Puppet goes for more guidance in new enterprise release

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True to its promise to force the pace of Puppet Enterprise releases, the IT automation company now pushed 2019.3 into the open.

The focus of the release seems to have been on onboarding, since most changes look as if they’re meant to make using PE more intuitive. For one, admins now have a way of customising puppet query language queries. Likewise, Puppet task newbies can be presented with a selection of queries to make the first step of the running process easier. 

To help them not get lost, console pages have been fitted with breadcrumb links, showing users where in the interface they currently are.

Those deeper into the rabbit hole and already acquainted with the concept of plans, which was introduced in the last release, are now supported by in-page documentation in the Plan field, containing information on parameters and values needed to correctly use them.

Another improvement enterprise users will surely appreciate is the ability to run tasks and plans anywhere in the UI that also allows to “run puppet”. Prior to the new release, this was only an option via the CLI, while graphical interface lovers needed to stick to the production environment for running plans. The change should help to, for example, test changes without breaking anything live. 

Speaking of testing, users can now test connections for nodes and devices via the Inventory page before adding them to an inventory.

Under the hood, the Puppet team has upgraded from Java 8 to 11, which is why users who have customised Java services or integrated Java plugins are advised to test their installations before getting their production environment onto the new release. 

Meanwhile, accidental agent upgrades on managed nodes for those using a combination of Puppet 5 or 6 and Bolt should be prevented by an enforcement mechanism. And the rarely met breed of Puppet on Windows aficionados can now make use of an option to download a tarball of plug-ins from the master before the agent runs for the first time, to speed up agent installation on some cases.

In the coming months, the team behind Puppet Enterprise is said to keep improving on the plan feature, making it easier to use when automating more complex workflows. They also want to spend some more time fixing smaller things on the console which is thought to help admins and ops personnel to use the tool more efficiently.