Working in production today often means continuous deployments and an environment distributed all over the world. When your infrastructure is decentralized and cloud-based and you’re dealing with frequent deployments of largely identical services across largely identical servers, having a way to automate the configuration and maintenance of everything is a large boon. Deployment management tools and configuration management tools are designed for this purpose. They enable you to use recipes, playbooks, templates, or whatever terminology to simplify automation and orchestration across your environment to provide a standard, consistent deployment.
There are several considerations to keep in mind when choosing a tool in this space. One is the model for the tool. Some require a master-client model, which uses a centralized control point to communicate to distributed machines, while others can or do operate on a more local level. Another consideration is the makeup of your environment. Some tools are written in different languages and support for particular OSs or setups can vary. Making sure your tool of choice will mesh well with your environment and the particular skills of your team can save you a lot of headaches here.
|AnsibleWorks Ansible 1.3||Enterprise Chef 11.4||Puppet Enterprise 3.0||SaltStack Enterprise 0.17.0|
|Overall Score (100%)||8.2||8.3||9.0||8.0|
Which configuration management or deployment automation tool you use will depend on your needs and preferences for your environment. Chef and Puppet are some of the older, more established options, making them good for larger enterprises and environments that value maturity and stability over simplicity. Ansible and SaltStack are good options for those looking for fast and simple solutions while working in environments that don’t need support for quirky features or lots of OSs. Fabric is a good tool for smaller environments and those looking for a more low lift and entry level solution.