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What is configuration management? Why would I want to use it with cloud provisioning of resources?


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    Configuration management has been around for a long time in web operations and systems administration. Yet the cultural popularity of it has been limited. Most systems administrators configure machines as software was developed before version control – that is manually making changes on servers. Each server can then and usually is slightly different. Troubleshooting though is straightforward as you login to the box and operate on it directly. Configuration management brings a large automation tool into the picture, managing servers like strings of a puppet. This forces standardization, best practices, and reproducibility as all configs are versioned and managed. It also introduces a new way of working which is the biggest hurdle to its adoption.

    Enter the cloud, and configuration management becomes even more critical. That’s because virtual servers such as amazons EC2 instances are much less reliable than physical ones. You absolutely need a mechanism to rebuild them as-is at any moment. This pushes best practices like automation, reproducibility and disaster recovery into center stage.

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