What is CFEngine
CFEngine is an open source tool for system configuration management and is used in large scale environments with hundreds of servers. This has continued to be an important part of system administration. With the advent of virtualization, the number of servers now have the ability to scale well beyond the physical limitations of the data center and the concept of manually administering more than 100+ servers quickly becomes unfeasible for a single admin. The list of capabilities for CFEngine is nearly limitless but some of the main tasks include basic operating system configuration and maintenance, management of system users, customizable control of security and software/patching installation.
Due to the complexity of CFEngine, this will be a multi-posting topic. I have decided to go with CFEngine as opposed to Chef or Puppet due to its maturity and scalability. It was first written in 1993 and is very fast since it is written in C and does not rely on Ruby like the other two configuration management programs. There is also a large community user base from which to draw upon since the automation of tasks in the sysadmin work is generally not unique. Continue reading CFEngine Part 1