SaltStack Review

Configuration is text-based. You can use templates, and it is easily edited.


Valuable Features

  • Extensibility and flexibility
  • Open source
  • Active community

Also, the text-based configuration is very important to discern differences in version control. It also means it is easily configured with templates, and easily edited.

Improvements to My Organization

Salt lets you run commands on hundreds of servers at once; and sync up software, tools, and scripts across your infrastructure.

Room for Improvement

The flexibility can hurt sometimes, as there are so many ways to accomplish the same task. I don’t want to give the wrong impression; the flexibility helps more often than it hurts. However, when there are multiple choices to a complex software problem, one can make mistakes, and with a configuration management system, a mistake can get pushed to an entire infrastructure automatically.

Use of Solution

I have used it for one year.

Stability Issues

Salt has been remarkably stable, and it is simple to send metrics to an external source like Elasticsearch.

Scalability Issues

I haven’t had any scaling issues.

Customer Service and Technical Support

I would rate technical support very high. Personally, I have posted issues to GitHub that have been responded to the same day or the next day, and closed within a week.

Previous Solutions

This was our first foray into the configuration management space. Previously, it was a bunch of PowerShell scripts.

Initial Setup

Salt has a very straightforward installation.

Pricing, Setup Cost and Licensing

Salt is free.

Other Solutions Considered

Before choosing this product, we were looking at PowerShell DSC, because we were all PowerShell anyway. It was too unpolished; did not seem to fit properly with what we had in mind.

Other Advice

Have a good plan about how you are going to target your infrastructure; a solid naming convention helps a lot.

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