CBT Nuggets trainer Shawn Powers recently completed his new course on Puppet, a popular configuration management system in DevOps environments. Shawn’s Puppet Fundamentals course explains the initial setup and configuration of a Puppet implementation, along with multiple use case scenarios, giving learners the chance to apply all that they learn throughout the course in real-world production environments.
We asked Shawn all about his new course.
Q: Why should companies train their IT professionals in this technology? What value does it bring? DevOps tools like Puppet can provide multiple benefits to an organization. People often think of automation as the best use case scenario, but I think an important first step is to provide consistency in your existing (and future) infrastructure. Puppet can automate system updates, application rollouts, and keep your system up to date without ever touching the individual servers. Puppet is a time saver, but it can also save your butt by keeping up with security updates!
Q: From a student perspective, what did you keep in mind when creating this course? Puppet recently had a drastic change in how it’s installed and implemented. While the end result is better, and even easier to use, the changes make it confusing, especially for folks who either had previous experience with Puppet, or who look online for instructions on how to install and use it. In this course, I did all the research and head scratching in advance. It saves a lot of time for learners who just want to hear the real story, and learn the correct way from the start.
Q: Any out-of-the-box tips for students to get the most out of your course? Break your virtual lab setup. If you’re not breaking things, you’re not “playing” hard enough. Whenever I teach a subject, I try to make sure the concepts are fully covered, but I purposefully leave out lots of information. That way, you can learn and discover the various procedures that are useful and interesting for you. If we covered every possible command in Puppet, the course would take a month to complete, and it would be incredibly boring. I try really hard to use the “teach a man to fish” ideology in all my courses, and the Puppet Fundamentals course is no exception.
Q: What’s one real-world application someone can expect to use, thanks to this course? If nothing else, Puppet is a great way to make sure your favorite packages are installed and kept up to date. If you manage any number of servers, however, even taking one or two things from this course and implementing them into your environment will be invaluable. Even if you never plan to use Puppet to automate your entire infrastructure, using it in small ways can save tons of time.
Q: What was your favorite Nugget to create? I think the Nugget where we learn to use conditional statements inside our custom module was the most fun. Before that, we learn how to use Puppet in order to, well, use it. But with conditional statements, we finally use Puppet to solve problems. And that’s awesome.
Q: What’s the one thing you hope learners take away from this training? My hope is that with the “fundamentals” nature of this course, that Puppet isn’t intimidating at all by the end. Some of the best tools have steep learning curves, and if we can smooth that curve down together, Puppet becomes a potential arrow in our IT quiver. Heck, even if the only thing we discover in the learning process is that Puppet won’t do what we want it to do, that information is worth the learning process alone!