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I've heard a lot about using Cobbler together with Puppet/Cfengine for rapid deployment & configuration.

Can you point me to some tutorials or share you experience of how you do it?

Would also love to hear about any other systems you use for rapid provisioning & deployment. Thanks.

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4 Answers 4

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Here is a good blog entry on how to bootstrap puppet using cobbler. The author uses VirtualBox Virtual Machines, but you can easily adapt it to a physical server.

http://number9.hellooperator.net/articles/2009/04/13/bootstrapping-puppet-from-cobbler

Basically, you have a kickstarter server that runs puppetmasterd and cobbler. You customize a kickstart to install puppet and start it automatically. Once its all done with the kickstart puppet runs and takes over.

It will take some time to fine tune everything to get it the way you want it, but with this set up you can create your own private LAN, create a profile for a particular server with cobbler, plug it in to the private LAN, boot and go watch a movie while your server is automatically built ;)

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Link is dead... Any mirrors (can't find on through Google)? –  Henk May 9 '11 at 12:47
    
Unfortunately I can't find any mirrors either. This looks to be a close alternative though: projects.puppetlabs.com/projects/1/wiki/… –  smoak Aug 30 '11 at 19:46
    
I found the original blogpost(s) on archive.org and revised them: dl.dropbox.com/u/101278/Cobbler/1_PXE_virtual_network.html dl.dropbox.com/u/101278/Cobbler/2_Bootstrapping_Puppet.html –  Henk Mar 3 '12 at 23:27

I'm running Cobbler with Puppet in a pure Red Hat / CentOS shop. It's working fine, although you have to work out scalability issues with Puppet if you have several hundred servers.

We were reworking the Puppet-templates for Xen/virt-install quite a bit, but the support for physical server installation with the Cobbler templates that are included with Puppet works well with Red Hat.

Unfortunately I do not have documentation that I can share.

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Our deal-killer with puppet is the lack of a zypper interface. I don't have the time to sit down and learn ruby in order to develop one and provide tests against it, even if it'd be in my long-term best interest. –  Karl Katzke Aug 16 '09 at 6:38
    
Karl: it's even worse with Cfengine then: it's not modular, and the source code is in C. –  ℝaphink Dec 22 '09 at 10:46
    
@Raphink: I beg to differ. Cfengine has built-in support to configure any package manager, and it's standard library comes with a pre-configured zypper interface. See cfengine.org/manuals/…. –  Jonathan Clarke Jan 29 '10 at 0:30
    
My bad Jonathan, I didn't really know what zypper was. I thought OpenSuSE used yum though. What's the advantage of using zypper when you automate deployement anyway? As a side note, adding support for zypper in puppet shouldn't be too hard (but it doesn't require some ruby dev indeed). –  ℝaphink Feb 2 '10 at 9:08
    
There's a zypper provider in puppet as of 2.6.0. –  eric sorenson Jan 30 '11 at 4:53

You can also use FAI with xen-tools. It supposedly works well, but I'm still testing it out.

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FAI's one of those things that was a great idea when it first came out, but there are much better ways to do what it does now. –  womble Aug 13 '09 at 4:18

Well, cfengine 3 has a complete language built write-in, so modular is not a requirement. It's also very lightweight and small.

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