Foreman as a PE Console / Puppetboard replacement

I wonder if I just misunderstood something about foreman. The discussions, tutorials and how-to’s almost always revolve around provisioning. But is it a good idea, to use foreman for a replacement of Puppet Enterprise Console or Puppetboard?

Let me explain my situation:
In the past we had 2 puppet servers, one open source puppet server with puppetdb and puppetboard (65 Linux Nodes), and one Puppet Enterprise Server (140 Windows Nodes). Now we want only 1 Puppet Server for all Nodes.

  • The Windows Admins used the PE Console and TFS (Azure DevOps Server) for their manifests.
  • We Linux guys used Opensource Puppet, puppetdb, puppetserver and bolt with Gitlab and Puppetboard. Puppetboard was used mainly for its customizable puppetdb inventory view.

Now my questions:
Is it a good idea to use a puppetserver/puppetdb/foreman/bolt installation (all on the same host) as a replacement for PE Console and Puppetboard, even if I don’t use provisioning in Foreman?

These are my impressions so far:

  • Plus: Foreman has a “remote execute” functionality to run tasks on the nodes similar to the “run puppet” button in PE Console
  • Minus: Foreman seems not to have a puppetboard inventory-like thing that is easily customizable (displaying custom facts etc.), or I just did not find it :wink:


  • Plus: Inventory View is highly customizable with custom facts.
  • Minus: Has no remote execute functionality.

All tools try to solve the same problem but have a different focus.

I have not used PE for a long while so can not comment on it.

Foreman has the focus on managing the full lifecycle so configuration management / Puppet is only one step in this workflow. So it handles the preparation during provisioning. Than it can work as ENC with Parameter and Class handling focusing on this. It is also a report handler and tries to get most use out of report data. If you are using Bolt this is not covered yet as there is not Remote Execution provider for it.

Puppetboard focuses on visualizing the inventory, so it has some better views especially for drill-down, but no more features.

If you do not use provisioning and ENC there is perhaps no need for Foreman, but on the other side there is no decision required as you can integrate PuppetDB also in Foreman so node entries are managed and connect Puppetboard to the PuppetDB as well. Only problem is you will need to webservers as Foreman does not support additional Webapplications installed on it.