6 and 7 February 2017

Gent, Belgium

Automating the manual - feedback on including existing systems in configuration management

Nicolas Charles - Monday, February 6, 17:00 - 17:20 - B4.042

When designing a new infrastructure, weaving configuration management within it is a natural solution nowadays.

However, there are many systems in the wild that are still manually managed, if managed at all; mission critical servers that can’t be shut down, systems that runs proprietary software which depend on out-of-date databases, … They may even have been configured using forgotten conventions (that can be different on different iteration of systems).

Using configuration automation tools on these system can seem like an impossible task, but it is not, and the efforts are really worth the benefits.

This talk will present feedback from a couple of projects I’ve worked on, describing how to manage these “existing, manual and critical” systems automatically, most specifically the reverse engineering of existing systems (compiling all documents, inventorying systems, devising the rules, auditing deviations), and the steps to managing them automatically.


About Nicolas Charles

Nicolas Charles started out as a developer almost 15 years ago, but soon had to get a refresher in electronics to build a ST-503 hard drive emulator for a rocket engine test bench to get his code working. Since then, he’s often ended up on the customer facing side of development, sorting out those situations that don’t exist in theory but are oh-so-present in practice.

In 2010, he co-founded Normation where the intention was to automate the 80% so he only had to worry about the 20% - but of course, as history has a way of repeating itself, he ended up spending a lot of time out in the “real-world” worrying about those 20% again.

When he’s not hacking on Rudder, he enjoys looking after his son, good cocktails and dancing Salsa.