Friday, July 08, 2011

System Center Configuration Manager or Systems Management Server (SMS)

System Center Configuration Manager (ConfigMgr or Configuration Manager), or Systems Management Server (SMS), is a systems management software product by Microsoft for managing large groups of Windows-based computer systems. Configuration Manager provides remote control, patch management, software distribution, operating system deployment, network access protection, and hardware and software inventory.

There are many System Center Configuration Manager Software alternative rather than Microsoft's one. According to www.ambitwire.com they are :


Selection of Top 15 Best Open Source Configuration and Inventory Management Software for Datacenters, Clusters,  Server Farms and Multiple Hosts.


    The idea behind this article is to put together the best /in our opinion/ Open Source  software there is for Inventory and Software management of multiple  /we mean A LOT OF/ hosts.
      If you would like to automatically install software,patches and scripts on a lot of hosts or  update OS's - some of these open source configuration software packages do that with ease both in a shell and graphical environment. Some of the systems listed below do much more.
      If you are looking for the equivalent of SCCM (System Center Configuration Manager), Active Directory or both, with extended features and the benefit of open source - this selection is surely to give you a solution for your needs.
      If you are looking for automated cluster and server farm configuration and  management  - this page will surely lend a hand with an idea!

Bcfg2 - "Bcfg2 helps system administrators produce a consistent, reproducible, and verifiable description of their environment, and offers visualization and reporting tools to aid in day-to-day administrative tasks. It is the fifth generation of configuration management tools developed in the Mathematics and Computer Science Division of Argonne National Laboratory. "

Etch - "Etch is a tool for managing the configuration of Unix systems. Etch can manage text or binary files, links and directories. The contents of files can be supplied from static files or generated on the fly by scripts or templates. Permissions and ownership as well as any pre or post commands to run when updating the file are configured in simple XML files."

Cfengine - "Cfengine is probably the most popular data center automation solution available today with an estimated 5.000 companies running Cfengine on more than 1 million machines. Cfengine is used by organizations around the whole world, including Chevron, Univeristy of Yale, State of New York, US Military, LBL US Dep. of Energy, ebay, Nokia, IBM, CSC, and many more." It can be used for your regular network PC's/hosts too, it doesn't have to be a datacenter solution only!

Chef - "Chef is an open source systems integration framework built to bring the benefits of configuration management to your entire infrastructure. You write source code to describe how you want each part of your infrastructure to be built, then apply those descriptions to your servers. The result is a fully automated infrastructure: when a new server comes on line, the only thing you have to do is tell Chef what role it should play in your architecture."


FusionInventory - "FusionInventory provides a complete, modular and multi-platform solution for :    
    Hardware & software inventory (with agent or agentless using SNMP) ;   
    Wake On Lan (WOL) ;  
    Software deployment using OCS Inventory NG protocol and peer to peer download ; 
    Network connected devices (using Netbios, nmap and SNMP)." Fusion can run on Windows,  MacOS, Fedora, Ubuntu, Solaris, Debian.

LCFG - "LCFG is a system for automatically installing and managing the configuration of large numbers of Unix systems. It is particularly suitable for sites with very diverse and rapidly changing configurations."

OCS Inventory - A powerful, grafic based  inventory and software deployement system for Linux and Windows OS's alike.

OPSI - "opsi® is a Client Management System for Windows clients based on Linux servers.  Key features:
     Automatic OS installation(unattended or image based) 
     Automatic software deployment 
     Hardware and software inventories   
     Patch Management   
     Configuration Management (Administrative Tasks)   
     License Management"


Pacha - "Easily capture configuration changes and push them automatically while version control happens in the background. No need to know any programming language to get started! "


Puppet - "Puppet has been developed to help the sysadmin community move to building and sharing mature tools that avoid the duplication of everyone solving the same problem. It does so in two ways:       
   It provides a powerful framework to simplify the majority of the technical tasks that sysadmins need to perform   
     The sysadmin work is written as code in Puppet?s custom language which is shareable just like any other code."

Quattor - "Quattor is a system administration toolkit providing a powerful, portable, and modular set of tools for the automated installation, configuration, and management of clusters and farms. It is developed as a community effort and provided as open-source software.  Quattor was originally developed to manage the clusters and services used in grid computing. Today, Quattor is being used to manage at least 10 separate infrastructures spread across Europe. These range from massive single-site installations such as  CERN (where more than 7000 machines are managed) to highly-distributed grid infrastructures such as  Grid-Ireland (which is made up of 18 physical installations)."

SmartFrog - "SmartFrog is a powerful and flexible Java-based software framework for configuring, deploying and managing distributed software systems.  SmartFrog helps you to encapsulate and manage systems so they are easy to configure and reconfigure, and so that that they can be automatically installed, started and shut down. It provides orchestration capabilities so that subsystems can be started (and stopped) in the right order. It also helps you to detect and recover from failures."

Spacewalk - "Spacewalk is an open source (GPLv2) Linux systems management solution. It is the upstream community project for Red Hat Network Satellite. Its capabilities include:
      Inventory your systems (hardware and software information)   
      Install and update software on your systems
      Collect and distribute your custom software packages into manageable groups 
      Provision (kickstart) your systems 
      Manage and deploy configuration files to your systems
      Monitor your systems  
      Provision virtual guests  
      Start/stop/configure virtual guests  
     Distribute content across multiple geographical sites in an efficient manner" It supports Fedora and CentOS.


Symbolic - "Symbolic is an OpenSource Enterprise Platform designed to build, configure and manage your huge and global distributed data centers. Based on the best open source frameworks for these purposes, represents the state-of-the-art solution for a centralized datacenter management platforms."

xCAT - "xCAT is DataCenter Control. It allows you to:   
    Provision Operating Systems on physical or virtual machines: Centos5.X, SLES[10-11], RHEL5.X, Fedora[9-11], AIX, Windows Server 2008, Cloning or scripted installation methods    
   Remotely Manage Sytems: Integrated Lights-out management, remote console, and distributed shell support 
      Quickly set up and control Management node services: DNS, HTTP, DHCP, TFTP.
xCAT offers complete and ideal management for HPC clusters, RenderFarms, Grids, WebFarms, Online Gaming Infrastructure, Clouds, Datacenters, and whatever tomorrow's buzzwords may be. It is agile, extendable, and based on years of system administration best practices and experience.

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