CentOS 7 – Configuration Management

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According to a study, most of the critical errors that occur in large IT systems are due to people and processes. Half of those errors are due to a lack of release synchronization, coordination between machines, and configuration management. Big machinery and infrastructure are way too hard to manage and maintain for any single team. Having an identical configuration set for every machine to make them all work in synchronization is a nightmare for management teams. For these reasons, we have a process called Configuration Management ( CM).

In this chapter, we are going to describe how to use the CM process to maintain and manage a CentOS 7 Linux server infrastructure. We are going to describe in brief some of the most common open source configuration management tools, with an example of setting up a management server with a client using Puppet.

Through this chapter, you are going to learn these topics:

  • Operating system configuration management
  • Open source configuration management tools
  • Installation and configuration of a Puppet server and client

Introducing configuration management

Configuration management is a process that helps organize multiple machines/systems so that they can coordinate with each other to perform one rather big process or run multiple redundant processes. It is widely used by military organizations to manage their systems, such as weapon systems, vehicles, and information systems. Outside the military, it is widely used in IT service management for big infrastructure handling.

There are still many IT organizations that work with old and traditional tools such as customized scripts (shell scripts, expect scripts, and so on) and manual process implementation to run repetitive tasks. We have well acknowledged the fact that those techniques are no longer effective, especially when used in large-scale infrastructures. Even for small infrastructures, it is hard to track and maintain them due to all-time configuration changes. All of this may have a direct impact on the reliability of the infrastructure itself, which may also affect the productivity of the organization.

Automated configuration management has put an end to manual scripting and configuration; it has also been used to perform other tasks that most system administrators do on a daily basis (system updates, firmware patch, release update and management, and so on).

For the new generation of system administrators, everything is automated. Most machines run on the same set of configurations, and a set of servers to manage them all. Everything is watched by monitoring tools. The job of a system administrator is to initialize their infrastructure’s basic configuration to start their configuration management server, set up clients if needed on other machines, and then start sending configurations to the clients to apply it. The configuration management server will act as the master of the Puppets and send them direct orders to follow for whatever their architecture or type of OS is.

Source: http://flylib.com/

For our case, we will be setting up a CentOS 7 server to control a CentOS 7 client using configuration management, where we are going to show you how manual configuration is time consuming and unreliable. Before that, we will be showing you a list of famous open source tools used for configuration management:

Source: http://www.axiossystems.it

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