Infrastructure automation lessons from Puppetize PDX

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Infrastructure is not a one-size-fits-all solution. In fact it lends itself to a level of creativity, and the most successful organizations incorporate learnings from their peers and those that have gone before them. Events like our user conference, Puppetize PDX, provide a forum for the Puppet community to exchange ideas and showcase best practices.

In this post, we’re sharing talks from our last user conference to highlight how a number of our customers use Puppet to perform, scale, and deliver value faster as they automate their infrastructure.

Perform(ance) runs with Puppet

Listen as Elizabeth Plumb, enterprise sales engineer at Datadog, walks users through the importance of associating Puppet runs with their environment’s performance. In her talk, “I Know What You Did Last Puppet Run,” she shares the benefits of visualizing infrastructure based on facts and how Datadog uses Puppet to surface metrics like average run time, resources skipped/failed/out of sync, and number of resources changed across the infrastructure. She shares “your entire company and systems are better for it.”

Putting configuration management best practices to work

Allee Clark, system reliability engineer at Oscar Health, takes the audience on a tour of configuration management best practices and showcases his journey through the migration of one Linux Kernel to the next. In this talk, he highlights adopting best practices to deliver value faster, the importance of defining a code review practice that works, evangelizing team collaboration, and to dog food your own work.

Managing at scale in a highly regulated industry

Alex Zbarcea, DevOps engineer III, walks through the patterns and lessons he and his team at Fannie Mae learned from managing a +10K node Puppet infrastructure in a highly regulated industry. In this talk, he discusses how principles of traditional supply chain (in manufacturing), helped scale when dealing with heterogeneous infrastructure (physical/VMs and cloud), multiple operating systems, package managers, services, and multiple teams with Puppet.

Using Puppet developer tools for effective acceptance testing

In this talk, TP Honey, principal engineer at Puppet, shows how Puppet developer tools like Litmus and PDK help eliminate the complexity of acceptance testing. He highlights five simple steps to acceptance testing for Puppet modules including: provisioning a system, installing a Puppet agent, installing the testing module, running the test, and tearing it down. He also focuses on customizability using Bolt with tasks, plans, and more.

Solving complex problems

In this talk, Corey Osman explains how to debug the Puppet language like never before with the Puppet Debugger, a Puppet application installed as a gem. He shows how to solve complex problems instantaneously and demonstrates the feedback loop the Puppet Debugger offers. From getting started, basic debugger commands, using Hiera for lookup calls, and how to break into your Puppet code to understand how it works, his talk is filled with a healthy balance of show and tell.

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