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I have 2-3 node clusters for our load balancers and various web applications. I'm having to make the change in QA first, then in staging (on 2-3 servers), then in production (on 2-3) servers. Is a configuration management tool like chef or puppet appropriate here? Or is it overkill? If it's overkill are there any tips to making this easier.

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up vote 13 down vote accepted

Not overkill at all. Start using puppet now, and it'll pay for itself in the long run. Seriously.

I use puppet even if i'm only deploying one server, because I know at some point it'll probably have to be replaced, rebuilt, or another one added as a backup.

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What Tom said, but with Chef :-) Being able to bring up a server from scratch quickly, even if its the only one you've got is invaluable. – Alister Bulman Dec 3 '10 at 21:29
Neh, Chef, Puppet, Capistrano, Cfengine.. There's loads of tools. The important thing is using something. I prefer puppet, because that's what I learnt on. I'm sure Chef is good too, but I've not used it ;) – Tom O'Connor Dec 4 '10 at 1:11

I don't think it's overkill if it gets you, and/or your team, in the [excellent] practice of configuration management. Any skills or insight you gain using these tools will scale up to, and become much more important in, managing larger systems. You may not need to build a 24-step-change-process for only 3 nodes, but understanding the need for such processes is the Real Win here.

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