Management of an IT Project, overseeing projects used in developing software, installing hardware, upgrading the network, cloud computing, rollouts of virtualization, management of information and installation of services of information technology (IT) is significantly facilitated by configuration management devices. Configuration tools are used to provide assistance in the administration of and proper management of servers and their daily maintenance throughout their lifecycle. These devices include Foreman’s smart proxy architecture, Puppet, Chef, Salt (Spinellis, 2012). Specifically, Foreman assists businesses in building higher business logic levels based on a solid foundation.
System control is a wider administration of an enterprise or systems distribution i.e. computer systems. In telecommunication, management of systems is highly influenced by the direction of the network. This notion implies that when the system is properly managed, the management of computer systems is also enhanced. Therefore, the main subject of the system control is generalized as application performance management technology. Maximum system management productivity can be achieved through correlation of events, automation of systems and predictive analysis. Notably, this efficiency can be accomplished through the use of Foreman. Significantly, a centralized management has a trade-off and time that relates directly to the size of business, the IT expertise staff, and the number of technologies used in the organization (Spinellis, 2012). Distinctively, a small business where ten computers are used for start-ups, more time is needed to learn the ways of using or implementing technology besides a manual management on each machine. On the same note, a larger company with thousands of computers will employ IT staff aware how to do automation of system management. Therefore, Foreman ensures appropriate management, provisioning, monitoring and configuring a computer system and hence is the most appropriate system configuration software. When used alongside Puppet, Chef, Ansible, Salt, Foreman’s small proxy architecture can ease quick deploying of application and automation of the repetitive tasks. Furthermore, changes can be managed proactively, both in the cloud and on premises with bare metals and VMs.
Puppet is a primary management tool used in the configuration of applications for computers. Specificity, this software runs on many Unix-like systems. It also runs on the Microsoft Windows and comprises Puppet’s declarative language used in the description of the system configuration. Originally, the producer of Puppet software is Puppet which was discovered by Luke Kanies in 2005 (KOSMIN, 2012). This system is written in Ruby, and it produces free software under the umbrella of General Public License (GNU) unit version 2.7.0. It also operates under Apache License 2.0.
Declaratively, Puppet is specifically designed to control the configuration of Unix-like and Microsoft Windows systems. They enable to describe the resources of systems adequately. The systems’ state is also characterized by the utilization of the Puppet’s declarative language. Likewise, Ruby DSL can also be used to describe the same. In this regards, the information is stored in Puppet manifest files which are key storage data (KOSMIN, 2012). Considerably, the systems’ data is discovered through the Factor, which is the primary utility in this software system. Puppet manifests are hence, compiled into specific system catalogs that contain resources and their dependencies which are commonly applied to oppose the operations while ensuring the flat configuration of the systems. Notably, every action that the Puppet takes is reported to the system administrator. Puppet uses its custom declarative language that describes the configuration (KOSMIN, 2012). This description can be applied directly to the system. They can also be compiled in catalogs and then distributed to the desired system through a customer-server paradigm by the use of the REST API. Notably, Puppet uses specific language, and always follows customer-server architecture.
Chef is also a configuration tool, primarily written in Erlang and Ruby. For writing the recipe or procedures of conjugating systems, Chef uses pure-Ruby language which is domain-specified. Distinctively, Chef can automatically be used to improvise and configure new machines when they are integrated with cloud-based platforms i.e. Softlayer, OpenStack, the Google Cloud Platform, Amazon EC2, Internap, Rackspace and the Microsoft Azure. Significantly, Chef, as a configurative software can provide solutions to both small and large-scale systems. Chef possesses this potentiality due to useful features. A standard feature of Chef is the ‘recipe’ that describes the management of server applications and utilities like MySQL, Hadoop and Apache HTTP, as well as their configuration procedures. The recipe can be grouped together to form a ‘cookbook’ to ease the system management. Besides, the method also describes a set of resources on a given state. By so doing, they state explicitly the specific packages that require installment, highlighting servers to be operated and files to be written. By configuring these resources to specific software versions, a proper installation of the software is ensured. In general, Chef provides that every resource is efficiently configured by correcting any resource which is not in the required state. Notably, Chef runs in server/client mode (Spinellis, 2012). It can also operate in a standalone configuration referred to as ‘chef-solo’. While on the server/client mode, the client of a Chef can send many attributes to the Chef server about the node. Considerably, the server then uses Solr in the indexing of the attributes and in the provision of API for the customers to query this data. A lot of advancement has taken place in the use of Chef. Initially, it was employed to manage Linux only. However, the recently produced version is capable of supporting Microsoft Windows.
SaltStack popularly known as Salt is an open source and a Python-based configuration management software. It acts as a remote execution engine. In conjunction with the Puppet, Ansible, and Chef, Salt supports the computer infrastructure system as a Code hence, deploying the management of cloud (KOSMIN, 2012). Originally, Salt software was formulated due to the increasing demand of collecting high-speed data and executing in the environments where systems are administrated. Just like the growth of technology, Salt has been developed progressively. For instance, in early June 2011, an initial progress was made in the software. It this adjustment, a central configuration manager was added to the software. Specifically, Salt allows to store all configuration or information within a much simpler data structure. A most stable version of the Salt structure (v. 0.9.3) was released in November of the same year.
The Salt software is conceived in a highly modular and extensible manner, making it easy to diversify the applications. This module format of Salt is capable of creating Python modules which can handle specified aspects of available Salt systems. They also allow the interactions within the Salt, thereby detaching and modifying the software to suitably meet the needs of the developer or administration of the scheme.
Types of Modules
Many form of modules are maintained within the Salt system. In operation, a module can be added to any system provided it is capable of supporting dynamic modules. The primary role of modules is to manage the remote execution extensively. Besides this function, modules also control the manner in which the Salt behaves. The common types of modules include performance modules, state modules, grains, runners, render modules, and the returners. All in all, all these modules have a direct role in making the systems configuration management work easier.
A Foreman installation has a centralized instance that provides a web-based GUI, original host files used in the configuration, and node configuration among other significant data. The Foreman can support unattended installations within the system. A smart proxy manager can be installed with all Foreman installations to allow a full compatibility and functionality of TFTP, DHCP, Puppet CA, Puppet, and DNS.
Smart-Proxy is situated on or around the machine which performs specific functions. The proxy also enables the Foreman to orchestrate the commissioning of new hosts. Placing the smart-proxy on or beneath the actual service also allows the system to minimize the latencies especially in mainly distributed companies. Having this proxy alongside the above-discussed configuration software, an organization has an opportunity automate the tasks with ease, manage changes on-premise with bare-metal and VMs and deploy applications faster.
Essence of Foreman
Foreman provides comprehensive interaction facilities such as the web frontend, RESTful API, and CLI enabling the company to build higher levels of business logic on a stable foundation. It remains the most significant application configuration software because it allows companies to provision, discover, and upgrade the whole bare-metal infrastructure. Another suitability possessed by the software is that it allows a business to not only create but also manage the instances across both public and private clouds. With Foreman, the organization can easily group its hosts and control them in bulk according to their location (Ding et al., 2012). With the help of this feature, the firm can easily review historical auditing changes or troubleshooting. It also eases the needed extension via the robust plugin architecture. Lastly, it enables the business to build images on each platform automatically hence, optimizes the deployment. Therefore, Foeman is an essential configuration software.
IT management is a prodder field of IT industry. This area entails systems which must be properly configured, managed and maintained to ensure efficiency of data collection and other related IT activities. There are many configuration tools used by organizations within computer systems. These devices include Foreman’s smart proxy architecture, Puppet, Chef, Salt. The essentiality of instruments varies significantly as discussed in the upper part of the paper. Foreman is highly flexible, suitable and the most efficient among all the application configuration tools. Therefore, Foreman is an essential application configuration device.