Configuration and change management with Bcfg2


A database lets you retrieve configuration information from more data sources. For example, you could automatically generate the DHCP, DNS, and NIS configuration data from a source such as a directory service. The example in Listing 5 shows how TCheetah on Debian configures the network interfaces in /etc/network/interfaces on the basis of data from a PostgreSQL database.

Listing 5

TCheetah-Configured network/interfaces



Configurations do not just apply to file entries. System services must be configured to reflect the runlevels. The Service generator reads the administrative information in Svcmgr/services.xml to discover how to configure, say, the NTP service.

To do so, the server references the service referred to as <service name= 'ntpd' /> in the matching bundle.

Then, services.xml is used to specify whether or not the client should start the service:

<Services priority='0'>
   <Service name='ntpd' status='on' />

The generator converts these details to tangible configurations and sends them to the client, which then applies distribution-specific methods to enable or disable the service.


Bcfg2 does not replace the package manager, but it can have the effect of shifting more control from the package manager to the system administrator, who can use Bcfg2 to specify which version of which individual package the tool installs. XML files manage information about the available packages and synchronize the details with the installation server package selection. Multiple installation servers allow administrators to assign different priorities – for example, for security updates.

The Bcfg2 client compares global and local package versions and upgrades or downgrades accordingly. Administrators can freeze special versions by assigning them the highest priority.

Other generators configure directories, symlinks, and many other element types. Some more experienced administrators will appreciate the ability to use plugins to bind Python functions to the generators provided with the Bcfg2 distribution.

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