Cloud 101 – Puppet Automation

Puppet is an open-source automation tool for the configuration and management of servers, much like Ansible. It works by defining the desired state of the systems in your infrastructure. Therefore, you do not have to describe any steps required. Instead, the domain-specific language called Puppet Code helps define your desired state.

Key concepts

The Puppet platform

Puppet consists of many packages that together form the Puppet platform. You use these packages to manage, run and store the Puppet code. These packages are Puppet Server, Puppet DB, and Puppet Agent. Puppet Agent also contains Facter and Hiera.

Primary server

The purpose of the primary server is to store the code that contains your desired state. The primary server and the Puppet Agent are part of the Puppet platform.

Puppet agent

All the main code of Puppet resides in the Puppet Agent package. It also contains all the dependencies. Once you install it, you are ready to use the Puppet Agent service, and the “puppet apply” command. Its purpose is to translate code into commands and run them on your specified systems.

Puppet server

The purpose of the Puppet server package is to run the main Puppet server application. This package is dependent on the Puppet Agent. Once you install it, it helps nodes with catalogs.


PuppetDB helps collect data that Puppet generates. The data that Puppet generates includes facts, reports, and catalogs. In addition, it has features like advanced queries and infrastructure reports.


Facter is a tool in Puppet that you can use to collect facts about agent nodes. The facts it collects include hostname, operating system, and IP address. The agent node forwards facts to the primary server in the form of a manifest.


Hiera is a key-value-based data lookup system. It helps separate data from the Puppet code. The configuration file of Hiera is “hiera.yaml”. You can also extend its functionality to more resources.


Puppet acts as infrastructure as code. It means you can convert your infrastructure into code. This is the primary concept of DevOps. This helps you adopt practices like continuous delivery, version control, and automated testing.


One of the primary features of Puppet is idempotency. Idempotency means applying the same code again and again to get your desired state in the system. Puppet runs continuously because of this feature. So if the state changes for any system, Puppet will bring it back to what it should be.

Agile methodology

You will be more successful with Puppet if you follow the agile methodology. Agile methodology means to reuse the code and work in increments. This technique will help you scale more and increase your productivity. As a result, you will be more efficient once you and your colleagues use Puppet.

Git and version control

Puppet highly recommends using Git that is a version control system. It will help you track changes to your code. Once you store your code into the Git repository, you will have many branches to work with to manage your code. It is not necessary to use but a recommendation.

Why use Puppet?

Here are some reasons why you should use Puppet:

  • It increases your deployment speed by increasing your productivity which saves your time.
  • Since it uses domain-specific language (DSL) to write configurations, it is easy to use.
  • You can integrate it with many tools out there.
  • One of the critical features of Puppet is consistency. For example, it can help you identify which part of your model failed and then correct it.
  • Another reason why you should use Puppet is automation. Automation will save you time, and you can scale more quickly if you want to.
  • Puppet is secure because it uses HTTPS for communication between servers and agents.
  • It acts as infrastructure as code that makes it easy for you to control your infrastructure in code form.

Frequently asked questions about Puppet automation

How does the Puppet Automation maintain the desired state of agent nodes?

A catalog is a document in JSON format. This, in turn, contains a description of the desired state for a particular agent node. For example, every agent has its catalog for sending and receiving. That is how Puppet maintains the desired state on all the agent nodes.

What are manifests in the Puppet?

The manifests contain Puppet code. The agent node forwards facts to the primary server in the form of manifests. When the manifests reach the primary server, it uses them to compile catalogs. Thus, all the manifests lie in the modules.

What is the purpose of modules in Puppet?

Modules contain all the manifests. The purpose of every module is to perform a particular task in the infrastructure. Data and code are both part of modules. Using the data, you can customize configurations. Moreover, you can use the Hiera tool to separate data from code.

Related Automation Tools

There are many related automation tools that you need to know. Every organization, small or large, need automation. Finding the right automation tool to meet your needs is essential.

Below is a full-list of the related automation tools covered by Anto Online:

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Having started his career in 1999 as a Desktop Support Engineer, Anto soon changed paths and became a developer. After several years of development experience, he transitioned into a consultant. As an enterprise application consultant for a leading SaaS software provider, Anto specializes in AWS's serverless technologies. By day, Anto focuses on helping customers leverage the power of serverless technologies. By night, he indulges his passion for cloud computing by playing with Python and trying out things that are currently beyond the scope of his work. Sometimes Anto needs help as there are not enough hours at night. So Anto relies on a team of fellow Cloud enthusiasts to help him out. Each one is a Cloud expert in their own right, and Anto takes great pride in helping them learn and grow.

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