Puppet platform documentation for PE

Puppet Enterprise (PE) is built on the Puppet platform which has several components: Puppet, Puppet Server, Facter, Hiera, and PuppetDB. This page describes each of these platform components, and links to the component docs.


Puppet is the core of our configuration management platform. It consists of a programming language for describing desired system states, an agent that can enforce desired states, and several other tools and services.

Right now, you’re reading the PE manual; the Puppet reference manual is a separate section of our docs site. Once you’ve followed a link there, you can use the navigation sidebar to browse other sections of the manual.

Note: The Puppet manual has information about installing the open source release of Puppet. As a PE user, you should ignore those pages.
The following pages are good starting points for getting familiar with Puppet:
  • Most Puppet code should go in modules. We explain how modules work  here.
  • There are also guides to  installing modules and  publishing modules on the Forge.
  • As a PE user, you should use the code management features in PE to control your modules instead of installing by hand. See Managing and deploying Puppet code (in the PE manual) for more details.
Services and commands
Built-in resource types and functions
Important directories and files
  • Most of your Puppet content goes in environments. Find out more about environments  here.
  • The  codedir contains code and data and the  confdir contains config files. The  modulepath and the  main manifest both depend on the current environment.
  • The main config file for Puppet is /etc/puppetlabs/puppet/puppet.conf. Learn more about  Puppet’s settings, and  about puppet.conf itself.
  • There are also a bunch of other config files used for special purposes. Go to the  page about puppet.conf and check the navigation sidebar for a full list.

Puppet Server

Puppet Server is the JVM application that provides the core Puppet HTTPS services. Whenever Puppet agent checks in to request a configuration catalog for a node, it contacts Puppet Server.

For the most part, PE users don’t need to directly manage Puppet Server, and the Puppet reference manual (above) has all the important info about how Puppet Server evaluates the Puppet language and loads environments and modules. However, some users might need to access the  environment cache and  JRuby pool administrative APIs, and there’s lots of interesting background information in the rest of the Puppet Server docs.

Note: The Puppet Server manual has information about installing the open source release of Puppet Server. As a PE user, you should ignore those pages. Additionally, the Puppet Server config files in PE are managed with a built-in Puppet module; to change most settings, you should set the appropriate class parameters in the console.


Facter is a system profiling tool. Puppet agent uses it to send important system info to Puppet Server, which can access that info when compiling that node’s catalog.


Hiera is a hierarchical data lookup tool. You can use it to configure your Puppet classes.

Start with the  overview and use the navigation sidebar to get around.

Note: Hiera 5 is a backwards-compatible evolution of Hiera, which is built into Puppet. To provide some backwards-compatible features, it uses the classic Hiera 3 codebase. This means “Hiera” is still version 3.x, even though this Puppet Enterprise version uses Hiera 5.


PuppetDB collects the data Puppet generates, and offers a powerful query API for analyzing that data. It’s the foundation of the PE console, and you can also use the API to build your own applications.

If you’re interacting with PuppetDB directly, you’ll mostly be using the query API.

  • The query tutorial page walks you through the process of building and executing a query.
  • The query structure page explains the fundamentals of using the query API.
  • The cURL tips page has useful information about testing the API from the command line.
  • You can use the navigation sidebar to browse the rest of the query API docs.
Note: The PuppetDB manual has information about installing the open source release of PuppetDB. As a PE user, you should ignore those pages.