30 May 2020
Ideal Software Configuration Management

How to Choose the Ideal Software Configuration Management

When you are developing software, the environment is constantly changing. When it is time to deploy or launch the finished product, you should have figured out the particular hosting requirements, which systems that you need to provide and the relevant configuration settings.

There is no doubt that the development environment is in an endless state of flux. If you do not have the right tools or configurations, there will be at least one major inconsistency that can lead to service outages and reduced customer trust.

The good news is that you can solve this nightmare with the help of SCM (Software Configuration Management). Typically, the responsibility of the configuration management lays to corporate IT. These days, because of the increased automation, the responsibilities have merged into DevOps.

To help you get started, here’s how to choose the ideal software configuration management:

Do your homework

You have to know that many forms of automation often overpromise but it under delivers. With this, the first thing that you need to do is research. To ensure that your efforts succeed, it is essential that you define want you to want to improve first and determine the expected outcomes.

Before you begin with implementing your intended solution, you need to research modern SCM and understand it. The research should involve grasping the similarities and differences between IAC (Infrastructure as Code) and CAC (Configuration as Code), when to use and what it involves.

The IAC features newer technologies like cloud computing, virtualisation and managing infrastructure. The CAC, on the other hand, deals with deploying and managing the settings of existing systems. A common use of CAC is handling the migration of configuration settings from old to new systems.

managing infrastructure

Understand the operating environment

The next thing that you need to do is to understand the operating environment. If you want to successfully implement a code-based SCM, you need to understand the organisation’s operating environment – particularly the systems that your solution needs to configure.

If in this case, the intended purpose of your SCM automation is to support your CI (Continuous Integration) or CD (Continuous Deployment/Delivery) pipeline, you need to ensure that your tool seamlessly integrates with them.

Choose the right tool for your needs

It is time to pick the right tool. It is imperative that you evaluate tools base on how it can address specific SCM solutions. SCM tools are large and complex. If you work at a small company, you should look for a system that is simple to install having a small footprint and does not require huge resources. For this, you should take a look at Ansible.

Introduction to Ansible

Ansible is included in Linux distros like Fedora. Essentially, Ansible is an IT automation engine that can help automate IT needs like cloud provisioning, application deployment, and intra-service orchestration. Many developers claim that Ansible is a less complicated system that leaves a smaller footprint. More importantly, it is easier to configure and manage. If you want to know more, you should consider Ansible AWS tutorial.

Ansible is a popular choice because it is secure and agentless. This is because it relies on the most secure remote configuration management system at its default layer – OpenSSH. OpenSSH is lightweight and when security issues are discovered, they are quickly patched. Ansible does not require remote agents because it delivers modules and executes tasks to remote systems as needed.

Aside from Ansible, as a beginner maybe you also heard about Elasticsearch and Weka (Waikato Environment for Knowledge Analysis). Elasticsearch refers to a search engine based on Lucene library. The official clients are available in Java, .NET (C#), Python, Groovy and other programming languages. With Elasticsearch Kibana tutorial, it allows you to visualise data and navigate the Elastic Stack so you can do anything.

Meanwhile, Weka is considered a type of artificial intelligence what allows computers to learn the data without any explicit programs. Weka is data mining software that utilises a compilation of machine learning algorithms. Its tools include regression, clustering, association, classification, data pre-processing, and visualization.

In Weka data mining tutorial, you will understand that it analyses the data from different perspectives and summarises it into bundles of valuable information. Many consider this because it is an independent platform and open source, not commercial. It is also easy to use with GUI (Graphical User Interface) and flexible for scripting experiments.