I manage some 15-20 Ubuntu servers and am faced with the tedious task of keeping them all up to date.

I have looked for a simpler solution and came across Ubuntu Landscape, but this is waaaay out of our budgettary league. So i decided to build something of my own (*), which i'm fairly happy about. It's not as rock solid as an open-source project or commercial product, but it gets the job done nicely.

Still, i have this nagging feeling that my problem must have been solved by someone. However, googling for either webbased of aptitude/apt-get (let alone "webbased aptitude") yields far too many mishits. I doubt i'll ever find it using any of the terms i can come up with :-)

So, does anyone know of a solution to manage packages on multiple servers through a webbased interface.

*) The system i've built sends its update candidates to a central server where they are stored in a database. The webinterface allows one to view/check the updates per server, which are then read on the next run prior to resending the newest updatable packages (read data -> install -> check updates -> send data)

Update: I am not looking for configuration management. The whole point of manually applying updates is that you can test these updates first on a development environment. Since some packages are updated quite frequently, chaning you puppet config to reflect these versions is tedious at best.

  • Would you care to elaborate instead of just saying it ain't so? What kind of "configuration management system" are you referring to? Does it have the ability to postpone, say, a mysql upgrade since that involves a different kind of downtime. – Michiel Jun 5 '13 at 19:36
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    I'm already using puppet, but that was not my question. I'm not looking for a completely automated system! This system needs user interference. It cannot go and blindly install updates just because they are there. – Michiel Jun 5 '13 at 19:41
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    the whole point of config management is to blindly apply all of the patches you've chosen to apply to the applicable systems. I've not heard of a non- interactive patch/package management strategy – Jim B Jun 5 '13 at 21:07
  • Apologies for posting this as an answer but I don't have enough reputation to post as a comment. Michiel, what did you end up using and did you ever manage to open-source your code as this is exactly what I'm after for my little home network? If you weren't able to open-source it, any pointers in the right direction for how you implemented it? – Wayne Haffenden Sep 10 '15 at 15:22
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    @WayneHaffenden Please don't abuse the reputation system. I've converted your post into a comment this time, but in the future if you want to post a comment, please to the modicum of work required to gain the required rep points. – EEAA Sep 10 '15 at 15:54

I'm on the same boat you are, looking for a nice centralized way to manage updates. Up to know we used RHEL, so we leveraged the RHN web system to keep track of updates. Now I am migrating most servers to Ubuntu 14.04 and was looking for something that provided at least some management capabilities.

I am probably going to be trying this one soon: http://spacewalk.redhat.com/

It is a open source version os the RHEL system, but I have seen places that claim Ubuntu can be supported? At least it handles the kickstart files so that will be nice for quick deployments.

  • Thanks for your contibution. I personally don't use kickstarts since i'm using Puppet, but i can see where this system could be very handy. I must say that my system performs pretty well, so if anybody is interested i might convince my boss to open-source it :-) – Michiel Jul 21 '14 at 10:12

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