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Automation - deployment, management and cloning - what's cool?

Discussion in 'Business & Enterprise Computing' started by ewok85, Apr 18, 2016.

  1. ewok85

    ewok85 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2002
    Messages:
    8,097
    Location:
    Tokyo, Japan
    So I currently work for an MSP and we have many small businesses where things are pretty simple. I like to setup a small VM or repurpose a desktop PC and run basic monitoring software (OpenNMS, phpIPAM, Rancid, syslogging, etc) to have something I can go to for network management and tracking down problems.

    This has been noticed by management, and they want me to make something slightly more structured. I like the challenge, so I'm looking for a way to heavily automate this so I can hand it off when I leave the company.

    In my head I imagine this being a single device at each client site that has the same hardware and basic software for all sites. It would run the same basic FOSS stack of OpenNMS, phpIPAM, Rancid/Oxidised, syslog. Where possible each device will be put in a seperate network segment with just the required ports open. Each device will VPN back to an isolated server in our office for management. This part is easy, and its done.

    There are just so many tools out there now I'm feeling a little overwhelmed, so looking for some advice for the rest.

    Goal is to:

    1) Automate the initial setup (maybe just dd a standard image?)

    2) Automate the base configuration (puppet? install software, basic config)

    3) Backup/track the unique changes on each device

    4) Push out/manage changes to all devices at once (puppet again?)

    My current test environment is just a bunch of raspberry pi's - it's all I have on hand and they are low power and simple to work with. For actual testing once I have something working I'll be using something like Intel NUC and probably Ubuntu or Debian.
     
  2. Zedd02

    Zedd02 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2004
    Messages:
    1,131
    Location:
    Townsville
    What operating system are you going to be supporting, etc? If it's Windows, WDS and WSUS are both great additions to this pool. If it's Linux, PXE boot and go from there.

    Puppet/CHEF/SaltStack/(insert name here). The only problem is pick one and stick with it. Don't flop between three or four solutions. Pick one you like (or like the look of) and work with it until you succeed. Once again, if you're supporting Windows, also look at Powershell scripting. It's not perfect, but it can be made to do some very awesome things. For Linux, BASH scripting should be fine.

    This is where Puppet/CHEF/SaltStack/(insert name here) comes out to shine. All of these software packages will take care of this problem without a second thought. Provided they're properly configured, it's ridiculously easy to track this stuff. And, if you use them properly, you can get snapshots of each step in configuration of a certain device and have them stored historically.

    See above.
     
  3. OP
    OP
    ewok85

    ewok85 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2002
    Messages:
    8,097
    Location:
    Tokyo, Japan
    Cheers! It's only Linux for the clients.

    I guess I'll start with Puppet and have a play - there goes my free time :p
     
  4. lavi

    lavi Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2002
    Messages:
    4,008
    Location:
    Brisbane
    Ansible Tower if you can cope with YAML /thread
     
  5. knoted

    knoted Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    1,816
    Location:
    Brisbane
    Plus one for Ansible, which is free. Ansible Tower seems nice but is optional. Ansible seems to be the pick of the bunch for automating network devices. There is a bit of a learning curve, but it is really powerful. I've just about done piloting the migration of a very large DMVPN WAN using it.
     

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