Puppet (software)

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Puppet transparent logo.svg
Initial release2005; 16 years ago (2005)
Stable release
7.10.0 / 16 August 2021; 40 days ago (16 August 2021)
Written inC++ & Clojure from 4.0,[1] Ruby
Operating systemLinux, Unix-like, Microsoft Windows
LicenseOpen Source Puppet: Apache for >2.7.0, GPL for prior versions.
Puppet Enterprise: proprietary[2]

In computing, Puppet is a software configuration management tool which includes its own declarative language to describe system configuration. It is a model-driven solution that requires limited programming knowledge to use.[3]

Puppet is produced by Puppet, Inc, founded by Luke Kanies in 2005. Puppet's primary product, Puppet Enterprise,[4] is a commercially supported version of its open-source product. Puppet's automation software uses Puppet's declarative language to manage various stages of the IT infrastructure lifecycle, including the provisioning, patching, configuration, and management of operating system and application components across enterprise data centers and cloud infrastructures.[5]

Puppet uses an open-core model; its free-software version was released under version 2 of the GNU General Public License (GPL) until version 2.7.0,[6] and later releases use the Apache License, while Puppet Enterprise uses a proprietary license.

Built as cross-platform software, Puppet and Puppet Enterprise operate on multiple Unix-like systems (including Linux as well as Solaris, BSD, Mac OS X, AIX, HP-UX) and has Microsoft Windows support.[7][8] Puppet itself is written in Ruby, while Facter is written in C++, and Puppet Server and Puppet DB are written in Clojure.[9]


Puppet is designed to manage the configuration of Unix-like and Microsoft Windows systems declaratively. The user describes system resources and their state, either using Puppet's declarative language or a Ruby DSL (domain-specific language). This information is stored in files called "Puppet manifests". Puppet discovers the system information via a utility called Facter, and compiles the Puppet manifests into a system-specific catalog containing resources and resource dependency, which are applied against the target systems. Any actions taken by Puppet are then reported.

Puppet consists of a custom declarative language to describe system configuration, which can be either applied directly on the system, or compiled into a catalog and distributed to the target system via client–server paradigm (using a REST API), and the agent uses system specific providers to enforce the resource specified in the manifests. The resource abstraction layer enables administrators to describe the configuration in high-level terms, such as users, services and packages without the need to specify OS specific commands (such as rpm, yum, apt).

Puppet is model-driven, requiring limited programming knowledge to use.[10]

Puppet comes in two versions, Puppet Enterprise and Open Source Puppet. In addition to providing functionalities of Open Source Puppet, Puppet Enterprise also provides GUI, API and command line tools for node management.


Puppet manually invoked on a client

Puppet usually follows client-server architecture. The client is known as an agent and the server is known as the master. For testing and simple configuration, it can also be used as a stand-alone application run from the command line.

Puppet Server is installed on one or more servers, and Puppet Agent is installed on all the machines that the user wants to manage. Puppet Agents communicate with the server and fetch configuration instructions. The Agent then applies the configuration on the system and sends a status report to the server.[11] Devices can run Puppet Agent as a daemon, that can be triggered periodically as a cron job or can be run manually whenever needed.

The Puppet programming language is a declarative language that describes the state of a computer system in terms of "resources", which represent underlying network and operating system constructs. The user assembles resources into manifests that describe the desired state of the system. These manifests are stored on the server and compiled into configuration instructions for agents on request. [12]

Puppet resource syntax:

type { 'title':
  attribute => value

Example resource representing a Unix user:

user { 'harry':
  ensure => present,
  uid    => '1000',
  shell  => '/bin/bash',
  home   => '/var/tmp'

Puppet allows users to configure systems in a platform-agnostic way by representing operating system concepts as structured data. Rather than specifying the exact commands to perform a system action, the user creates a resource, which Puppet then translates into system-specific instructions which are sent to the machine being configured. For example, if a user wants to install a package on three different nodes, each of which runs a different operating system, they can simply declare one resource, and Puppet will determine which commands need to be run based on the data obtained from Facter, a program that collects data about the system it is running on, including its operating system, IP address, and some hardware information.[13] Providers on the node use Facter facts and other system details to translate resource types in the catalog into machine instructions that will actually configure the node.

A normal Puppet run has the following stages:

  1. An agent sends facts from Facter to the master.
  2. Puppet builds a graph of the list of resources and their interdependencies, representing the order in which they need to be configured, for every client. The master sends the appropriate catalog to each agent node.
  3. The actual state of the system is then configured according to the desired state described in manifest file. If the system is already in the desired state, Puppet will not make any changes, making transactions idempotent.
  4. Finally, the agent sends a report to the master, detailing what changes were made and any errors that occurred.


Puppet, Inc
IndustryComputer software[14]
Founded2005; 16 years ago (2005)[citation needed]
HeadquartersPortland, Oregon, U.S.
Key people
Luke Kanies (Founder), Yvonne Wassenaar (CEO), Andrew Shafer
ProductsPuppet, Puppet Enterprise, and Puppet Forge[15]
Puppet Founder Luke Kanies

Puppet's vendor Puppet, Inc, is a privately held information technology (IT) automation software company based in Portland, Oregon.

In 2005, Puppet was founded by former CEO Luke Kanies.[citation needed] On Jan. 29, 2019 Yvonne Wassenaar replaced Sanjay Mirchandani as CEO. Wassenaar has held key leadership positions at Airware, New Relic and VMware.

In February 2011 Puppet released its first commercial product, Puppet Enterprise, built on the open-source base and providing commercial users with improved usability as well as some commercial components.[16] In September 2011, the company released Puppet Enterprise 2.0, which introduced integration with MCollective, acquired by Puppet in 2010,[17] as well as provisioning for virtual machines directly on Amazon EC2 and VMware.[18] In June 2013, Puppet released Puppet Enterprise 3.0, which features a rewritten orchestration engine that will ease the automated rollout of changes across multiple sites and clouds.[19]

Puppet purchased the infrastructure automation Distelli in September 2017.[20] Puppet rebranded Distelli's VM Dashboard (a continuous integration / continuous delivery product) as Puppet Pipelines for Applications,[21] and K8S Dashboard as Puppet Pipelines for Containers.[22] The products were made generally available in October, 2017.[23]

Puppet released Puppet Discovery, a tool to discover and manipulate resources in hybrid networks, in May 2018.[24] It is Puppet's third stand-alone enterprise product.

In June of 2018 Puppet raised $42 million for a total of $150 million in funding. The round was led by Cisco and included Kleiner Perkins, True Ventures, EDBI, and VMware.[25]

Puppet partners and has technology integrations with VMware, Amazon Web Services, Cisco, OpenStack, Microsoft Azure, Eucalyptus, Rightscale, and Zenoss.[26]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Evolving Puppet for the Next 10 Years". Luke Kanies. 2014-09-23. Retrieved 2017-05-26.
  2. ^ Puppet Master License Agreement
  3. ^ Dehaan, MP. "Deploying Apache Tomcat Applications With Puppet". tomcatexpert.
  4. ^ Rao, Leena. "Cisco, Google Ventures, VMware Put $8.5M In Data Center Automation Startup Puppet Labs". TechCrunch.
  5. ^ Graner, Amber. "Puppet Labs Announces Puppet Enterprise".
  6. ^ "Puppet Frequently Asked Questions". Puppet Labs. Archived from the original on 20 March 2016. Retrieved 10 March 2010.
  7. ^ "Docs: PE 2.0 - Installing - System Requirements". Puppet.
  8. ^ "Puppet system requirements". Puppet.
  9. ^ "Evolving Puppet for the Next 10 Years". Luke Kanies. 2014-09-23. Retrieved 2017-05-26.
  10. ^ "Deploying Apache Tomcat Applications With Puppet". tomcatexpert.com. Retrieved 23 January 2015.
  11. ^ "Overview of Puppet's architecture — Documentation — Puppet". docs.puppet.com. Archived from the original on 2016-10-01. Retrieved 2016-09-14.
  12. ^ Krum, Hevelingen, Kero, Turnbull, McCune (9 December 2013). Pro Puppet. Apress. ISBN 978-1430260400.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  13. ^ https://puppet.com/docs/facter
  14. ^ a b "Company Overview of Puppet Labs, Inc". Bloomberg Businessweek.
  15. ^ "Puppet Enterprise". Puppet.
  16. ^ Kerner, Sean Michael. "Puppet Goes After Enterprise System Management". Enterprise Networking Planet.
  17. ^ Rao, Leena. "Data Center Automation Startup Puppet Labs Acquires OPen Source Project The Marionette Collective". TechCrunch.
  18. ^ Finley, Klint. "Puppet 2.0 Will Support Amazon EC2 and VMware Provisioning". Silicon Angle.
  19. ^ New Puppet tool beefs up orchestration automation for enterprise use — Tech News and Analysis. Gigaom.com (2013-06-25). Retrieved on 2013-12-09.
  20. ^ https://puppet.com/blog/welcome-distelli-to-puppet-family
  21. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2018-07-07. Retrieved 2018-07-07.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  22. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2018-07-07. Retrieved 2018-07-07.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  23. ^ https://puppet.com/blog/introducing-puppet-pipelines-and-puppet-container-registry
  24. ^ https://puppet.com/blog/announcing-puppet-discovery-general-availability
  25. ^ "Puppet raises $42M led by Cisco as its DevOps automation platform passes 40,000 businesses". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2019-03-22.
  26. ^ Rao, Leena. "Cisco, Google Ventures, VMware Put $8.5M in Data Center Automation Startup Puppet Labs". TechCrunch.

External links[edit]