[ale] Of Ansible, Salt and Rex

Jeff Hubbs jhubbslist at att.net
Sun Apr 21 17:25:11 EDT 2013

My exposure to a large Puppet environment suggested that so much setup 
and forethought has to go into it - as JD said - that you become 
hidebound; you never want to move beyond the environment you created or 
add to it in parallel because the Puppet-induced inertia is so high.  
You get to congratulate yourself on the cleverness of your 
near-immediate setups of highly complex systems but after a while, it 
just feels like you've rearranged the problem but not actually *solved* 
it. Made me question why it was ever such a great idea to have hundreds 
of servers in an organization, many of which perform different 
variations on the same small number of things.

On 4/21/13 11:33 AM, JD wrote:
> I've been looking at simple configuration management tools for a long time.
> Puppet always seemed to require more setup and forethought than I could muster
> for a small number of systems to be managed - less than 50.  The solution seemed
> worse than the problem.
> I've read, listened, googled, watched and attended talks on
> * Ansible,
> * Rex (Rexify) and
> * Salt
> but can't seem to make a decision based on real facts from real-world installations.
> Does anyone have real-world experience with these who could compare the results
> and setup?
> I love the idea that Ansible is 15 minutes to a working setup. YAML is great
> too.  Are there commonly used directory structures to support a clear hierarchy
> of types of servers? Perhaps a best practice doc
> http://ansible.cc/docs/bestpractices.html# that I've missed?
> Salt seems to be similar, but with a "pull" architecture. It can add other
> layers of servers to more clearly cross network zones and firewall boundaries.
> Rex is based on Perl, which I prefer, but as it common with most things perl,
> the best practices only come after a few years of toiling.  Writing perl to
> maintain a common /etc/hosts across most of these machines seems like overkill.
> YAML is a nice idea, heck, I'll even say a better idea. YAML support was added
> last month to Rex. http://rexify.org/
> Since the meeting last Thursday, I've read Ansible documents, blog articles, the
> git project site and watched a few videos from FOSDEM, UTOS, and a meeting in
> Canada.
> Please help my decision making process with your facts.
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