Inspector Gadget

Puppet Enterprise 3.1 goes live with nifty new event reporting tool

Lucy Carey

JAXenter catches up with Puppet’s Brian Stein and pokes its head under the hood of Puppet Enterprise 3.1

DevOps tool Puppet continues to pique user interest, with
job postings with the keyword ‘Puppet’
spiking 66%
in the last year alone. Following the release of
Puppet Enterprise 3.1, we chatted to VP of engineering for Puppet
Labs, Brian Stein to find out how sysadmins can benefit from the
new retoolings, more details on their recent VMware collaboration,
and what’s in store for Puppet in the future.

JAXenter: What new features are involved in the
latest release of Puppet Enterprise? What are the most disruptive
for the Puppet community?

Stein: With the release of
Puppet Enterprise 3.1, we aimed to double-down on the promises we
made with Puppet Enterprise 3.0 by making management of complex IT
infrastructure easier, more fluid and more agile. Specifically,
Puppet Enterprise 3.1 introduces several new features aimed at
helping sysadmins gain a complete and detailed view of their
company’s IT infrastructure.

For instance, the Puppet Enterprise event
inspector is a new reporting tool that allows sysadmins to
interactively inspect change events in multiple ways, providing
instant, actionable insight to troubleshoot and resolve

Other features include advanced capabilities for
power users, offering support for rebooting Windows after package
installation, and discoverable and configurable classes and
parameters from within the Puppet Enterprise GUI console. Building
on Puppet Labs’ commitment of support for platforms critical to
enterprise IT, Puppet Enterprise 3.1 now supports Google Compute
Engine and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4.0. Puppet Enterprise already
supports RHEL 5.0 and 6.0, Microsoft Windows, AIX, Solaris, Debian,
Ubuntu and many more.

What was the primary motivation for the latest
release of Puppet Enterprise?

In our effort to help systems administrators
manage the growing scale and complexity of IT infrastructure, we
wanted to provide them with an easy-to-use tool that offered
actionable insight into the changes occurring within their
infrastructure environments.

In diagnosing service degradations, sysadmins
typically sifts their way through mountains of data, log files and
ad hoc scripts, trying to figure out what changed, where, and how.
Puppet Enterprise 3.1 aims to make their lives a little easier by
helping operations teams quickly and efficiently understand the
impact of changes on service levels.

Could you tell us about the event inspector
tool in greater detail? How does it work? Who will benefit from it
the most?

Puppet Enterprise’s data warehouse service,
PuppetDB, collects and logs every change to every resource on every
node. Even in environments of moderate scale, this could represent
millions of data points.

The event inspector is a visual, interactive
reporting tool that organizes and presents this data residing in
PuppetDB. It is able to sort vast amounts of change data along
multiple dimensions – what changed, where the change occurred, and
how the change happened. In addition, it can “zoom out” to provide
a summary of all changes across the environment, and “zoom in” to
examine a single change that occurred to a single

Sysadmins in IT operations teams responsible for
deploying and managing infrastructure will benefit the most from
event inspector’s capabilities. In today’s fast-paced IT
organizations, the never-ending deployment and updating of
applications are supported by an infrastructure that is similarly
constantly evolving. Event inspector will help sysadmins
responsible for this infrastructure stay on top of changes and
manage them more effectively, enabling higher sustainable rates of
change without any degradations in service levels.

Can you tell us more about the ongoing
collaboration between Puppet Labs and VMware? What are the best
ways to use VMware and Puppet Labs’ solutions

At VMworld EMEA last week we announced an
enhanced Puppet Enterprise integration with VMware’s vCloud
Automation Center 6.0. This integration with VMware’s private cloud
management platform enables sysadmins to deliver a self-service
portal of infrastructure and application provisioning for their
internal customers of IT services.

This integration complements other joint product
integrations between the companies, including Puppet Enterprise
integrations with VMware vSphere and VMware vCloud Hybrid Services,
VMware’s enterprise-ready public cloud service.

How does your product roadmap look through
2013 and beyond?

Our development focus over the next year
involves three major themes. First, we want to continue to build
and enhance the core platform. This involves reducing resource
requirements, making the overall system faster, and enhancing

Second, we want to make more progress toward
helping our customers achieve faster and more frequent releases of
their software, through greater ease of use and relevance for a
greater audience of people – not only system administrators, but
network administrators, network engineers, auditors and help desk

Lastly, we want to provide our customers with
more reusable content through the Puppet Forge, which is our online
repository of modules written by our community for open source
Puppet and Puppet Enterprise. By sharing and collaborating through
the Puppet Forge, the work our customers are doing today is
available for reuse by another customer tomorrow.


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