DevOps and Cloud

Chef vs. Puppet vs. Ansible vs. Saltstack: A Complete Comparison

Summary: Chef, Puppet, Salt Stack, and Ansible are the top 4 DevOps Configuration Management tools. Choosing one over another can be a bit of a challenging task. No worries. This blog is all the best DevOps tools. Read to know their common points and differences. 

The Internet has a list of popular DevOps “configuration management tools.” These tools allow you to deploy, configure, and manage servers with great ease. These are simple to use and potent enough to automate complex multi-tier IT application environments.  The best four tools include Chef, Puppet, Ansible, to SaltStack. Choosing the right DevOps tool for your enterprise need and environments is a bit cumbersome. Therefore, if you are also looking for Chef vs. Puppet vs. Ansible vs. SaltStack, then your search ends here. It includes a briefing and comparison. Have a look: 

Introduction: Ansible, Chef, Puppet, and Saltstack


Ansible simplifies complicated orchestration and configuration management tasks. It is in Python language and allows users to script commands in YAML as a necessary programming paradigm. Ansible offers several push models to send command modules to nodes through SSH, which runs sequentially.


Puppet is a full-fledged configuration automation and deployment orchestration solution. It’s an open-source tool based on Ruby. For working, it counts on a customized Domain Scripting Language (DSL) nearer to JSON. It runs as a master-client setup and uses a model-driven approach. Large enterprises use it widely to automate sysadmins who spend ages configure, provision, troubleshoot, and maintain server operations.


SaltStack configuration tool relies on a master-client setup model or a non-centralized model. SaltStack is available in Python programming language and uses the push model for executing commands via SSH protocol. The platform also allows to group together clients and configuration templates to control the environment easily. It enables low-latency and high-speed communication for remote execution and data collection in sysadmin environments. 


The chef is an automation platform that provides an effective way to configure and manage infrastructure. The chef works on Ruby and DSL language for writing the configurations. Its architecture is like the Puppet master-agent model. It also uses a pull-based approach and an additional logical Chef workstation to control configurations from the master to agents. It provides a configuration in a Ruby DSL using a client-server architecture. 

A Glimpse on Tool Capabilities

Each DevOps tool has its own set of capabilities that makes it unique. Have a look-

Streamlined provisioningOrchestrationAutomation for CloudOpsInfrastructure automation
Configuration managementAutomated provisioningAutomation for ITOpsCloud automation
App deploymentRole-based access controlContinuous code integration and deploymentCompliance and security management
Automated workflow for Continuous DeliveryVisualization and reportingDevOps toolchain workflow automation with support for Puppet, Chef, Docker, Jenkins, and Git.Automated workflow for Continuous Delivery
Security and Compliance policy integrationConfiguration automationApplication monitoring and auto-healingChef-Server using RabbitMQ, AMQP protocol.
Simplified orchestrationCode and node managementOrchestrationAutomation for DevOps workflow

Chef vs. Puppet vs. Ansible vs. Saltstack: A Quick Comparison to Know the Differences

Every platform in the chef vs. puppet vs. ansible battle has a different approach towards automation and configuration management. It includes minimal input from developers and sysadmins. Have a quick overview of differences between Ansible, Chef, Saltstack, and Puppet based on different parameters -

  • Availability
  • Configuration Language
  • Setup and Installation
  • Ease of Management
  • Scalability
  • Interoperability
  • Pricing
  • Cloud Support
Configuration LanguageDSL (Ruby)DSL(PuppetDSL)YAML (Python)YAML (Python)
Setup and InstallationModerateModerateVery EasyModerate
Ease of ManagementToughToughEasyEasy
Cloud SupportAllAllAllAll

Final Words

It is tough to say which one is best over another.  Why? Because all these tools have a specific role. Their utilization depends entirely on configuration needs, support, and the convenience level to implement them. However, for better decision making, here is a tip: Choose Chef and Puppet as they are old and more established.  It makes them perfect for large enterprises that value maturity and stability over simplicity. Ansible and SaltStack are decent options for fast and simple solutions while working in environments that do not need support for quirky features.

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