Server Build Automation: Gold Templates Are Precious

server build automationI remember only a few years back how proud system administrators were about building their precious servers – but today – templates, and server build automation and orchestration have changed the game…

Building Servers in the Old Days

In the old days, build automation was follow a manual checklist and we’d spend days, even weeks designing and building the perfect server. The servers would then be put on pedestals as though they were gods, even given names such as Zeus!

They were our Precious…

These precious servers were also aggressively protected so that nobody except us could tweak or change them. Fire would fall from the sky on you even if your username was found in the system logs.

No touching these precious servers!

Unfortunately the other reason why nobody touched the precious servers was because they didn’t know what would happen if they were rebooted and didn’t come back online.

Lean and Agile Changes the Game

In today’s fast paced world building precious servers doesn’t agree with the lean and agile processes that are being used in software development.

Engineer and developers need servers fast, and they need to be build the same way each time to avoid costly time delays due to drift or inconsistencies between more than one server being provisioned for their project.

Templates and Build Automation Replace Precious Servers

vSphere and other cloud solutions can deliver servers faster and consistent using templates and server build automation that runs script based on an orchestration blueprint.

The advantages of using this type of server build process are:

  • All the servers built are in sync with each other, no drift.
  • New servers of the very same build can be deployed weeks later to add more compute capacity.
  • Months later should a server in the VIP pool become corrupted, it can be replaced or added in minutes.
  • The most impart value-add is the time for building servers using templates is cut from weeks down to minutes.

Conclusion:

If you’re an IT manager that still allows your system administrators to turn each and every one of your servers into a prize bull instead of using virtual technology that produces commodity low cost virtual servers as though they are cattle, then you are missing out.

There’s a huge advantage in using Windows and Linux templates with finishing script to cut time and eliminate the negative effects of precious servers that can only be maintained by your most talented system engineer.

Don’t let Gollum build precious servers, it’s high time that these precious server gods are removed from your data center and replaced with VMs built from standard Windows and Linux image templates and build automation scripts.

Other automation products to review are Chef and Puppet.

Your turn to provide advice or tips on server build automation and templates, please comment. 

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