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Re: Disconnected laptop CFEngine ?

From: Chris Kacoroski
Subject: Re: Disconnected laptop CFEngine ?
Date: Mon, 07 Feb 2005 08:50:49 -0800
User-agent: Mozilla Thunderbird 1.0 (Macintosh/20041206)


I am currently running cfengine on 1500 workstations of which about 300 are laptops. In addition to laptops moving between networks, I have issues with workstations being turned off at night and on weekends.

1. Definitely put cfengine into the boot process, but run it in the background. First time I did this with my clients, each client sat at a blue screen for 10 minutes while cfengine ran (lots of file copies on slow machines) which made for some unhappy users. Now I run it in the background and it works fine.

2. You need to do something to identify the laptops. My first effort was to have cfengine clients put the cfengine keys, mac address, ip address, and machine name into ldap. Then the cfengine server would pull these down and create key files in ppkeys so the client and server could authenticate with each other. Got way to many error messages and it made almost any other process I wanted to do very difficult because I had nothing that was unique to the machine I could key on.

Current plan is to still have cfengine clients put everything into ldap, but my dhcp server pulls down the data and creates host records for each client that ties a machine name to a mac address (or in the case of laptops, to two different mac addresses). I then update dns dynamically from dhcp. This has worked very well for my backup application (backuppc) as it just looks up the hostname and gets whatever the current IP address is. My next step is to change cfengine to key off the hostname instead of the IP address (use HostnameKeys directive). Then I do not have to re-create the ppkeys files all the time.

3. I am getting errors where cfengine tries to run from a non-internal network and attempts to access internal servers. You need to do something to stop all copy statements when cfengine is not on the internal network.



David Masterson wrote:
Has anyone done anything with CFEngine in an environment where many of your 
systems are (Linux) laptops that are potentially disconnected from your network 
from time to time?  Are there issues associated with it?  What if the laptop 
migrates from place to place (that is, today it's connected to the SJ network 
whereas tomorrow it's connect to the NY network)?

I'm starting to consider such an environment and wondering about the gotchas.

David Masterson
Symbol Technologies

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Chris "Ski" Kacoroski, address@hidden, 425-489-6263

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