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PuppetLabs Announces Deeper Integration with Microsoft Azure

by Carlos Sanchez on Apr 30, 2014 |

Following previous announcements on Puppet modules targeted to manage Windows and Linux machines running in the Microsoft Azure cloud platform, PuppetLabs, the company behind popular DevOps tool Puppet, has announced at the Microsoft Build Developer Conference new integration points for Windows and Azure users.

Azure users can now easily run Puppet Enterprise, PuppetLabs’ supported commercial product on top of Puppet and related open source tools, from the Azure Gallery, with a free trial available through May 31. Microsoft and PuppetLabs have made available a new VM template pre-configured with the latest version of Puppet Enterprise Master server that can be quickly launched from Azure Management Portal. To complete a typical Puppet environment, composed of a master server and a number of agents running in each of the VMs to be managed, these agents can now be installed from the Azure gallery into any Windows VM by using a new Puppet Enterprise Agent VM extension. With this integration Azure joins the growing list of cloud integrations provided by PuppetLabs, covering Amazon AWS or Google Cloud Engine.

Microsoft has also added PowerShell cmdlets to the Azure SDK for provisioning, enabling, and disabling the Puppet extension on Windows virtual machines from the command line, making the deployment of Puppet Enterprise agents to Windows VMs in Azure easier.

The addition of Puppet support complements recently launched Microsoft Azure Automation preview, a solution for those shops more keen to use Microsoft tools for automation. As Keith Mayer, evangelist at Microsoft, described,

Azure Automation provides an orchestration feature set for public cloud resources that is similar to what the Service Management Automation (SMA) engine provides for on-premises private cloud resources via the Windows Azure Pack and System Center 2012 R2 Orchestrator.

Along with the Azure news, Microsoft Open Technologies (MS Open Tech) has released a Puppet Visual Studio 2013 plugin to develop Puppet modules and publish them directly to the Puppet Forge, PuppetLabs repository of Puppet modules contributed by the community, where several Windows related modules are already available to manage Microsoft operating system features, from executing PowerShell commands or manage IIS to launch and manage Azure VMs, networks and SQL databases.

Josh Cooper, principal software developer at Puppet Labs, has told InfoQ,

We had over 70 Windows modules on the Forge with more than half of those coming from the community […] With this integration developers can now write Puppet modules using the same language their operations teams use and publish them directly to the Puppet Forge.

Chef, Puppet main contender in the next generation configuration management tools space, also provides integrations with Microsoft Azure to manage and provision VMs, although no plugin for Visual Studio as of today. With the recent Microsoft announcements, Puppet and Chef users will be able to easier manage multiple heterogeneous environments, both *nix and Windows operating systems, with the same tool.

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