[CentOS] Spacewalk or Puppet?

Les Mikesell lesmikesell at gmail.com
Fri Nov 6 20:50:50 UTC 2009

nate wrote:
> It certainly was an interesting experience the first time
> deploying a data center from remote, we just had 1 really
> basic server config used to seed the rest of the network,
> everything done via remote management cards in the servers
> and remote installations over the WAN. With the exception of
> the network stuff which the network guy was on site for
> a couple of days to configure.
> I have 10x the equipment to manage and can still get things
> done faster than him. I could manage all of the network stuff
> too without much effort.

Network equipment is actually much simpler to deal with than computers 
because it is usually all controlled by a single text file.  For the 
initial setup and big changes where you can reboot, just start with a 
template, edit it with automated or manual tools, toss a copy into a 
version control system and tftp it into place.  And if you tftp it back 
after ever live change and toss in your version control it is easy to 
spot anything that has ever changed.   I just wish the changes were so 
easy to manage and track on hosts.

> If I spent some time I'm sure I could automate some nagios
> integration but forget about cacti, lost cause. Maybe OpenNMS at
> some point who knows.. At this time automating monitoring
> integration isn't a pressing issue. I spend more time writing
> custom scripts to query things in the most scalable way I can
> than we do adding new things to the monitoring stuff.
> Myself I am not holding my breath on any movement or product to
> come around and make managing systems especially cross platform
> simpler and cheaper. The task is just too complex. The biggest
> companies such as Amazon, Google, MS etc have all realized there
> is little point in even trying such a thing.

Nobody's going to buy Amazon, Google, or MS - and they probably aren't 
going to merge.  Most other companies are less sure about that.

> It would only benefit really small companies that are at a growth
> point where they don't have enough business to hire people to
> standardize on something(or have teams for each thing). And
> those companies can't afford the costs involved with some big
> new fancy tool to make their lives easier. The bug guys don't
> care since they have the teams and stuff to handle it.

What happens in the real world is that small companies build something 
complex that works, then are acquired by mid-sized companies that are 
contractually obligated to keep their many separate divisions working 
but would like to combine common functionality and the staff maintaining 
things.  A company like MS may be able to rip out all the Suns and just 
hope their replacement design works, but smaller companies can't get 
away with that and the mix of equipment has to co-exist for years - and 
their non-interoperable automation tools become extra arcane things to 
maintain separately.

> Though that won't stop companies from trying..the latest
> push of course is to the magical cloud where you only care about
> your apps no longer care about the infrastructure.

There is a certain appeal to vmware and the like that isolate your OS's 
from hardware differences.  But our applications tax the raw hardware 
capacity without adding any additional layers.

> Maybe someday that will work, I talked to a small company
> recently that is investing nearly $1M to in source their
> application from the cloud to their own gear(they have never
> hosted it themselves) because of issues with the cloud that
> they couldn't work around.

If you are using the full capacity of a machine, someone else isn't 
going to be able to sell it to you cheaper from a cloud - but it does 
make sense for tasks that are rare or need variable capacity.

> good talks though, the most interesting thread I've seen here
> in I don't know how long. Even though it was soooooooo off topic
> (from what the list is about anyways) :)

Well, if you are using Centos, you are probably running servers and not 
paying an outside vendor to support them so it's pretty likely that 
everyone here has the same problem.

    Les Mikesell
     lesmikesell at gmail.com

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