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Re: Managing many Debian machines

On Fri, Feb 02, 2001 at 01:40:42PM -0500, Daniel Whelan wrote:
> Greetings - I am currently looking for a solution to managing and
> maintaining a large number of Debian machines. While I absolutely love
> apt-get, manually apt-getting a hundred machines to upgrade one piece of
> software is suboptimal. Is there any way to automate this process? One
> solution that has been suggested is to NFS mount some of the software
> off a server - my issue with this is that it would hose the package
> management somewhat. Does anyone have any experience with this?


I'll be shortly setting up a network myself, on a smaller scale though,
and I've been wondering about the same thing too. We've been using
NFS-shared /usr partition on a RedHat -based setup for quite some time. It
works, especially when packages place their files only under /usr, but it
messes up the dependencies. 

Now we're renewing our network and the next setup will be Debian-based
(finally!) and our plan now is to get rid of the /usr share. Instead we'll
be synchronizing the hosts to a central package repository by running
apt-get in a cronjob. We'd still be sharing /usr/local via NFS for custom
software, it is not feasible for us to start packaging it.

One thing we haven't fully decided yet is that whether we should keep
network-wide configuration files in /usr/local and replace original files
with symlinks, or should we use rsync or similar to keep every system in
sync. The former has the advantage of making the change instantaneous
while the latter reduces hosts' dependency on the server. Though they'll
still be dependant on /home being NFS shared anyway, that's why haven't
decided it yet.

Note that our network is significantly smaller than yours, we can survive
manual configuration on individual hosts, but you propably can not. The
above is just the conclusion we have come to, it might contain something
you hadn't thought of yet. I would also be very pleased to hear any
comments you might have about our approach.

Tommi Komulainen                                 Tommi.Komulainen@iki.fi
GPG 1024D/68388EE6    6FD6 DD79 EB38 BF6F 3533  09C0 04A8 9871 6838 8EE6

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