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Comparison Of Chef And Puppet- The Configuration Management Tools


Chef and Puppet are the configuration management tools so are used in designing, deploying, configuring, and managing servers etc. Since both the tools are used for the same purpose, sometimes user gets confused in selecting one among them. This blog is written to compare the properties of both tools. Read the blog to know each of these tools and select the one that suits your requirement.

As per the requirement of your organization, there is a need for an environment and you can choose any one of them for configuration management. These tools can automate even multi-tier applications and are powerful enough to handle even the complex applications.

What is Chef?

The chef is a configuration management tool, providing a way to define infrastructure resources as a code. The user can manage the infrastructure through code rather than using a manual process. So, it is also called now programmable infrastructure. A domain-specific language, used by Chef is pure-Ruby, that is used to write system definition.

The chef can do the following automation tasks:

  • Application Deployment
  • Infrastructure Configuration
  • Network configuration management

Read More: Chef Interview Questions and Answers

What is Puppet?

Puppet is also a configuration management tool that can be used to configure, deploy and manage servers.

Following functions can be performed by the Puppet DevOps tool:

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  • Scaling-up and scaling-down of machines dynamically
  • To define distinct configuration for every host by continuously checking and confirming the status of required configuration on the host
  • To provide centralized control over all machines, so that if any changes are made in the configuration that can be easily propagated to all related machines

Read More: Puppet Interview Questions and Answers

Chef vs. Puppet - What are the key metrics?

Chef key metrics

  • The chef can be easily integrated with any cloud-based platform like Microsoft Azure, Amazon EC2, Internap, SoftLayer and Rackspace and configure even the new machines.
  • Chef has an active and smart community support that is growing rapidly.
  • Chef supports multiple platforms like AIX, RHEL/CentOS, Solaris, Ubuntu, and all Linux flavors.
  • Giants like Mozilla, Facebook, Xero, Expedia, Rackspace and many others are using Chef just due to its flexibility and maturity.

Puppet key metrics

  • Puppet server can run on any platform that has Ruby installed on it like Microsoft Windows Server, CentOS, Linux or Oracle Enterprise. Not only new OS, Puppet can also run on old OS.
  • Many Puppet developers are there as it is used by lots of people and many contributors are there for Puppet
  • Puppet has good documentation as it has a large wiki page that is managed by its users
  • Many companies are using Puppet like Google, Red Hat, Siemens, and others.
  • It has been deployed even in large infrastructures that have more than 5 thousand machines.

Apart from the above-mentioned key metric differences, there are many other differences between Chef and Puppet that we are going to discuss point by point in the next section of our article. Here you can read the details here if you want to compare both the tools of configuration management.

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Major Differences between Chef and Puppet

We can compare both tools based on the following points as mentioned below. Let us discuss all the facts in detail one by one. Difference Between Puppet and Chef


Let us compare Chef and Puppet based on their availability. Both tools are highly available that means that multiple instances of these servers are available so can be used by any number of clients. In case if at any time master server goes down, then another backup server will always be there to provide you access to your required information. Both of the tools handle the failure situation in the following ways:

  • In case if Chef server fails, then there is another backup server will be available that can replace primary server
  • In case of Puppet there the multi-master architecture is followed that mean when any master goes down, another master can immediately take its place.

Easy Setup

Installation or setting up of any tool is the basic requirement and sometimes can be trickier as well. Let's see how easy is the setup of both tools in the following points?

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  • Chef follows master-agent architecture in which Chef master runs on the master machine, while chef-client runs on each client machine. Another component workstation that contains the configuration of all client and master machines are tested and then pushed to central chef server. So, we in short setting up chef server and clients are not an easy task.
  • Puppet follows master-agent architecture in which Puppet server runs on the master machine and Puppet clients run as agents on each of the client machine. One other step in which certification signing is being done between both master and slave machines gets executed, so we can say that again Puppet setup process is not an easier one.


These tools can be differentiated based on management. If we follow management then Puppet and Chef follow pull configuration, in which all configuration is present on a central server from where it is pushed to the desired nodes, while if pull configuration is followed then in that case the configuration is pushed on the client machines. Mainly following configuration is followed in both tools:

  • As the configuration is managed by Ruby DSL, you must be a programmer to manage the Chef configuration. Here client pulls the server configuration and then set up the machine.
  • Puppet uses its own language to manage the configurations so it’s not easy to manage the machines. Here client pulls the configuration automatically from the server. Puppet is system oriented and remote execution is not that much immediate?


Both the tools are highly scalable. Scalable means you can add that much nodes as you require. Even if you can handle large infrastructure with these tools and for this, you only need to specify the IP address and hostname of the nodes, you can handle and configure as many nodes as much you require. So, for growing infrastructure, it is recommended to use these tools. So, we can say that these tools are highly scalable.

Configuration Language

Configuration Language for both the tools is different. Where Chef uses Ruby as DSL, so it has a deep learning curve and is quite developer oriented. In case of Puppet, It uses its own domain Specific Language that is not easy to learn, and Puppet cannot be used by general users.


Cost of both the tools is different. You need to pay an amount of $137 per node annually to use Chef and you can get everything that you need to build Chef Node. Puppet pricing ranges $112 per node annually, in which you will get standard support plan. You can also take the premium plan in which you will have to pay $199 yearly.

Some other key differences between Puppet and Chef

Puppet is a configuration management and IT automation software that can assist system administrators in managing infrastructure. Where Puppet tool is the product of Puppet Labs, so Chef tool is written in Ruby and Erlang and this is an Opscode lab product. Both the tools differ primarily in technology.

The chef is designed for cloud automation, so on the other hand Puppet technology or tool is designed just for simplicity. Puppet technology is defined to manage the complete lifecycle of the infrastructure along with aiding the system administrator. The tool is also available as open source and launched by Luke Kanies in 2005.

Puppet tool works on two basic approaches, one is Model-based approach and other is the declarative approach. Puppet has following features:

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  • The user can access latest Puppet versions freely
  • Its configuration is repeatable
  • As the tool is open source so is powerful, flexible and extensible
  • Normal or routine administrative tasks can be executed with flexibility

As far as Chef is concerned, then Chef is written in Ruby and Erlang languages and one can define infrastructure as a code. It can work on cloud and hybrid network. The chef can be accessed in two levels:

  • Open Source Chef: This version is free, and anyone can download it.
  • Enterprise Chef: To manage large-scale infrastructure this version of Chef is used.

Both Chef versions can be integrated with cloud and can support multiple environment support and text-based search capabilities. Chef follows no assumption model and one can automate and describe the complete processes of the infrastructure as a code that can become part of the agile process on later stages. The definitions are usually written in Ruby.

Puppet is a user application, so Chef is also a user application but can also become part of the application. In Puppet, the code can be executed on both the machines that are master and slave, while in case of Chef the code can only be executed on node machines. Ordered execution is somewhat supported in the Puppet while in Chef it is better supported. Server configuration is easier in Puppet while in case of Chef, server configuration is quite difficult.

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Final Words

With this blog, you must be sure of the major differences between Chef and Puppet. Now, it should be easy for you to decide which tool is best for your project at any instance. You can also use the combination of the tools whenever needed. To know more about the tools in-depth, join DevOps certification program at JanBask Training and become a most valuable DevOps resource like never before.

Read: Ultimate and Easy Ways About Jenkins Code Analysis To make you Successful

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