Which Server Configuration Management Tool for Cloud Servers is Right? This Guide is For the New Who Only Heard About Chef, Puppet, Ansible. First, you need to learn some theories in short. We mentioned the word Cloud Server to indicate a virtual machine not a Physical Server. For the Physical Servers we have other ways of management which usually involves virtualization softwares or cloud computing software and backup strategy.
Function of a server Configuration Management Tool includes listing all of the installed software, the configuration of different hardwares, creating ideal models which can be used to quickly create new instance or restore to a predefined stage. In more easy words – they are kind of “undo” and “redo” systems.
Basic Theory on Configuration Management Tools
Software configuration management is a discipline of software engineering which involves the reproduction. Most often, it reproduction is not identically the same, but with incremental changes. Software configuration management is a sophisticated communication tool between the independent servers, contributing to the building of a centralized configuration management. The essential difference between a revision version control software and configuration management software is that it provides tools manage system changes and can match the requests with the changes made to the system. In easy word – we could use one server with git installed and monitor another server’s all the files and take changes. That would work as a backup and also could monitor. However, that is too basic way for our actual intention. There are goals of software configuration management (SCM) tools :
- Configuration identification
- Configuration control
- Configuration status accounting
- Configuration auditing
- Build management
- Process management
- Environment management
- Teamwork management
- Defect tracking
Server Configuration Management Tool for the Cloud Servers
Not all tools have the same feature set or goal. Among the few hundreds of Configuration Management Tools on this earth, only few can be offered to you as option to judge.
Chef is a configuration management tool written in Ruby, and uses a pure Ruby DSL for writing configuration recipes. These recipes contain resources that should be put into the declared state. Chef can be used as a client–server tool, or used in solo mode. Chef is available as a free software and a paid product. It has the capability to install or create different modules which makes this one of the most used configuration management tool.
Puppet consists of a custom declarative language to describe system configuration, distributed using the client–server paradigm, and a library to realize the configuration. The resource abstraction layer enables administrators to describe the configuration in high-level terms, such as users, services and packages. Puppet will then ensure the server’s state matches the description. Puppet started out as a DevOps tool, but has become popular as a configuration management tool as well. It is often compared with Chef, as it is also written in Ruby and available both as free software and paid version. Difference is that, Puppet’s main features are in its paid enterprise version. You may check the options for free version.
Combines multi-node deployment, ad-hoc task execution, and configuration management in one package. Manages nodes over SSH and requires python to be installed on them. Modules work over JSON and standard output and can be written in any language. Uses YAML to express reusable descriptions of systems. It is also an open source software but this not a complicated program. A paid version with more features is also available.
Salt started out as a tool for remote server management. As its usage has grown, it has gained a number of extended features, including a more comprehensive mechanism for host configuration. This is a relatively new feature facilitated through the Salt States component. With the traction that Salt has gotten in the last bit, the support for more features and platforms might continue to grow. Salt is a part of a larger application designed for enterprise-level operations.
Other 2 tools are Cobbler and CFEngine. CFEngine is one of the oldest configuration management systems available. CFEngine runs on C, as opposed to Puppet’s use of Ruby. CFEngine moved from focusing on a local data center to being more cloud-based. Vagrant needs mentioning. Vagrant is free software for creating and configuring virtual development environments. It is like a wrapper around virtualization software such as VirtualBox and configuration management software such as Chef, Salt and Puppet.