With virtualization driving the meteoric rise in server instance counts, it's no wonder that so many configuration automation tools are hitting their stride. Where once we either did without configuration management or created our own custom scripts, we now have many options to manage changes to large numbers of servers.
One of the best options is Puppet Enterprise, the commercial version of the Puppet open source project. Version 3.0, just arrived, passes along many advances borne from the community edition, as well as new features found only in the enterprise version.
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If you're already well versed in Puppet, then this version will bring with it welcome changes. The first is the speed. Although I wasn't able to fully corroborate Puppet Labs' claims of a 60 percent faster catalog core compilation, 2.7x speed in agent runtimes, or the heralded "200 percent performance boost," the reality is definitely close to that. For longtime Puppet users with large-scale deployments, the speed improvements are a very big deal, as they will reduce the load on both Puppet servers (that is, Masters) and managed nodes, as well as the time required to roll out changes across the board.