Puppet Enterprise 3.8 adds Docker, AWS management

Puppet Enterprise 3.8 includes Docker and AWS management modules, as well as the first supported release of Razor for bare-metal management

Configuration-management and orchestration tool Puppet remains a mainstay in IT shops, thanks to its versatility and recent improvements in performance and functionality.

The latest edition of Puppet's commercial product, Puppet Enterprise 3.8, picks up support for other key technologies -- containers and cloud environments -- that have become enterprise standbys. These solutions can be used with Puppet's open source version, although Puppet Enterprise adds support and streamlines the overall delivery.

The first of those new features, support for containers, is all but a requirement for any enterprise devops product. Puppet Enterprise provides a supported module for Docker that manages not only containers, but also the Docker daemon where needed. Several Docker-related modules for Puppet already exist, for dealing with Fig, Weave, or Mesos, for instance, but this is the first to receive formal support from Puppet.

Puppet's own release notes for 3.8 hint at how demand for a Docker module might have come from more than the breadth of Docker adoption alone. The module, it says, "help[s] avoid configuration issues with the Docker daemon running containers, so teams can spend less time troubleshooting configuration issues...." Docker's complexity is well-known, spanning not only configuration but also monitoring and troubleshooting, and a cottage industry of tooling has emerged to help deal with it.

Another module, AWS, expands Puppet's functionality to managing Amazon Web Services resources. This goes beyond provisioning EC2 instances; it also allows one's entire AWS setup to be modeled with YAML and used to build infrastructure stacks -- such as manage DNS records through Amazon Route53, set up elastic IP addresses, and so on.

A previously announced Puppet feature, Razor, is graduating in version 3.8 from a technology preview to a supported solution. Razor is essentially Puppet for bare metal -- a system for discovering hardware, booting it via PXE with a specially designed microkernel, and provisioning it with either an OS or a hypervisor of your choice. Existing VMs can also be provisioned with Razor.

Puppet has stood at the head of the orchestration/management pack due to its maturity and breadth, even when most of the best functionality of the product is only available in the cost-plus enterprise version. But having more of its pieces accessible to the open source side, especially those that reflect more of what's happening in enterprise IT today (like Docker), is a major boon.

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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