Puppet Enterprise 2019.4 now available

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I’m excited to announce the release of Puppet Enterprise 2019.4. This marks the second update of Puppet Enterprise since announcing our move to deliver new product features more frequently. The shift is emblematic of a common theme to meet our customers where they are and take them where they need to be.

We want to encourage our customers to follow our quarterly updates to get the most from their investment in Puppet Enterprise. These updates will continue to focus on helping customers manage their infrastructure at scale, with speed and security. With that said, I’m extremely proud of this release as it delivers a strong focus on enabling operators and administrators the ability to close more tickets and deploy more infrastructure by using the Bolt orchestration capabilities we’ve embedded into Puppet Enterprise.

Powerful tasks, easily shareable

We know that an enormous amount of time can be spent installing agents on machines, running quick package updates on a small number of hosts, rebooting servers, or cycling services on a bunch of boxes while you troubleshoot. With Puppet, teams have an agentless way to safely speed up the time spent running some of these mundane, yet important, jobs with tasks.

Running a task in Puppet Enterprise requires two steps. The first is to choose which task to run, the second is to select where you want to run it. In this release, it’s now easier for those new to running tasks to get started. By customizing the PQL queries, you can offer suggested queries for those just getting started, enabling an easy on-ramp to Puppet tasks.

Improved metadata for plans

Additionally, for automating more complicated workflows, or orchestrating jobs that have a specific order to follow, we introduced plans in our last major release. This made it easier to do things like patch multi-tier applications, provision new VMs, or other things that aren’t as simple as just running a few tasks. However, in our first iteration of plans you needed to know the specific parameters and values of each plan to make them work successfully.

With this release, we’ve added in-page documentation to provide users running plans with the information and parameters they need to make the plan succeed. Metadata in the console takes away the guesswork of what parameters to enter and what options are available to the user running a plan. Look for further improvements in this space as we continue to make plans an easier and more powerful way to orchestrate complex work with Puppet Enterprise.

Improved workflow for testing changes to tasks and plans

Customers need to automate things like patching servers or provisioning new VMs to save time and quickly respond to critical situations. We gave you tasks and plans to do that, however, we didn’t offer a super easy way for users to test their orchestration prior to running it in production. Prior to this update, you could only run tasks and plans from the PE console if you were running them in the “production” Puppet “environment,” so the only way to test those tasks and plans in a different “environment” was to do that via the CLI.

In this version of Puppet Enterprise we’ve made that better by enabling users to run tasks and plans against any environment, not just production.

Additional improvements

We’ve identified a number of small things we can do in order to continuously improve the user experience of the PE console, and when you add them up it makes a huge difference for users who spend time here and have to safely and quickly get things done. This is a theme you will see us continuing to work on going forward.

For this release we focused on four key elements to improve the user experience:

  • Overall page consistency
  • Breadcrumbs for better navigation
  • The ability to test the connections to new nodes prior to adding them to inventory
  • The ability to “run task” anywhere in the UI that you can “run puppet”

Going forward, you can expect to see a continued investment in the ease and consistency of the user experience. Additionally, we’d love your input and thoughts on the product specifically around these two areas:

  • Onboarding new users into Puppet Enterprise
  • Improvements to the Puppet Enterprise update/upgrade process

Please send me an email at jed@puppet.com.

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