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Application management

From: Paul Dlug
Subject: Application management
Date: Mon, 24 Mar 2003 15:25:18 -0500

We have a stack of FreeBSD and solaris webservers behind load balancers. Most of our applications are pretty easy to deploy, requiring an apache install, some NFS mounts and some supporting software. I'd like to be able to run any application on any of our servers.

I'm trying to break up the parts of our cfengine configuration from the system specific to the application specific. I've been using the groups to define applications, such as "Webserver", adding a host to this group causes it to copy an additional apache configuration file and restart the server. It also adds necessary NFS mounts. This would enable us to increase and decrease the number of hosts serving an application just by modifying a few group memberships.

(Sorry for the long background).

My issues are:
- Package management: what methods are people using to manage FreeBSD and/or Solaris packages with cfengine? I'd like to use platform specific packages were possible instead of something like RPM or OpenPKG - "Undo": how do you gracefully handle the case were a server has been removed from a group and should no longer have the software/mounts/configuration needed for that app. - Overlap: breaking up each application into a cfengine conf file leaves it self contained but creates overlaps (if different apps use the same NFS mount for example). What's the best way to define it once and list dependencies so that once the dependencies are gone the software decides it's no longer needed and removes it (thus solving the above problem).

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

(If anyone would like to collaborate on using cfengine for application management and monitoring please let me know. I'm really interested in bringing forward some concrete solutions other people can implement).


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