Ansible vs Salt – What’s the Difference? (Pros and Cons)

Ansible vs Salt – What’s the Difference? (Pros and Cons). Ansible is an IT automation tool. It is the ‘simple configuration management, task execution, application deployment and multi-node orchestration engine. The main advantages of Ansible are: simplicity and ease of use, whereas SaltStack is scalable, fast and flexible software for data automation. Although, SaltStack is a new tool in the field. Yet it is efficient, easy to use and scalable. Let’s see the details of these tools by following this article.

Shall we proceed with Ansible vs Salt – What’s the Difference? (Pros and Cons)?

What is Ansible?

Well Ansible is an open source IT automation platform. Automates configuration management, orchestrates application deployment and many other IT processes. Also with Ansible it also improves security and compliance and shares the easy automation process across your organization.

It does that by connecting the nodes and pushes out modules to them. And these modules help in the automation of the tasks. Without these modules, you would need to rely on ad doc commands and scripting is necessary to accomplish any task. These programs are stored in the resource model of the desired state system. And one can remove them once the task is finished.

Interestingly Ansible does not require any software for the work. Works by reading the information about the automation of the specific machine from the inventory. The inventory file is present by default. Yet you can create your inventory file and define the server you want to be managed by it.

Features of Ansible

1.    Efficient

It is an efficient automation software, most of the users have shown satisfaction after using the Ansible.

2.    Easy To Understand

Configuring and deploy of the infrastructure is easy with Ansible. It uses the YAML language, which is an English like language, which is easy to learn and understand.

3.    A Lot of Features

Also it is rich in features and these features helps to manage the operating system. For example it aids in setting up the IT infrastructure, servers, networks and all the other services quickly to save time.

4.    Reliable

This tool is reliable. It helps to write the program of the module; without any glitches and downside.

5.    Multiple Modules

Ansible has 750+ modules. And these modules are used to automate, configure, orchestrate and deploy the IT infrastructure. Along with the built-in structure, there are many other user-made modules.

6.    Agentless

Moreover Ansible does not require any agent software unlike other automation tools. Instead, it uses the SSH protocol to connect to the server. Usually, it works with python to use the module on client machines. The raw module is also available for the system that does not support python. It also works with the YAML language.

Pros of Ansible

  • Agentless. It does not require any software for automation.
  • Uses a simple language structure called the playbook.
  • Flexible tool that allows the use of user made modules.
  • Faster and easier to deploy and there is no need of custom security infrastructure.
  • Appropriate for managing the environment. It can be integrated from limited instances to thousands of instances.
  • Decentralized. It uses the existing OS credentials.
  • Efficient in managing the remote machines.

Cons of Ansible

  • Inadequate user interference. Because Ansible has strange user interference that does not work efficiently.
  • Doesn’t have any notion of the state. So, it does not track dependencies. Executes the sequential tasks and stops when after completing the work. Or when an error arrives.
  • In addition Ansible works efficiently for small to medium size enterprises. But it does not work well for large enterprises.

Next in this comparison article Ansible vs Salt – What’s the Difference? is to introduce SaltStack.

What is Salt?

Salt is a modern and simple approach to infrastructure management. The solution is scalable for your infrastructure. It manages thousands of servers in minutes. Additionally it makes communication faster, better and interruption free.

Also helps in the low potency and high speed communication. And for remote execution and data collection in the sysadmin environment(Python language).  Uses the push model for delivering the command and allows parallel execution of the instructions. Offers horizontal and vertical scaling.

The central purpose of the Salt is to provide configuration management, but it moves beyond configuration management in broad based command, remote execution and complex event processing.

Evidently Salt is a scalable application that handles over 10,000 minions under one master. There are known deployments where 35,000 minions are managed by a single master.

Features of Salt

1.    Flexible

The entire structure of the Salt is quite flexible. As it is composed of several layers of modules. It can follow all the popular management systems, such as agent and server, the server only, the agent only. And all the above in the same environment.

2.   Simplicity

With SaltStack it is easy to install and run. The architecture is robust and can work with a large number of people.

3.    Uses the Python

To keep the use of the Salt uncomplicated, the execution routine is in python. And the data of the execution is sent back to the server.

4.    Remote Setting

Most automation tools don’t allow the remote setting, but running the remote commands is easy with the SaltStack. It can execute thousands of systems in less than one second.

5.    Orchestration and Automation

Orchestration of Salt is central. The orchestration runner permits the admin to manage the activities of several machines from a central point. So Salt orchestration also controls the tasks of the minions.

To summarize Salt is a modern automation program. Its performance, speed, security and agility with the IT system helps to manage complex processes and tasks. For instance Salt uses the centralized repository to deliver the new servers and IT infrastructure. It includes the physical and virtual servers and the cloud servers.

Pros of Salt

  • Best for the high scalability and resilient workplace.
  • Straightforward to install and use.
  • Customer support is quite active and reliable. Online data is available that helps in troubleshooting problems.
  • YAML syntax across all the scripting tasks and python is the commonly used language that lowers the learning curve for beginners.
  • Open source and the editing is not much tricky. Also, it is one of the most economical automation solutions for enterprises.

Cons of Salt

  • The installation process might be challenging for the new users.
  • Web UI has limited features and capabilities.
  • It is not the best choice for the OSes.
  • The platform is new, so there is a need for improvement.

So what are the differences between Ansible vs Salt?

What are the Differences Between Ansible and Salt?

Single and Multiple Integrations

On one hand Ansible has only one integration called a node or the primary instance, yet a secondary instance is present to do tastes of the primary fails. But Salt has configurations of several masters. Several thousand minions work under one master. If one master fails to perform the initials tasks, the second master will be in charge.


Here SaltStack integrates well with the cloud providers. Whereas, Ansible works well with virtualization tools. Works efficiently with all the old and modern cloud based apps such as AWS, Microsoft Azure, Digital Ocean and many others. In addition Ansible works with VMware, Vagrants and another DevOps. These integrations assist Saltstack and Ansible in configuring the tools well and with the ease of automation.

Control Capabilities

Both the Ansible and SaltStack are widely tested. Both are robust IT automation platforms. Likewise both of the software have equal control capabilities. For example both work efficiently in an emergency to rule out what is happening.


Given that both have reliable online data and documentation. Overall Ansible has better documentation than Salt. So Ansible is considered an easy to configure and understand the tool.

Oppositely SaltStack has also  significant documentation. People say SaltStack is the most user friendly automation tool. Both apps are easy to understand, install and use. However, Ansible has better documentation.


Surely both Ansible and the Salt are free to open sources. With Ansible it has two plans depending on the amount of support. A yearly subscription without customer support will cost you $5.000, whereas a package with 24\7 support will cost you $14,000.

Though Salt pricing is also the same, but the specific packages are not present. The company offers the custom price depending upon the number of modes used and the amount of customer support provided.

Hosting Software

Hosting with Ansible is integrated with the Red Hat. While Salt is integrated with GitHub. Worth adding that Salt GitHub projects are most significant. Popularity actually goes to Ansible is an open source.

Capabilities for Automation

In this comparison also both have reliable capabilities for automation. However, the capabilities set of the Salt is more reliable. Because in the SaltStack we have different masters working with separate groups of minions. If one master stops working, the other will handle the position, without any interruptions. The Ansible has the second node if the primary node stops working.


Flexibility of Salt is described as the most flexible in data center automation. Scalable tool for most of the tasks, whereas Ansible is not flexible, yet it is simple to use and set up.  Remember that Ansible is not as scalable as Salt is. So here, Salt has won the point.

Remote Execution

Remote execution is super easy with the Salt. Is considered one of the most attractive features of this application. Remote execution is not possible on Ansible. No arbitrate commands or the remote hosts are used in Ansible for the remote execution.

Requirement of the Agent

Agent is required with Salt require for proper functioning, whereas Ansible is agentless. There is no need for agents for configuration management in Ansible. But the configuration is easier to understand in both apps.

That is it. Thank you reading Ansible vs Salt – What’s the Difference? (Pros and Cons).

Ansible vs Salt - What's the Difference? Conclusion

Both the automation tools, Ansible and Salt have come a long way since their launch. Now both open sources are offering the best automation tools and services. Any enterprises that would use either Ansible or the Salt will benefit massively. The choice of the platform depends upon the client. Mainly Ansible is the best for people who are looking for an agentless and lightweight automation solution. For others, who are looking for the application that  have different masters, Salt is best for them.

Take a look at our Ansible content here.

Avatar for Farhan Yousuf
Farhan Yousuf

I am a content writer with more than five years of experience in the field. I have written for a variety of industries, and I am highly interested in learning new things. I have a knack for writing engaging copy that captures the reader's attention. In my spare time, I like to read and travel.

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