This is part Two of an N-part series (I'm thinking 4 parts) discussing the investigation of radmin as a patch/deployment tool for FreeBSD. It will be filled in over the course of Q2/2009 as we test (and possibly deploy) radmin at Premier Heart. This part deals with some more basics: Creating an radmind "Base Load" to distribute to your machines. The radmind Base Load is the template that will be deployed to all servers and consists of Three major parts:
A "Positive Transcript" (often just called a transcript), which lists files and directories to be included in radmind deployments
A "Negative Transcript", which lists files and directories to be created or adjusted, but not replaced by radmind deployments
A "Defaults Transcript", which is a special case of a negative transcript.
A "Command File", which lists the transcripts to be applied, and the order in which to apply them.
These transcripts are used to create "Load Sets", which are what radmind actually distributes to the clients.
Continue reading "Managing Multiple FreeBSD Machines with radmind -- Part Two"
This is part Zero of an N-part series (I'm thinking 4 parts) discussing the investigation of radmin as a patch/deployment tool for FreeBSD. It will be filled in over the course of Q2/2009 as we test (and possibly deploy) radmin at Premier Heart. As many (if not all) of you know, I'm a BSD Bigot - I firmly believe that the BSD projects have a huge edge over Linux on servers in all the areas that matter to me most: Performance, Security & Stability. That being said, there's one area where they suck big floppy donkey dick: Patch Management. Over the years I've had several solutions:
- Ignore the Problem
Don't patch and hope you never get compromised. This has never been an acceptable solution to me.
- Patch Manually
Log in to every machine in your organization once a quarter, do a Make World / Portupgrade and deal with the fallout.
This is great if all you have are 1-2 machines, and it's how I patch bsd-box.net.
- Deploy a Build Server
A central machine builds the world and ports, then you log in to each machine to install them. It's manual patching, but you don't wait for Make World to run a bunch of times.
This is what most BSD admins do, but I'm lazier than the average admin.
- Deploy a Commercial Solution
This is OK as far as it goes, but using commercial solutions puts you on someone else's patch schedule.
Also, I'm not aware of any commercial solutions that Don't Suck™.
- Use freebsd-update
While I greatly admire what the FreeBSD Security Team has done with freebsd-update, it's just not for me -- Patching my custom software and ports with freebsd-update is a pain in the ass (I would have to essentially roll a custom release - More work than I want to do.) Also, freebsd-update is geared toward applying the security team's patches, not managing system deployments - that's only half of what I want.