Devops Tools

The DevOps tool chain has always fascinated me. I work for a company that is fairly silo’ed and sometimes kind of traditional. We use Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager as our CM tool. Now don’t get me wrong, it works, and it is powerful, but boy is it slow. I’ve been told Microsoft wants it to be able to work on environments with millions of servers. I started looking at Chef because another team at work uses it. It was neat to see all of the integrations it had and the amount of documentation out there. I was also enjoying the elegance of structured files to dictate configurations rather than always having to click through SCCM’s sluggish GUI for every modification. Chef uses a pull methodology, as does SCCM. Chef’s can be set pretty low and it also has some neat bootstrap functions for new infrastructure but I really wanted something with faster feedback. I started learning about Ansible and began using it in my lab. I set up integrations with Digital Ocean and my on premise VMWare lab to orchestrate the deployment of virtual servers. I created a php web app to have a web form where you can fill out your server specs and VMWare will use its operating system customization to set things like name and IP address. I was finally able to spin up a complete machine at home at the click of a button like Vultr, AWS, or Digital Ocean. At work we have a more involved build process and I got really excited to demo my created. Some were impressed, some even got excited that we could create a server from start to finish in about 5 minutes, down from about 45. However I was unable to get management buy in at my demo. They had concerns about the learning curve. I like stepping outside the comfort zone of the OS GUI and doing things command line, PowerShell, Bash, YAML files, etc. Others are not so willing to leave that zone. One team mate approached me and agreed to learn it. Slowly but surely I’ve been creating the ansible playbooks for my organizations Windows infrastructure. Its more complicated than my home lab but I’m getting close to accounting for all the extra configuration our servers need.

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