People & Software

My ramblings on people using software

Review of the Book Mastering Puppet

books, devops, learning, puppet

Review of the book ‘Mastering puppet’

I’ve had the privilege of reviewing a new Puppet book. The book is called ‘Mastering Puppet’ and it is published by Packt publishing and written by Thomas Uphill.

Structure of the book

The book is 251 pages that contain the following ten chapters:

  • Dealing with Load/Scale
  • Organizing Your Nodes and Data
  • Git and Environments
  • Public Modules
  • Custom Facts and Modules
  • Custom Types
  • Reporting and Orchestration
  • Exported Resources
  • Roles and Profiles
  • Troubleshooting

Learning style

All chapters contain lots of commands and screen output. This way you are taken through the commands needed to get the job done. Some people like this. Personally when I read the term “Mastering” in a book title, I expect the book to be a book written for people who are almost master. I find this book more of a Puppet cookbook than a book that explains the mastery details of Puppet.

Almost from the start of the chapter, it dives into the details and commands needed to get the job done. This without showing the big picture.

Book content

Most of the chapters in the book address existing challenges for using Puppet in big enterprise environments. Chapter 1 discusses how to scale puppet servers. Given the fact that Puppetlabs just announces a much better performing puppet server, shows that this used to be a real challenge. But it is uncertain if the tips and tricks in this chapter are still needed and if they still work.

I would have liked the chapter on roles and profiles to be a bit more elusive. I think that getting the roles and profiles right, helps big to keep enterprise environments manageable in puppet. The chapter in the book just scratches the surface and leaves a lot of important stuff to be discovered.

Same thing applies to the chapter on custom types. The chapter deals mostly with defined types and a small part of the chapter is on custom types. Again personally I would’ve liked these chapters to be more extensive. If you want to know more about custom types, you can always get the book Puppet Types and Providers by Dan Bode and Nan Liu


Some of my comments are pretty harsh. This doesn’t mean the book isn’t useful. Like I said before, the book is more of a cookbook then a book explaining how to become a master at Puppet. But if you look at the book as a cookbook, it is a pretty extensive cookbook. A cookbook that takes the by the hand and guides it through a couple challenges of using Puppet in the enterprise.