Configuration Management

Configuration management involves modifying servers from an existing state to a desired state and automating how an application is deployed.

Configuration management tools

Numerous tools exist to modify server state in a controlled way, including Puppet, Chef, SaltStack, and Ansible. Puppet and Chef are written in Ruby, while SaltStack and Ansible are written in Python.

Ad hoc tasks

Configuration management tools such as Chef, Puppet, Ansible, and SaltStack are not useful for performing ad hoc tasks that require interactive responses. Fabric and Invoke are used for interactive operations, such as querying the database from the Django manage.py shell.

Configuration management tool comparisons

Ansible configuration management

Ansible is an open source configuration management and application deployment tool built in Python.

Ansible Resources

Application dependencies learning checklist

  1. Learn about configuration management in the context of deployment automation and infrastructure-as-code.

  2. Pick a configuration management tool and stick with it. My recommendation is Ansible because it is by far the easiest tool to learn and use.

  3. Read your configuration management tool's documentation and, when necessary, the source code.

  4. Automate the configuration management and deployment for your project. Note that this is by far the most time consuming step in this checklist but will pay dividends every time you deploy your project.

  5. Hook the automated deployment tool into your existing deployment process.

What's next after automating your app configuration?

Can I automate testing and deployments for my app?

I want to learn more about app users via web analytics.

How do I integrate existing web APIs into my application?

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Matt Makai 2012-2018