SaltStack Review

Serves to automate state, execution, and remediation.

What is most valuable?

  • Bulk/Remote execution
  • Event/Reactor system
  • Configuration Management

These features serve as the most critical pieces for automating anything, not just state, but also execution and remediation.

I don’t want to build automation that just does a thing or two. I want to build automation that is intelligent, part of the fabric of our environment, and is somewhat self-sustaining. I think SaltStack can help me do this.

How has it helped my organization?

SaltStack provides the capability necessary to truly streamline our SDLC and environment management. From a high level, it allows coders to code, testers to test (automated testing too), and admins to admin in the most inter-connected and effective way possible.

What needs improvement?

  • Web UI
  • Maintenance of their code

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using this for three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There are some issues here and there, such as nuances with Windows and minions ‘falling asleep’, but its manageable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I did not encounter any issues with scalability.

How is customer service and technical support?

I would give technical support a rating of 8/10.

Which solutions did we use previously?

I was using more of a Frankenstein automation solution previously, and the reason for switching was the capability of SaltStack, performance, and ramp up time (ease of use).

How was the initial setup?

The setup was pretty straightforward. It took some time getting familiar with all the configuration options and playing around with pillars and grains. On the whole, it was relatively easy to get going.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I think they are going to have a tough time with the Enterprise licensing. So much can be done with the Open Source side, and especially for smaller shops. I personally think the pricing for Enterprise is hard to justify.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We looked at Chef, Ansible, and Puppet.

What other advice do I have?

Do it and take full advantage of its capability. Be creative and automate everything you can with it.

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