When comparing GitLab vs Puppet, the Slant community recommends GitLab for most people. In the question“What are the best DevOps tools?” GitLab is ranked 4th while Puppet is ranked 9th. The most important reason people chose GitLab is:
GitLab is a free and open source project licensed under MIT. Source code for Enterprise Edition can be found [here](https://gitlab.com/gitlab-org/gitlab-ee) and Community Edition [here](https://gitlab.com/gitlab-org/gitlab-ce).
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Pro Regular updates
GitLab is being constantly worked on and has a new release every month on the 22nd. Updating is also very easy through a single apt-get command.
Pro Good web UI
GitLab's UI is clean and intuitive. Each view is designed to not fill the screen with useless information.
It displays the activity in a feed-type way in the most prominent part of the view. On top of that, there's a toolbar with buttons which can filter this feed by pushes, merge events or comments.
On the left, there's a menu that displays all the links that take you to the different views. For example, a file directory which displays all the files in that repo, a commit view which displays all the commits in cronological order, a network and a graph view that display important information graphically etc...
All these details make GitLab's UI extremely intuitive and easy to use, no view is overflown with information and every view displays only the most useful and crucial information needed at that time.
Pro Has wikis and pages
Wiki and pages support out of the box.
Pro Supports pull requests
Has pull request (AKA, merge request) support.
Pro Comes with integrated CI/CD solution
GitLab CI makes it easy to set up CI and deployment for projects in GitLab. It supports parallel testing, multiple platforms, Docker containers and streaming build logs.
Pro Easy to install with the packages
With the packages available here, GitLab can be installed in two minutes.
Pro Support for protected branches
A protected master branch means that no code can be merged to master without passing a code review by an authorised developer. With GitLab this comes out of the box.
Pro Permissions and roles are supported
It has private/public repositories, roles for users (master, developer, reporter, guest). All of these can be set from the user interface. Same permissions set for the UI work for the SSH as well.
Pro Issue tracking support
Has issue tracking out of the box. Creating tickets, commenting on issues, closing issues etc... It's all there out of the box.
Pro Integrates fully with LDAP
The Lightweight Directory Access Protocol is an application protocol for accessing and maintaining distributed directory information services over an Internet Protocol (IP) network.
GitLab EE adds additional functionality over CE such as support for multiple LDAP servers and group sync.
Pro Supports Approvers/Reviewers of Pull/Merge requests
Since 7.12 you can define a minimum number of approvers for merge requests.
Pro "Snippets" support
Snippets are similar to (well-known) GitHub "gists". They are a way to share code or have conversations about anything without needing a full git repo. The implementation here reminds more of a sort of pastebin.
A single instance can handle up to 40,000 users (requires a server with 64 core CPU and 64 GB of RAM) and it can run on multiple application servers to grow beyond that.
Pro Manages large files and binaries with integrated Git Annex
Git Annex enables Git to manage large files (esp binaries) without checking them into Git.
Pro Integrates with other systems by webhooks
Integrates out of the box with services like Bugzilla, Pushbullet, Microsoft Team Notification and many more - one can also add own webhooks to integrate with own services.
Pro Most GitLab EE features become part of GitLab CE after time
EE is the commercial Enterprise Edition, CE is the free and OpenScource Community Edition. Features such as Cycle Analytics were first a part of the EE and are now also available in CE.
Pro Can provide a Docker registry
The default docker.io registry is the docker hub but you can also login to other docker registries. And GitLab provides one for all Repos that make use of this feature.
Pro Integration with third party applications
GitLab integrates with multiple third-party services to allow external issue trackers and external authentication.
GitLab can integrate with many third-party apps to allow external issue tracking and authentication. It can also be integrated with several services, such as:
- Pivotal Tracker
Pro Very feature rich RESTful-API
GitLab exposes a REST API that allows automation possible, like PR bots.
Pro Allows Timetracking with Cycle-Analytics
Very useful project management feature that allows you to know how long it takes to go from the idea to production.
Pro Declarative sematic
You define the state the server should be in and Puppet transforms it that state. This is opposed to explicitly declaring a list of actions to be performed.
If a developer wants more flexibility and control there's always the option of falling back to explicitly running commands but that's discouraged.
Pro Broad cross-platform support
Puppet is supported on a wide range of operating systems. See the Docs for a complete list.
Pro Large helpful community
Puppet is very mature and relatively old. This means that it has gathered quite a following over the years. This large community means that there are a lot of modules, guides and configuration recipes ready to use built by the community.
Puppet is a complete solution in terms of available features and modules. It has full support for all the main Operating Systems and provides lots of tools for its users.
Pro Exceptional enterprise support
Puppet Enterprise is used by 75 of the fortune 100 companies.
Pro All-in-one Package since version 4
With Facter, Collective and Hiera.
Pro Helpful UI
Puppet's UI is very useful. It allows real-time control of managed nodes by using modules and configuration recipes that are on the master servers. Although the UI is great for management, it lacks when trying to configure modules.
Pro Easy to learn
Puppet is model-driven and easier for diverse teams (that may include non-devs) to learn than it's main competitor, Chef.
Pro Can enforce policy even without a connection to the puppet master
With cached catalogs, puppet agents can continue to enforce policy even while your masters aren't functional
Con Not lightweight
GitLab is demanding, Gitea is a much more lightweight solution which uses less CPU and memory.
Con Not all features are free
GitLab's Service Desk features and some more are only available in GitLab EE.
Con Kind of slow
Con The upgrade process fails more often than not
Even for minor versions such as 9.2.0 to 9.3.0. Sometimes the upgrade failure is silent and only seen when logging in first time after update and an http 502 error is given.
Con Requires at least 1GB of RAM
The default installation is meant for already many users and recommends 2GB of RAM. 1GB is possible but results in some HTTP 500 errors. On a Raspberry Pi 2 it runs fine most of the time, though it eats 75% of the RAM.
Another option is to reduce
unicorn['worker_processes'] in gitlab.rb.
Con Bad code review possibilities
No precommit reviews.
Con Security risks
Con Poor training materials
The puppet documentation does not contain any proper tutorials to help new users on board easily.
Con Interaction between modules can get quite complex very fast
Due to it's out of order execution you can easily get into race condition between different modules. You have to be very careful declaring pre-requisites for the tasks so they don't step on top of each other. On the other hand when you get this lets you deploy things much faster than straight line execution tools
Con Lacks flexibility
The lack of control over Puppet's model-driven approach can result in less flexibility and power from the tool.
Con Solid knowledge of Ruby is needed to create your own modules
Modules and configurations are written in a specific language based on Ruby or in Ruby itself. So in order to be able to create custom configuration and modules you need a solid knowledge of Ruby.
Although it's fair to mention that there are many modules already available for every use-case.
Con Requires culture shifts
You might find difficulty adopting puppet due to the effort involved in convincing admins to switch from procedural automation to desired state automation.
Con Does not enforce policy when the puppetmaster is offline
Does not enforce policy when the puppetmaster is offline, does have a caching mechanism but since it does not include any files that need to be transfer it basically does not work
Con Slow as hell
Compared with other CM tools it's very slow and needs to do a lot of caching to give it the impression that it's fast (which it's not)
Con Syntax is a mess
To use puppet to the full extent you need to know the following tools; most of them are an integral part of puppet, Ruby, Ruby templates, puppet DSL, Hiera, Facter and Mcollective which all have a different syntax