Why would IT need an old-time Puppet?

by Carlos Herrera

March 21, 2017

In this ever-growing and ever-changing world of IT, one reoccurring question we ask is: How can we keep up with the constant changes in technology,  so we can focus our time where it matters most `for the organization?

After spending countless hours troubleshooting in different technologies, operating systems, programming languages, etc. finding those nasty needles in all those haystacks, most often caused by human error, the same question kept coming back to my mind… why are we still depending on manual work when we are so deep into the so-called ‘Digital Era’?

One of the reasons I chose IT back in 1989, was that the computer was the tool of choice which we could use to make work more efficient, predictable, repeatable and even more accurate than manual work could ever achieve. At the end of the day businesses need their processes to be repeatable with consistent quality output; this, in turn, will spark that so-called continuous improvement process we all want.

Imagine if someone or something could use a computer and obtain those repeatable outputs over and over again (with the required quality level of course). That would be a robot, not a human being, but then again, what if we had control over that robot? That is the concept behind Puppet Labs’ brilliant idea: An automated ‘Puppet’ that you can control to achieve high-quality, repeatable steps. Every. Single. Time.

In today’s digital world we have way too many tools to get the work done. Imagine taking control of all those tools and eliminating manual work, if not completely, to a bare minimum. Puppet achieves exactly this. Using a simple language, you can instruct your automated Puppet to do the work for you, in a consistent and repeatable manner; eliminating the configuration drift in your infrastructure; therefore freeing up your valuable people resources. People are no longer required to do the tedious, repetitive work, and hence freeing up their time for building better solutions to continue to enable your business.

Have a variety of platforms in your infrastructure farm? No problem! Puppet works under the usual *nix, Windows, Solaris, AIX, Ubuntu/Debian… the works. Therefore, control over each platform thru a single point or “Puppet Master,” becomes a reality. The newest release even comes with fault-tolerance capabilities built right in.

If you are more of the prove-it-to-me or hands-on kind of person, I highly recommend getting the Training VM for Puppet Enterprise. The easy step-by-step instructions will guide you thru an overview of all the powerful features Puppet has to offer, while working in a full-blown environment where you can quickly grasp how the Puppet pieces would work together nicely with your unique infrastructure.

If you want to make many fast changes instead of manual changes to your infrastructure in a repeatable fashion, use a batch or shell script… seriously. When you want to get real and manage many servers at the same time, that is when Puppet becomes a very handy tool.

So, do we need a puppet in IT? I think we do; since NASA, Intel, Disney, HP, Sony, Uber think the same…you get the picture.

* Groundswell is not a reseller of affiliated with ‘Puppet Products’ in any way. This is a personal review of useful tool we have encountered in the market place.