Learning Kit

Intro to Bolt

Introduction

What is Bolt?

Bolt is a free, open-source, command-line tool for Linux, macOS, and Windows that lets you use a local computer to maintain your infrastructure by provisioning or managing remote computers.

Once you’ve installed Bolt on your local machine, you are ready to manage other machines on your network. Bolt does not need any extra software to be installed on the computers it manages. Although Bolt is written by the same people who develop Puppet, using Bolt does not require any knowledge of, or installation of, Puppet tools. And unless you want to use advanced Bolt features, you don’t need to know the Puppet language. We hope that success with Bolt will inspire you to learn more about Puppet’s products and language, because integrating Bolt with Puppet is the best way to unleash Bolt’s full power and flexibility.

Why should you care about Bolt?

Bolt helps you automate repetitive, error-prone, or time-consuming system administration chores, so you can get your work done faster and more enjoyably, with fewer errors and rework. If your company is moving toward—or has already fully embraced—DevOps as a strategy, Bolt can help you move along the DevOps path.

Being able to quickly and easily control remote machines from a single local machine saves you time and tedium. You don’t have to manually connect to each remote machine individually (either electronically or via sneaker-net). You don’t have to type the same commands over and over. And you don’t have to remember the order of complicated operations.

Bolt doesn’t care what operating systems you run: your local computer and the remote computers Bolt manages can run Linux, macOS, and Windows, in any combination.

Use Cases

Here are some of the common operations that Bolt can help with:

  • start and stop services
  • check the status of a device
  • apply security patches
  • install or update software packages
  • create users
  • reboot servers
  • gather package lists and system facts from your Linux, macOS, or Windows computers
  • delete or move log files
  • deploy new security certificates
  • verify configuration settings
  • automate runbacks for a variety of scenarios

Sharing Bolt automation

You can share Bolt automation with other Bolt users, and you can reuse Bolt solutions that have already been developed by other people in your organization or around the world. After all, odds are you’re not the only person with your set of system administration tasks.

The Puppet Forge serves as a clearinghouse for Bolt automation solutions. Add your own Bolt logic to the Forge, or search the Forge for other people’s Bolt solutions. It’s always free to use the Forge, whether you’re contributing to it, perusing it for ideas, or reusing entire Bolt solutions that were contributed by others.

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