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I am looking for a way to assure that all Redhat boxes have same packages and configuration. For example, when I add new server, it is configured and the packages installed.

Same for Ubuntu.

I can make manually script which will replicate the master server, but I need to know if there is any other solution to accomplish this in a way that clueless operator can handle it, or it's fully automatic without need of command-line.

On Windows, I use Domain Controller, it works OK - it configures and updates all systems. I have only two Linux boxes, hence the issue is not big versus hundreds of Windows ones, but eventually I will scale the setup globally, so I need to prepare some plan for Linux too.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

You will eventually want a full configuration-management setup as described in another answer. The best first-step solution is to use Kickstart files for your server installations. These were a Red Hat innovation, but luckily, Ubuntu uses a similar format.

Take a look at an existing Red Hat server and examine the anaconda-ks.cfg file in the root user's home directory. This will show you how the server was initially installed and could form a basis for a new kickstart file. You can also download the system-config-kickstart utility. On Ubuntu, the same utility is available via sudo apt-get install system-config-kickstart

Red Hat-style instructions

Ubuntu instructions

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I used gPXE to boot it via KVM and for config it replicates MySQL and Filesystem like Apache vhosts files, postfix aliases, bind domains, haproxy, nginx, varnish, ntpd, dovecot, spamassasin, clamav, rsyslogd, takes 20min to build and it's using RPMs only like EPEL, Remi and Centos Plus, with crypted volume for /home only – Andrew Smith Aug 29 '12 at 11:23
It's not really difficult as the OS is already automated, for many services over there – Andrew Smith Aug 29 '12 at 11:29

Sounds like you need a Configuration Management tool - most popular are probably Puppet and Chef, but there are a whole lot of options out there.

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