Updated March 27, 2023
Difference Between Saltstack and Ansible
The following article sets out the description of Saltstack vs Ansible. The open-source software for information technology automation that is driven by events is called Saltstack. The software is Python-based. It does remote task execution and configuration management. Thomas S Hatch developed Saltstack in March 2011. It works in most of operating systems, including OS X, Microsoft Windows, and UNIX.
The open-source tool for software provisioning and application deployment is called Ansible. It is written in Python, PowerShell, and Ruby. Ansible works in Linux, UNIX, MacOS, and Windows. It manages declarative language for system configuration. Michael DeHaan developed Ansible in February 2012. It uses a remote Power shell to do the tasks.
Head to Head Comparison Between Saltstack and Ansible (Infographics)
Below are the top 12 differences between Saltstack vs Ansible:
Key Difference Between Saltstack and Ansible
Let us discuss some of the major key differences between Saltstack vs Ansible:
- Saltstack has a configuration of multiple masters. If one master fails to work according to the expectation, other masters are connected by the list’s agents. This helps Saltstack to work continuously without any interruption. Ansible has a single active node called a primary instance. There is a secondary instance to do the task if the primary instance stops working.
- Compared to Saltstack, Ansible has good documentation so that users find it easy to work in Ansible. It is considered as easy to use configuration management tool world-wide. Also, Ansible is simple to understand. Saltstack also provides documentation for the users and has a good learning curve for the new users to find it simple with the tools.
- Saltstack is supported in Github, and Ansible is supported in Red Hat. Saltstack’s project is more referred to and the popular one in Github. This is also one of the biggest and most active projects in the community. The code repository of Ansible is open-sourced, and it is one of the most popular ones among the users in the Ansible community.
- Both Ansible and Saltstack release its’ new versions whenever a new update comes. Saltstack releases are based on dates for the version numbers. The current version is 2016.11.2, and the enterprise version is 5. While Ansible has its current version as 2.2.1 and the Tower version as 3.
- Saltstack has Python client API for its users who use open-source software. For Enterprise users, REST API is offered. Also, the REST API is offered in a limited version to open source users. While using Ansible, open source users have access to Python API. Tower users are offered a REST API that is well documented and used. This difference is due to the usage of different tools and the services offered.
- Saltstack integrates well with cloud providers, whereas Ansible integrates well with virtualization tools. Saltstack works with AWS, Microsoft Azure and Digital Ocean. Ansible works with VMware, Vagrant and other DevOps tools such as Github and others. This integration helps the tools to configure the tools and manage them well. Automation is also done easily.
Saltstack vs Ansible Comparison Table
Let’s discuss the top comparison between Saltstack vs Ansible:
|Saltstack is heavier with the software tools and the messaging data bus.||Ansible is relatively compared to lightweight, and hence it is easier to manage for the users.|
|The speed is more when compared to Ansible as it works with messaging data bus, and the information is passed promptly.||Ansible works slowly as it takes time to retrieve the information passed, and there are no message buses.|
|CSTAR score shows that there are many security flaws in Saltstack. The score is 646 in 950.||CSTAR score shows that there are less security flaws in Ansible when compared with Saltstack. The score is 759 in 950.|
|Saltstack is described as more flexible in data center automation. Also, this is scalable for many tasks.||Ansible is not flexible though it is simple to use. We cannot scale Ansible for different tasks.|
|Remote execution can be easily done in Saltstack. This is considered as the key function of this software.||Remote execution is not possible in Ansible. No arbitrary commands or remote hosts are used here for execution.|
|Agents are needed for the smooth functioning of Saltstack. The configuration is easy and manageable by the users.||Agents are not required for configuration management in Ansible. Self does the functions. The configuration is good and simple.|
|Plugin API’s are used in Saltstack so that the application is developed easily and made scalable to an extent. However, the applications are not easy to learn and understand.||No API’s are used and the applications developed are easy to learn and understand.|
|Backward compatibility is not possible in Saltstack, but it appears bloated. Also, the security offered is less when compared with Ansible.||Ansible is backwards compatible, and the tools help in making the application secure with the settings.|
|Saltstack is easy to install and will not take much time and space. The infrastructure is immutable, and the user has to follow the steps for installation.||Ansible is hard to install, and it takes lots of space for installation. The infrastructure is mutable based on the request of the user.|
|Saltstack works with windows, and no plugins are required for proper functioning. This makes users to choose Saltstack over Ansible.||Ansible works in a way that it does not properly work with Windows. We need to install plugins for smooth functioning.|
|Saltstack integrates with AWS, Scaleway, Stackstorm and many cloud providers. The tools are less when compared with Ansible. Servers used are more as the details stored there.||Tool integration is more when compared with Saltstack. Docker and Kubernetes, and DevOps tools are supported in Ansible. Amazon EC2 is also supported here.|
|Saltstack has less scripting and is mostly used to control the loads when more number of machines are used. Also, the software is customizable.||Ansible is a deployment tool with more of scripting as Shell and Python are used here. All the machines are coordinated into one working environment.|
Though Ansible and Saltstack are open sources, the services offered are not competitive enough when seen from an enterprise perspective. Hence, there is Saltstack Enterprise, and Ansible Tower provided with a cost so that they work to the enterprise expectation. Both are used for configuration management and IT automation.
This is a guide to Saltstack vs Ansible. Here we discuss the key differences with infographics and comparison table. You may also have a look at the following articles to learn more –