Setting up a single server can teach you a great deal about system administration, and it can even be fun for those who love technology. But when you are placed in a position to deploy several servers, having to setup each one with the right operating system, software, network configuration, and security features can be agonizing.
Server provisioning software allows you to perform unattended installs on servers without having to manually tweak each one to match your customizations. For Linux dedicated servers, there are several provisioning software options:
1. Red Hat Kickstart – primarily used for Red Hat Enterprise Linux installations, Kickstart automates installation by passing your specified options to the Anaconda installer, resulting in a hands-off installation for as many systems as you need.
2. Fully-Automated Install (FAI) – Supporting a variety of Linux distributions, virtualization, and more, FAI is a non-interactive installation method that makes it painless to deploy servers. It even supports remote network installations. Supported operating systems include Debian, RHEL, CentOS, Ubuntu, SUSE, Solaris, Mandriva, and others.
3. Spacewalk – Also from Red Hat, this tool is particularly useful if you need ongoing management of your multiple servers over time. From inventory management to update deployments, Spacewalk is a complete open source Linux systems management solution.
Deploying and managing your Unix or Linux servers or clusters does not have to be painful. With the right provisioning and management software, you can focus your attention on less mundane tasks.