Blog DevOps Introduction to Puppet Fundamentals
Puppet Introduction

Introduction to Puppet Fundamentals

Scalability is the primary and most critical demand of enterprises in the present times. Technology is focusing more on distributed and virtual resources as compared to traditional on-premises systems. In addition, new domains such as DevOps is changing the conventional ways of operation of development and operations teams. If you have heard a lot about DevOps in the world of cloud computing recently, then you might be late to the party!

DevOps has been one of the revolutionary and path-breaking interventions that have increased the speed of software delivery by huge margins. Therefore, the demand for efficient DevOps tools for handling various types of tasks is increasing considerably. The following discussion would serve as a Puppet introduction and explain the way it works. Puppet is one of the most popular DevOps tools, and certified expertise could ensure promising career options for aspiring candidates. 

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What is Puppet?

One of the first things that you should explore in a Puppet introduction article like this one is the definition of Puppet. Only after you know what it is, you can start diving deeper into its structure, working, and benefits. You would find the most generic definition for Puppet in almost every Puppet tutorial.

Puppet is a server configuration management tool and helps in ensuring the configuration of all systems to a specific, predictable state according to your requirements. Puppet is also an ideal choice as a deployment tool as you can use it for automatically deploying software on desired systems. It is responsible for the implementation of infrastructure as code, thereby just implying that users can test the environment and ensure its accurate deployment. 

Understanding Puppet Architecture

Now, the next important concern in any Puppet tutorial would be the architecture of Puppet. The architecture of Puppet can provide a comprehensive overview of the working of Puppet. The architecture of Puppet includes two server environments such as main server environment and client environment. The Puppet main server environment includes a Puppet master store for storage of all configuration files. Here are the important components of the Puppet main server environment along with their functionalities.

  • The manifests are actual codes used for configuration of the clients.
  • Templates help in the combination of code and data for creating a final document.
  • Files are static content, and clients could download them.
  • Modules are a significant in Puppet architecture as they are the collection of manifests, files and templates.
  • Certificate authority helps in allowing the master for signing different certificates facilitated by the client.

The next important highlight in Puppet introduction about its architecture is the second component of the Puppet environment. The Puppet client environment is actually the machine that you have to configure. The machine contains Agent and Facter. The Agent is responsible for continuous interaction with the master server for ensuring proper updates of certificates. The Facter is responsible for collection of current state of the client that is in use and then communicates it back with the help of the agent.

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How Does Puppet Work?

After looking into the architecture of Puppet, it is easier to look into how Puppet works. Readers should note that Puppet follows the primary-secondary node architecture. The distribution of clients across the network with facility of communication in the primary-secondary environment with Puppet modules is a notable highlight of Puppet architecture.

The client agent transmits a certificate with the relevant ID to the server, and then the servers sign the certificate before sending it back to client. With the help of this authentication, you can notice the validity of secure and trustworthy communication between master and the client in this Puppet introduction.

The next important step in understanding how Puppet works refers to the facter collecting state of the clients before sending them to the master. The master then compiles the manifests into catalogs according to the fact sent by facters. Then, the catalogs are sent to clients followed by which an agent is responsible for the execution of manifests on its machine. The client generates a report describing any modifications made before sending them to the master. These processes continue repetitively at regular intervals, thereby ensuring that all clients’ systems are updated regularly and appropriately. 

Functions of Puppet User and Group

Another notable aspect of the working of Puppet in this Puppet introduction is the function of Puppet user and group. The user and group in Puppet are ideal for security objectives for ensuring that a module could access only the information it needs from the master. In addition, Puppet users and groups also prevent exploitation or compromise of the Puppet module. The Puppet user is responsible for performing tasks on the master and is a member of a Puppet group. The user and group in Puppet with various privileges are created automatically and assigned to master server when you activate the master SMF service instance during the setup process. The Puppet master could perform many tasks through the Puppet user, outlined as follows.

  • Storage of configuration manifests in the Puppet manifests directory.
  • Accepting SSL certificates from agent
  • Transferring files to agents
  • Creation of catalogs

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Security Framework of Puppet

One of the significant highlights in Puppet basics is the various encryption and communication methods followed on Puppet. Puppet interfaces directly with the OpenSSL toolkit, based on SSL and Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocols. It implements standard SSL/TLS technology along with standard SSL certifications for verification and authentication of agent and master. It also helps in utilizing SSL/TLS for encryption of traffic flow between agents and servers. Let us reflect on the different functions of Puppet’s encryption method in this Puppet introduction as follows,

  • Authentication of any agent to the master
  • Authentication of the master on an agent
  • Preventing communication eavesdropping between the master and agents

Mutual host authentication is possible in Puppet with the help of a TLS client-side X-509 certificate. The default storage for such information is the /etc/Puppet/ssl directory, which is defined by default in the Puppet configuration file ‘Puppet.conf’. SMF commands can help you change the default location and the changes will reflect on the site configuration file.

You should notice that there are different directories for certificates, signed requests, and keys alongside requests awaiting a signature. It is important to notice that these directors are present on both the master and agent servers. Furthermore, you should note in this Puppet introduction that Puppet uses its own certification authority.

Upon initialization of the master, Puppet generates a unique CA certificate and private key for the master, followed by initialization of Certificate Revocation List (CRL) that leads to the creation of the server certificate. The server certificate is sent to the agent and is ideal for SSL and TLS communications. 

Also Read: Best Way to Prepare for Puppet Certification

What are the Advantages of Puppet?

Now, readers must be wondering about the different reasons for which Puppet is gaining popularity in the world of DevOps. Therefore, it is essential to reflect on its benefits as a part of the discussion on Puppet basics. 

  • The foremost advantage of Puppet is the facility of Infrastructure as Code (IAC) functionalities. IAC provides exceptional flexibility and efficiency in addressing various crucial DevOps practices including version control, continuous delivery, peer review, and automated testing and deployment. 
  • The next important benefit of Puppet that you would find in any Puppet introduction is the reduction of downtime. Puppet can reduce configuration issues that are primarily responsible for downtime. In addition, the faster speed of recovery can also provide much-needed support for lower downtime.
  • The faster deployment benefit in Puppet is clearly evident, and you should note that faster deployments subsequently lead to massive time savings.
  • The support of a large open-source developer community is the foremost advantage with Puppet. You can find reliable solutions to any issues with operating Puppet through its open-source community. 
  • Puppet takes away the need for scripting and could work efficiently for large infrastructures through easier automation of repeated tasks. In addition, you can also find support for many platforms, including Microsoft Windows, BSD, and Debian for Puppet. Most important of all, learning Puppet is very easy if you put the right level of commitment and dedication into it. 

Companies That Use Puppet

The final highlight in this Puppet introduction should present an impression of the actual popularity of Puppet. Readers can find the motivation to start learning beyond a Puppet overview by taking a look at the companies using Puppet for the management of their infrastructure.

The prominent entries include Google, AT&T, The US Air Force, Spotify, Staples, and AON. Different companies have various objectives underlying their adoption of Puppet. For example, Staples implemented Puppet as a configuration management tool for automation of its IT operations and private cloud management. 

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Are You Ready to Learn Puppet?

The DevOps market is increasing consistently, and soon, the demand for DevOps professionals would be skyrocketing. Estimates by Grand View Research suggest that the global DevOps market would reach a total valuation of 12.85 billion by 2025. Furthermore, enterprises are opting for DevOps tools to address various setbacks in conventional software development lifecycles.

So, if you want to become a part of the massive DevOps landscape for the pursuit of a promising career, then you should immediately start training for it. On the other hand, if you are looking for a tool to streamline your application development processes, then there is no better pick than Puppet.

Start learning now to get a promising impression of ways to improve your expertise in Puppet and validate your skills with the Puppet certification. Enroll now in the Puppet 206 training course and prepare yourself to become Puppet Certified! 

About Neeru Jain

Technology Scientist by Mind and Passionate Writer by Heart!! With an enthusiasm for technological research and learning, Neeru turned out to be a technology expert. Her Belief: “Words are powerful enough to change Mind, Life, and the World; only the writer should have a real passion for Writing!!”
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