. Each tool has its own set of capabilities that are better in its own way.
Pricing plays a prominent role in decision making for the adoption of configuration management tools or, in general, any product or technology.
|Chef||High||USD 13700/year for up to 100 nodes|
|Puppet||Medium||USD 11200-19900/year for up to 100 nodes|
|Ansible||Low||USD 10000/year for up to 100 nodes|
All three tools, including Chef, Puppet, Ansible, have their advantages and are better in their way. Each tool takes a slightly different approach to automation and is suitable for specific user segments in the same target space.
It’s imperative for the organization to consider various technical and business aspects including architecture, features, usability and support to choose the best configuration management tool.
FAQ’s on Chef Vs Puppet Vs Ansible
Chef is one of the most significant tools in the cloud platform that benefits the entire organization’s infrastructure.
Six benefits of Chef are: 1) Accelerating software delivery 2) Accelerating cloud adoption 3) Improving risk management 4) Increasing service resiliency 5) Managing cloud as well as data center 6) Accelerating cloud adoption
Puppet has plenty of benefits and some of them are
- Puppet is an open-source cross-platform making it free for all
- Puppet boosts productivity and manageability
- It has an override mechanism
- Puppet offers a significant time saving
- It supports multiple platforms like Microsoft Windows, BSD, Debian, etc.
Puppet, Chef, Ansible, and SaltStack are the four top contenders in the DevOps tools, including DevOps certification.
The top 4 tools are Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) configuration management tools that provide different paths to achieve a common goal.