Last week I was interviewed by Koen Vervloesem, for the Dutch “WebWereld” ICT news-site. The interview was about an important subject: automation in the datacenter. Many admins still manage an ever growing number of (virtual) servers by hand, or with a bare minimum of tools.
I’ve always wondered why most IT departments were the least automated of all in the organization. Server sprawl has become a serious problem for datacenter admins; the system/admin ratio is rising rapidly. And you still see lots of admins managing all these systems individually. This is where policy-based configuration management tools can be a huge help. If used properly, they increase quality of service and consistency across your datacenter.
Here are a couple of suggestions:
- Treat Unix/Linux configuration files as if they were source code.
- Behave like a developer; use a version control system like Subversion, Git or even RCS.
- Invest in getting to know configuration management tools like Cfengine, Puppet or Chef (whichever works for you).
You can read his write-up of the interview here (in Dutch, of course).