Puppet Labs pulls strings on Docker, AWS and bare metal

Devops without downtime

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Puppet Labs is adding code management and updates to its Node Manager in a big refresh in Puppet Enterprise 3.8.

The company is particularly touting Docker container provisioning, as well as provisioning for bare metal and AWS infrastructure.

Tim Zonca, director of product marketing at Puppet Labs, told Vulture South the release is designed to balance demands for fast rollout on the one hand and minimum downtime on the other.

Unplanned downtime, Zonca said, predominantly flows from configuration issues, and one of the key aims with the Puppet Enterprise 3.8 release is to help avoid breaking environments when they're deployed.

“We're extending the capabilities for automating the provisioning of new infrastructure – containers, cloud, virtual and physical environments,” Zonca said.

Zonca said today's release of Puppet Node Manager extends its practice of treating infrastructure as “cattle, not pets”.

Released last year, Node Manager is designed to classify nodes, making it simpler to manage them, Zonca explained: “it's a rules-based method for organising the infrastructure,” he said.

In today's release, he said, “we're extending the life cycle of what can be managed for the entire life cycle of the node”, along with the aforementioned support to “automate the provisioning of everything from bare metal up to cloud containers”.

As part of the release, the company is taking its Razor tool from pre-release to general availability, and Zonca explained its role in the automation.

Razor “does automatic discovery of the bare metal hardware out there,” he said, including things like the how microkernels are configured.

“You can dynamically configure the operating system or the hypervisor, then hand over the resources to Puppet Enterprise,” Zonca continued.

“What this does is that you can start with a hunk of hardware that doesn't even have an operating system on it, and take that from zero to a system that's online and running.”

From that point, the system lets devops classify the new system, apply security classes to it, add the configuration and the software to get a production-ready endpoint.

Docker, Zonca said, is generating a lot of interest, but customers are treading carefully. In particular, they're keen to avoid configuration issues – “otherwise you end up fighting fires instead of getting new apps out there”.

The Puppet Supported module for Docker provides management for the Docker Platform, and lets customers launch Docker containers in Puppet-managed infrastructure, in particular trying to avoid configuration issues with the Docker daemon running the containers.

Zonca noted that there's still a lot of discussion among the Docker community about what constitutes “best practice”, so getting a stable automation environment should help users develop / test / deploy Docker apps in a repeatable fashion.

The AWS module shipping in the new release supports EC2, virtual private cloud, elastic load balancing, auto-scaling, security groups and Route53. This, the company says, lets customers describe the virtual network, launch AWS instances and manage the software on those instances from Puppet Enterprise.

The other key part of the launch is Puppet Code Manager, which lets users describe infrastructure in Puppet Code, and manage the infrastructure as code, from development through test, to production. It supports Git for version control. ®

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