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The Dawn of a New Age: From Salt-Cloud to Idem

In the dynamic, ever-evolving world of DevOps, tools must continually adapt to meet emerging challenges. Salt-Cloud, the time-tested cloud infrastructure management tool, has been instrumental in managing cloud environments. However, in this fast-paced domain, it has become clear that a more agile, pluggable, and community-driven tool is required to keep up with the pace of change. Enter Idem, the successor to Salt-Cloud.


Understanding the Evolution: Salt-Cloud and Idem

Salt-Cloud, despite being a stalwart for years, is becoming a challenge to maintain. Given its monolithic nature, contributing to Salt-Cloud is no small feat, slowing down the pace of improvements. Additionally, its testing suite is notably cumbersome, making contributions from the community a daunting task.


While Salt-Cloud will continue to exist in its current state, it's time to look towards its successor: Idem. Idem represents a transformative shift towards a distributed, plug-in based architecture that aligns with the pace and demands of modern DevOps. Nick Hughes, CEO of EITR Tech and early adopter of idem, did an excellent comparison of Salt Cloud and Idem Cloud in this video:


Idem: Built for Today, Ready for Tomorrow

Idem, based on Plugin Oriented Programming (POP), has been designed from its inception to be distributed and pluggable. Each part of Idem's cloud functionality is distributed across different projects, such as idem-aws, idem-gcp, and idem-azure, allowing for focused development, maintenance, and testing. This distributed architecture allows us to understand the popularity and necessity of each component, making prioritization more data-driven and accurate.


Idem also lowers the entry barrier for community contributions. Tests can be run against real and mocked environments, reducing the need for complex configurations. For those who wish to contribute features quickly, Idem's pluggable nature allows you to write your own plugins extending the core functionality, granting you immediate access to the features you need.


The Seamless Transition to Idem

The transition to Idem is designed to be seamless and easy. One of Idem's most powerful features, the "idem describe" command, allows you to effortlessly migrate your infrastructure states from Salt-Cloud to Idem, or even create new ones from scratch. With "idem describe", you can instantly visualize your cloud infrastructure as declarative states without manually crafting them.


Moreover, Idem's argbinding feature provides unmatched cross-cloud and multi-account power. Argbinding allows the output of one resource state to be used as input for another, enabling complex inter-dependencies and cross-cloud integrations.


Looking Ahead

Idem is the future of cloud infrastructure management, offering the power, pluggability, control, and extensibility that modern DevOps demands. In the pipeline is the integration of Salt, Heist, and Idem, enabling bootstrapping instances created with Idem using Salt. Once this integration, along with a few additional components, are in place, users will be able to migrate from Salt-Cloud to Idem effortlessly.


While Salt-Cloud isn't going away, it's time to embrace the future with Idem. It empowers you with instant cloud infrastructure management capabilities while granting you the freedom to extend it to meet your unique needs.


To experience the power of Idem, reach out on the #idem channel in the SaltStack Community Slack. Join us at #idem on IRC, or send me an email. To find my email, run a 'git blame' on any Idem repo. We look forward to seeing you leverage the power of Idem and contributing to its rapidly growing community.

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