SaltStack Review

It offers cross-platform Windows and Linux support. Windows support is ripe with issues that have added hours to our roadmap.

Valuable Features

Cross-platform Windows and Linux support: We run a Windows infrastructure within AWS with several key services deployed on Linux instances.

Improvements to My Organization

We have been able to integrate with AWS to deploy continuous delivery services with an extremely quick turnaround time. Salt lets us manage those instances, and control the deployment seamlessly.

Room for Improvement

Windows support and support in general: Getting responses to problems can take weeks or months in my experience. Windows support is advertised as a first-rate supported platform; however, it is ripe with issues that have added countless hours to our roadmap. Documentation is also severely lacking for much of the Windows platform support, and in many cases I have had to resort to third-party blogs and tutorials for resolving problems.

Use of Solution

I have used it for nine months.

Stability Issues

I have encountered stability issues with Windows support in AWS/EC2.

Scalability Issues

I have not encountered any scalability issues so far.

Customer Service and Technical Support

I rate technical support as 3/10. The only support we get is through the mailing list or through GitHub. They have offered a higher level of support for $20k, but we haven’t seen anything to indicate the value in doing that when the platform as a whole has issues that should have been tested before being deployed.

Previous Solutions

This organization I work for used Altiris before, but we switched to Salt to scale into AWS.

Initial Setup

Initial setup should have been straightforward; however, documentation issues and bugs in general caused this to take a very long time.

Pricing, Setup Cost and Licensing

The software is open source and free; however, things that should be tested for stability (like Windows support) are not fully vetted, and it’s unclear if a paid support offering would actually resolve those problems.

Other Solutions Considered

Before choosing this product, I evaluated Chef, Ansible, etc.

Other Advice

Don’t rely on the SaltStack documentation alone; use Google and other resources to find help, if you are not going for paid support. Windows support is lacking but you can overcome the issues with a bit of ingenuity.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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