It's been a while since we last covered these two leading IT automation solutions—suffice to say, both SaltStack and Ansible have evolved significantly since then. Let's take a fresh look at how they compare when it comes to enterprise-grade IT automation and orchestration.
In a few short years DevOps has gone from a fringe movement to a must-have for any IT leader. There's a lot of buzz around it, but there's alot of practical knowledge in there as well. Provisioning environments, deploying applications, maintaining infrastructures--these are all critical yet delicate tasks traditionally done by hand. What if we could get a machine to do all that stuff for us, not just saving hours of work but also removing the element of human error?
This is a tale of a newcomer vs a relative oldie in the Configuration Management (CM) arena. Both are tools to help the sysadmin or devops professional to better manage large numbers of servers. They excel at stuff like repetitive task automation, simultaneous deployment of apps and packages to a group of servers, or configuration and provisioning of new servers from scratch.
Today’s sys admin and devops professionals have to manage, on average, a much larger number of servers hosting a much larger number of applications, than their counterparts from as recently as the 90’s. Blame this on the exponential growth on computing for organizations, coupled with the emergence of new technologies such as virtualization and cloud computing.
The sysadmin or devops pro of today typically needs to manage a large numbers of servers, often automating some tasks or performing the same action several times over, like installing and provisioning a new server, rebooting a set of servers at specific times every day, deploying the same package to a group of servers, and so on. For such busy folks, Configuration Management (CM) tools like Ansible and Salt are absolute lifesavers.