Ansible Vs Puppet: Everything You Need To Know

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Oct 16, 2023

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In the increasingly automated world that we live in, it is pleasing to see there are systems that can enhance many different functions of a typical day by streamlining and automating certain activities. Will your next deployment be done with the mouth of an algorithm or the name of an overzealous admin?  

This article explores Ansible vs Puppet and how these two sophisticated automation tools with each having different approaches are capable of managing your infrastructure - Ansible and Puppet. 

Let's discuss the difference between Ansible and Puppet, how these tools are best used, what their pros and cons are, how they differ from their competitive peers, does one tool has an edge over the other, and which of them is a better use.

What Is Ansible?

Ansible has become a powerful tool since its initial development in 2013, initially as open-source software with the purpose of simplifying infrastructure management across different machines. The opinion of many people is that Ansible makes some tasks easier by controlling most existing Linux Servers using SSH, putting unique command-line windows in front of the user script commands through node provisioning, and executing applications on server nodes for scheduling purposes. Leading the trend of Ansible among sysadmins is Jenkins, which used to be a part of many different open source editions of it. Popular databases such as MySQL and PostgreSQL are also supported by Jenkins through plugins in its client. As a result, any centralized tool can be used in order to make use of those formulas masterfully.

What is Puppet?

Puppet is a popular extensible automation tool that makes configuring and maintaining a heterogeneous server environment manageable. It is a model-driven application of applied functional programming principles and a collection of declarative language-based technologies: Ruby, Groovy, Java (programming language), Erlang, Lisp, and Prolog. Puppet can be used for managing server configuration on Linux and Windows operating systems as well as software applications frequently written in corresponding shared libraries.


Puppet is free documentation in client-server architecture and distributed processing is used to scale up from one server with minimal configuring effort. The primary component of a Puppet environment is the central node, also called Puppet Master. Puppet nodes are responsible for gathering configuration data from various sources into a centrally stored repository called Hiera. It then generates working configurations for various applications according to an application-specific declarative hierarchy of facts defined by the administrator. 

Differences between Ansible and Puppet based on different factors:

Ansible Vs Puppet: Security and Development

Ansible and Puppet differ greatly. Ansible is a technology that's designed for open source, tightly-controlled organizations where security must be lightweight and easy to configure. On the other hand, Puppet is heavier and less secure technology for larger companies with much tighter controls. Which one is better for you depends on which kind of organization you're in and what your needs are.

Ansible Vs Puppet: Availability

The availability aspects of Ansible and Puppet are very important in determining what will be the right fit for your network. Ansible is binary, meaning that it only runs on Linux and is available on a permanent basis. On the other hand, Puppet offers continuous changes to its runtime environment which means that you won't have to rely on any particular version of it.

Ansible vs Puppet: Scalability

Ansible is an open-source system automation engine that encourages code reuse by abstracting different common system administration tasks. This makes it much easier to manage all the systems since a lot of actions are being done at once. Puppet is not an alternative to Ansible but rather complimented it since it features better usability and object modelling.

Ansible vs Puppet: Scheduling and Management

Ansible is widely used and a popular tool in the IT world. On the other hand, Puppet is just one of many tools that are available to IT admins. Both Ansible and Puppet have both their pros and cons depending on your needs as an admin. Many people enjoy the flexibility that both have, with Ansible offering more control management options in comparison to Puppet. Depending on what your needs are, either Ansible or Puppet could be advantageous to you in your home office or work setting.

Ansible vs Puppet: Modules

Ansible and Puppet were built for two different purposes. Ansible is used to automate systems whereas Puppet is used to manage the configuration of the software running on a server. Ansible will use YAML files in its modules with manifest files containing the task commands. It allows for flexibility by using order declarations or modifying elements by using module transformations.

Ansible vs Puppet: Configuration

Ansible is a configuration management tool. It’s powerful at managing files in Linux systems. Puppet is also a configuration management tool that comes with a set of checklists that help automate various system changes Ansible is known to be more complex than Puppet while being much more powerful. Puppet can only manage 10,000 file configurations whereas Ansible allows up to 64 million configurations. Ansible is declarative which means that it’s easier to define and then manage, whereas Puppet is imperative which makes it more difficult to manage and explain in a human language.

Ansible vs Puppet: Support

If you choose Ansible to manage your servers, it will also require a binary-compatible agent running on the servers themselves. Ansible will use SSH communication to run commands, instead of having to pass through RDP. On top of this, Ansible supports notifications, logs diagnostic information, and has Python modules for fault injection testing that can be helpful when tuning and optimizing a particular service or application stack.

Ansible vs Puppet: GUI

Ansible and Puppet are two of the most popular automation tools used by system administrators. These tools have many differences, so choosing one can be confusing. Ansible offers flexibility due to a large number of plugins that provide more functionality at runtime. This can make the process of administering a server easier and adds more depth of control. Puppet offers a different model for managing servers, with sharded models instead of configuring each service individually.

Ansible vs Puppet: Ease Of Setup

When it comes to deploying servers, Puppet vs Ansible will give cut-throat competition. The idea of Ansible and Puppet was that they create their own application because, in the early days of IT deployment, every engine deserved its own car. For a long time, inventors on both sides were trying to outdo each other until one of them prevailed. Today, there's something for everyone as Ansible has gotten much easier to configure than Puppet.


Pros and Cons of Ansible and Puppet

Pros of Ansible

  1. Easy to install, configure, upgrade and manage 
  2. Easily template friendly
  3. Does not require Python
  4. Does not require plugins except LessPants 


Cons of Ansible

  1. Syntax can be challenging
  2. Does not support or backup AnsibleDB3. 
  3. No multi-role chef per application


Pros of Puppet

  1. Can be deployed behind the firewall
  2. Supports/indexes roles (code)
  3. Works on Windows, Mac, and Linux P
  4. Easily scalable
  5. Supports/indexes ITK roles (code)


Cons of Puppet

  1. Heavy and tricky to install, configure and upgrade.
  2. Requires Java 7 or later (Java 5 is not supported)
  3. Poor templating as Puppet supports only 2 kinds of template files - script and sh/csh
  4. 3rd party plugins can be troublesome

Ansible vs Puppet: Which is Better?

Ansible and Puppet are two important tools in system administration. Ansible is an agent-based systems management tool that allows for the efficient deployment, configuration management, and monitoring. Puppet has a similar set of features with multimachine support added to its mix.

Ansible vs Puppet: Puppet is a system automation tool to configure, deploy, and manage software configurations, while Ansible is an open-source IT automation platform that builds on top of the widely used, industry-standard Python programming language.

To determine the result of Ansible vs Puppet, it is important to jot down your requirements then look at some of the key features they have. The two compare quite closely in terms of functionality. In a nutshell, it depends on the use case you are trying to achieve. 

However, Ansible overtakes Puppet for the purpose of centralizing your inventory management, where Puppet comes out slightly in front given its built-in support for disparate platforms. You may also explore information about DevOps online training where both concepts of Ansible and Puppet are covered in depth. When you avail of a DevOps certification, you will become capable enough to learn about its possibilities. 

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The Bottom Line

Puppet, a configuration management, and systems automation tool, is more popular than Ansible. Some reasons for this include greater flexibility, easier use, and of course, a lack of sponsored ads on the site. However, Ansible boasts an easier console and built-in dependency resolution with better unit testing and a few other features that have led to its market share being higher than Puppet's. When it comes to Ansible vs Puppet, the difference of opinion is a matter of workflow and personal preference, but also has to do with some pretty surprising facts. Make sure you are thorough with your requirements and alternatives when it comes to selecting an orchestration server to set up.

You can master Ansible as well as puppet with the help of our DevOps Training Course and open a gateway for a high paying career. 

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