What automation software are you using?

uberguru

Member
Jun 7, 2013
196
5
18
I am here to ask about what people are using to automative repetitve system admin stuffs.
I have heard of chef, puppet but i have never used them and to be sincere with you..i have no idea what they do "exactly". So what automation software open source or not, are you using and what are you using them to do?

Thanks.
 

uberguru

Member
Jun 7, 2013
196
5
18
Specify your requirement and definition of "repetitive system admin stuffs". what are you trying to accomplish, what tasks are you trying to automate?
For now lets just say i am interested in seeing any type of automation tool/software used for system admin functions. Any one at all and what they are been used for. I just want to learn about what tools people are using and if i can find out about something new.

Well i if i can see something that can act just like a control panel but for a whole server host or have control over multiple VMs will be a great tool to know about. Also i have heard time and time again..about puppet and chef but i am about to start a test after i get the colo all setup in a few weeks.
 

LeoS

New Member
Jun 19, 2013
19
0
0
This is a very broad and varied subject..

As a long time sysadmin and an 'uberguru' yourself, why don't you post a bit of what you do and how you do them... then ppl can chime in with what they use in relation to your needs.
 
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Zuhkov

New Member
Dec 30, 2012
27
1
3
Texas
I'm not using much at the moment, but we have looked at using Puppet and Chef to do interrelated sets of configuration changes across our data center. Got exposed to a little vendor training (not as much as I would have liked).

My impressions: both very powerful, similar in capability, very different in approach to automation. Puppet seems to put a greater emphasis on state over change (the engine makes changes to affect or restore a state in a node or nodes you have specified). The DSL Puppet uses was easier for our non-developers (especially our operations people) to pick up. Chef seems to put a greater emphasis on change over state (you specify a set of changes you would like to make, the engine makes those changes, achieving your end state). Our developers found Chef's basis in Ruby easier to understand. I have oversimplified the state vs. change dichotomy, but I wanted to try and give you a flavor for how the two differ.

In terms of the vendors themselves, both are very easy to work with. Puppet has a lot to offer if you use their enterprise product. Sounds like you are focusing on the open source versions, so no real advantage there.

I agree with others. Figure out what it is you want to automate (not broadly, but with some specificity), figure out how much effort you are willing to expend to automate those tasks or functions, then evaluate your options. Neither Puppet nor Chef is an end-all be-all. They (and other automation tools) are part of a larger tool chain (for example: other CM tools, continuous integration tools, QA/testing tools, monitoring tools, even backup tools). The first question is not which tool but where in your tool chain you use them.

Oh, I have been hearing about another option in this area recently: Ansible. Sounds interesting, but I haven't had much time to read up on it.