Published on 22 September 2011 by

This morning at PuppetConf Luke Kanies, our founder & CEO, announced a major update of our commercial product, Puppet Enterprise 2.0. As with the first commercial release of Puppet in February this year, our goal behind Puppet Enterprise 2.0 (“PE 2.0”) is to give sysadmins powerful yet easy-to-use IT automation tools to deliver applications faster, manage infrastructure more efficiently, and get actionable insights. We’re obviously excited to see the release take shape and wanted to share the four major new capabilities, all built upon Puppet’s model-based configuration management platform.

First up is the new GUI. Before PE 2.0, in order to use Puppet sysadmins had to learn the Puppet DSL and CLI commands. Not hard, and certainly easier than the alternatives, but still something which stood between them and solving the problem at hand. The new GUI leapfrogs this and, immediately after install, allows them to quickly, visually discover and identify resources in their infrastructure, radically reducing time required to diagnose and solve problems.

Next there’s the new orchestration capability. When confronted with a critical update, such as patching a zero-day vulnerability, sysadmins often have to scramble, logging in to each node to investigate and remediate. With the new PE 2.0 GUI, sysadmins query the state of all infrastructure nodes in parallel. Then, with a single command, they can orchestrate simultaneous updates to all vulnerable nodes and receive one report of the aggregated results. This ability to graphically execute commands simultaneously on a handful of nodes — or an entire data center — provides sysadmins with a powerful, efficient tool for managing change.

And while changes are a fact of life in dynamic IT environments, the new compliance functionality in PE 2.0 helps sysadmins gain better insight into the nature of those changes. Again using the PE 2.0 GUI, sysadmins establish a baseline of the desired state of all infrastructure resources, whether actively managed by Puppet or not. Then, as the infrastructure evolves, they can visually track changes to this desired state, who made them, and when. In addition to supporting change management policies or the requests of auditors, this functionality allows sysadmins to identify resources needing active management, providing a path for gradual, incremental expansion of the automation footprint.

Rounding out the release is the new provisioning capability, initially for Amazon EC2 and VMware. It’s true that Puppet is already being used to configure and manage tens of thousands of nodes in both environments. However, given the agile nature of VM and cloud deployments, our customers were asking for a single command which would quickly create new, fully-configured VM or cloud infrastructure capacity. Not only does this capability reduce the friction of deploying to these environments, by leveraging existing configurations it also provides incremental return.

GUI, orchestration, compliance, provisioning. By integrating them together on our configuration management platform, our intent is for the whole to be greater than the sum of the parts. What this means is that sysadmins can incrementally grow their automation coverage at their own pace, starting as simple as managing a single file across tens of nodes and scaling to fully-automated private and public cloud infrastructures. And regardless of the degree of automation, each additional step enables sysadmins to deliver business results faster, with higher quality and more efficiency, than before.

But don’t take our word for it — try it yourself. Puppet Enterprise 2.0 will be generally available Friday, October 21, Update: new PE 2.0 availability date 11/14 due to security vulnerability. and you can configure and manage up to 10 nodes for free. Register here to receive an email with links to the tarball and docs once they ship.

Automate early and often,
— The Puppet Labs Team

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