Published on 24 December 2014 by

I always enjoy the London Puppet Camps, since we have such an amazing and vibrant community of Puppet users there. A nice side benefit is that it gives me an excuse to visit our London office where I can hang out with some of the great people working in our second largest Puppet Labs office (we even have a couple of job openings in London).

We started the day with a Puppet Keynote from Gary Larizza, who is well-known for his blog about Puppet technologies where he manages to provide really useful information, but in a fun way. He talked about how using Puppet for automation and configuration management can make your life better. This is a great introductory talk if you are just getting started with Puppet and want to learn about the many components that make up Puppet and how the pieces fit together.

Gary is a tough act to follow, but Jon Topper from the The Scale Factory did a great job with his Getting Started with Puppet and Vagrant talk. He talked about the benefits and various ways to use Puppet and Vagrant together with quite a bit of demo material, which made for a nice, tangible, hands-on experience.

One of my favorite talks was about the benefits of Puppet in small infrastructures from Rachel Andrew of As a two person operation where she wears a lot of hats, Puppet made the sysadmin part of her job more reliable and less time consuming. I loved this talk, because we don't normally hear from people who aren't full-time sysadmins talking about how learning and using Puppet made their work so much easier. She also said some really lovely things about the Puppet community, and those are always nice to hear.

Up next, we had Julien Pivotto from Inuits talking about Augeas, swiss-knife resources for your puppet tree. He talked about "dependency hell" and how #packagingsucks as a lead-in to how Augeas can help with management of configuration files and so much more. He also covered some of the advantages, disadvantages and a few more advanced ideas.

In the "Can you upgrade to Puppet 4.x?" talk, Martin Alfke starts with some thoughts on why upgrading is important. Since there are so many changes to the language in Puppet 4, some of the things you've done in the past just aren't going to work, so Martin focused the talk on outlining those bad practices along with suggestions for better ways to accomplish the same thing in a way that will make it easier to upgrade. He also includes quite a few handy tips for testing that you can do before you upgrade.

Next up, we had a Puppet Demo from Steven Thwaites, Puppet Labs Technical Solutions Engineer, who showed us some of the various ways to use Puppet to perform common tasks.

I'm not sure if we just keep getting lucky, but the talks from Yelp employees at London Puppet Camps manage to be really useful and funny at the same time. Matt Carroll’s presentation was no exception. His talk was about keeping AWS in check with Puppet or "Managing cloud networking with Puppet with a healthy dose of trolling yourself on the side". He covered some AWS basics along with why they selected Puppet before diving into how they use it and some of the things they have learned along with way.

Our last talk of the day was "From Zero to Delivery in a Large Enterprise" with Alan Schwarzenberger and Chris Spence from Thomson Reuters. Their talk about using Puppet in a large enterprise was a great contrast to Rachel's earlier talk about using it in a small environment. Alan and Chris covered a lot of details about the reasons for using Puppet, along with exactly how they use Puppet and related technologies, like Hiera, at scale in a complex environment.

Thank you to Cisco for being a platinum sponsor. Keep in mind that our sponsors are what allow us to keep Puppet Camps affordable for attendees.

If you missed this Puppet Camp, you can get links to the presentations and view materials from other past Puppet Camps by visiting the Previous Puppet Camps section of the Puppet Camp page. If you are in London, you might also be interested in attending one of our monthly London Puppet User Group meetings.

If you are interested in attending a future Puppet Camp or speaking at a Puppet Camp, there are more upcoming camps in a variety of cities with more being scheduled soon. We’ll look forward to seeing you there!

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