Puppet platform documentation for PE

Puppet Enterprise (PE) is built on the Puppet platform which has several components: Puppet, Puppet Server, Facter, Hiera, and PuppetDB. This page describes each of these platform components, and links to the component docs.


Puppet is the core of our configuration management platform. It consists of a programming language for describing desired system states, an agent that can enforce desired states, and several other tools and services.

Right now, you’re reading the PE manual; the Puppet reference manual is a separate section of our docs site. After you’ve followed a link there, you can use the navigation sidebar to browse other sections of the manual.

Note: The Puppet manual has information about installing the open source release of Puppet. As a PE user, ignore those pages.
The following pages are good starting points for getting familiar with Puppet:
  • Most Puppet code goes in modules. We explain how modules work here.
  • There are also guides to installing modules and publishing modules on the Forge.
  • Use the code management features included in PE to control your modules instead of installing by hand. See Managing and deploying Puppet code (in the PE manual) for more details.
Services and commands
Built-in resource types and functions
Important directories and files
  • Most of your Puppet content goes in environments. Find out more about environments here.
  • The codedir contains code and data and the confdir contains config files. The modulepath and the main manifest both depend on the current environment.
  • The main config file for Puppet is /etc/puppetlabs/puppet/puppet.conf. Learn more about Puppet’s settings, and about puppet.conf itself.
  • There are also a bunch of other config files used for special purposes. Go to the page about puppet.conf and check the navigation sidebar for a full list.

Puppet Server

Puppet Server is the JVM application that provides the core Puppet HTTPS services. Whenever Puppet agent checks in to request a configuration catalog for a node, it contacts Puppet Server.

For the most part, PE users don’t need to directly manage Puppet Server, and the Puppet reference manual (above) has all the important info about how Puppet Server evaluates the Puppet language and loads environments and modules. However, some users might need to access the environment cache and JRuby pool administrative APIs, and there’s lots of interesting background information in the rest of the Puppet Server docs.

Note: The Puppet Server manual has information about installing the open source release of Puppet Server. As a PE user, ignore those pages. Additionally, the Puppet Server config files in PE are managed with a built-in Puppet module; to change most settings, set the appropriate class parameters in the console.


Facter is a system profiling tool. Puppet agent uses it to send important system info to Puppet Server, which can access that info when compiling that node’s catalog.


Hiera is a hierarchical data lookup tool. You can use it to configure your Puppet classes.

Start with the overview and use the navigation sidebar to get around.

Note: Hiera 5 is a backwards-compatible evolution of Hiera, which is built into Puppet. To provide some backwards-compatible features, it uses the classic Hiera 3 codebase. This means “Hiera” is still version 3.x, even though this Puppet Enterprise version uses Hiera 5.


PuppetDB collects the data Puppet generates, and offers a powerful query API for analyzing that data. It’s the foundation of the PE console, and you can also use the API to build your own applications.

If you’re interacting with PuppetDB directly, you’ll mostly be using the query API.

Note: The PuppetDB manual has information about installing the open source release of PuppetDB. As a PE user, ignore those pages.