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I'm spending a lot of time setting up new Centos 6 instances. I use a VCS (Subversion) for most of the config files and all of the webapp source files (Github), but even with excellent package managers (like yum, npm, easy_install, etc.) it still takes time.

I'd like to get to the point where I could try out a new potential web host by just signing up for an account, logging in and automatically sucking my standardised config onto the box.

I know there are a set of tools that can help:


and a set of services that sell solutions:

[BitNami Cloud]

I don't mind investing time in learning a new tool, but as a no-budget start-up, I'm keen to keep monthly costs down. My biggest concern is that time spent on the server config is time away from the codebase, and that's where I think my team and I should be investing our energy, at least until we get funded and scale up a bit. I'd be grateful of some recommendations for which way to jump on config:

  1. stick with SSH and manual deploys, at least until you get big.
  2. bite the bullet and learn [say] puppet. You may only use it 8-10 times, but it pays to have such an easy tunable server bootstrap.
  3. don't bother, just pay the $100/month for a standard config service. It'll cost you $1000/year, but you should focus on the code.

Other questions in this domain

I use quite a complex stack (Drupal, Zend Server, MySQL, PHP, MongoDB, Python, django), but are there standard(ish) setups that include these or that I could build upon more quickly? Are the configs optimised for small, medium, large VPS (1GB, 4GB, 16GB)? How secure are they?

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

You should invest the time in Puppet. Every new machine you add, accidentally break, decide to upgrade, etc. can be handled by it in the future. I wrote a post at the start of this year expounding on the idea that writing a Puppet config when you have just one machine is still worth your time.

Do it right, write the configs. They're like Makefiles for machines, and what would you do without a Makefile?

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Puppet ALL THE PUPPETS! – Scott Pack Nov 4 '12 at 19:42

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