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How Republic Polytechnic automates with Bolt and Puppet Enterprise

As a problem-based learning institution, Republic Polytechnic needs to be constantly updating its curriculum and toolsets to reflect the job market they prepare students to enter. Both what is taught and the technology used must reflect a dedication to staying current with dynamic industries.

Within the School of InfoComm, Republic Polytechnic was looking for a uniform, structured platform that offered:

  • simple adoption for technical support teams, instructors, and students
  • the ability to quickly deploy changes across desktops in labs
  • a simpler way to build and implement new environments for student learning

A combination of Puppet Enterprise and Bolt made that possible.

Bolt makes ad hoc daily work effortless

In order to prepare students for real-world scenarios, Republic Polytechnic’s School of InfoComm had to enable students to make mistakes they could learn from. Lots of mistakes.

In order to prepare the desktops students practiced on after each class day, IT tech support teams were manually cloning a golden VM on every desktop used, every day. The two-hour chore was exhausting, not to mention subject to manual error or misconfiguration.

With Bolt, cloning became unnecessary. Changes resetting computers to their original pre-class setups could be deployed instantly, now taking a total of 10 minutes a day.

Building new environments to deploy across desktops was an additional weekly chore requiring three to four hours per environment. Puppet Enterprise cut that time to five to 10 minutes.

“We were looking for something that would solve our problems. We were having to direct a lot of time toward configuring labs for our information communications students to practice in. Looking at what Puppet could do, the capabilities of what Puppet can do, made it quite a nice fit for our organization’s needs.” — Ivan Wee, Senior Lecturer, School of InfoComm

Simplifying DevOps adoption for students, instructors, and tech teams

Republic Polytechnic is teaching the DevOps practitioners of the future. The tool needed to be easy to adopt and a useful tool for teaching as well as an in-house solution.

Instructors started to use Puppet to teach DevOps at the same time that it was implemented across the institution by tech teams. Tech teams use Puppet Enterprise in combination with Bolt to reduce the strain on IT administrators, making it possible for tasks to be evenly distributed within tech teams.

“For us, Bolt’s low learning curve means that we can execute whatever scripts a team is using through Bolt, and then convert them into a Puppet task. Going forward, we don’t have to rely on system administrators or system engineers for those tasks because anyone with access to the PE console can do it. This makes a big difference for us and our capabilities.” — Kenny Hong, Assistant Manager, School of InfoComm

To learn more about how Republic Polytechnic uses Puppet Enterprise and Bolt, check out their case study.

Matthew Arout is a customer marketing manager at Puppet.