Pragmatic Puppet

Author: Kees Meijs

System administrators, or "sysadmins", have a long tradition of writing simple tools to help them get their work done faster, whether they work for a large organization maintaining hundreds or thousands of machines or they just maintain a couple of machines part time. Very little of this software ever gets published, though, which means very little of it is ever reused and very little of it ever develops into mature tools useful outside the organization that wrote it. This, combined with the fact that organizations rather than sysadmins usually retain the copyright for these tools, means that most sysadmins start from scratch at every new company, building ever-more-powerful systems based on ssh and a for loop or something similar.

Puppet has been developed to help the sysadmin community move to building and sharing mature tools that avoid the duplication of everyone solving the same problem. It does so in two ways:

-It provides a powerful framework to simplify the majority of the technical tasks that sysadmins need to perform
-The sysadmin work is written as code in Puppet's custom language which
is shareable just like any other code.

This means that your work as a sysadmin can get done much faster, because you can have Puppet handle most or all of the details, and you can download code from other sysadmins to help you get done even faster. The majority of Puppet implementations use at least one or two modules developed by someone else, and there are already tens of recipes available in Puppet's Recipes.

For more information on Puppet, please visit