The steps below should get you from just thinking about a configuration management system to an operational installation of Bcfg2. If you get stuck, be sure to check the Mailing List or to drop in on our IRC Channel.
See the Platform-specific Quickstart Notes at the end of this page if you happen to be using one of the more common operating systems.
We recommend running the server on a Linux machine for ease of deployment due to the availability of packages for the dependencies.
First, you need to download and install Bcfg2. The section Installation in this manual describes the steps to take. To start, you will need to install the server on one machine and the client on one or more machines. Yes, your server can also be a client (and should be by the time your environment is fully managed).
The next step after installing the Bcfg2 packages is to configure the server. You can easily set up a personalized default configuration by running, on the server,
You will be presented with a series of questions that will build a Bcfg2 configuration file in /etc/bcfg2.conf, set up a skeleton repository (in /var/lib/bcfg2 by default), help you create ssl certificates, and do any other similar tasks needed to get you started.
Once this process is done, you can start the Bcfg2 server:
You can try it out by running the Bcfg2 client on the same machine, acting like it is your first client.
The following command will tell the client to run in no-op mode, meaning it will only check the client against the repository and report any differences it sees. It won’t make any changes (partially because you haven’t populated the repository with any yet). However, nobody is perfect. You can make a typo, our software can have bugs, monkeys can break in and hit enter before you are done. Don’t run this command on a production system if you don’t know what it does and aren’t prepared for the consequences. We don’t know of anybody having problems with it before, but it is better to be safe than sorry.
And now for the command:
bcfg2 -q -v -n
That can be translated as “bcfg2 quick verbose no-op”. The output should be something similar to:
Loaded tool drivers: Chkconfig POSIX YUMng Phase: initial Correct entries: 0 Incorrect entries: 0 Total managed entries: 0 Unmanaged entries: 242 Phase: final Correct entries: 0 Incorrect entries: 0 Total managed entries: 0 Unmanaged entries: 242
Perfect! We have started out with an empty configuration, and none of our configuration elements are correct. It doesn’t get much cleaner than that. But what about those unmanaged entries? Those are the extra configuration elements (probably all packages and services at the moment) that still aren’t managed, but have been detected by the client tools. Your goal now is to migrate each of those plus any it can’t see up to the “Correct entries” line.
Finally, you need to populate your repository. Unfortunately, from here on out we can’t write up a simple recipe for you to follow to get this done. It is very dependent on your local configuration, your configuration management goals, the politics surrounding your particular machines, and many other similar details. We can, however, give you guidance.
After the above steps, you should have a toplevel repository structure that looks like:
bcfg-server:~ # ls /var/lib/bcfg2 Base/ Bundler/ Cfg/ Metadata/ Pkgmgr/ Rules/ SSHbase/ etc/
The place to start is the Metadata directory, which contains two files: clients.xml and groups.xml. Your current clients.xml will look pretty close to:
<Clients> <Client profile="basic" pingable="Y" pingtime="0" name="bcfg-server.example.com"/> </Clients>
The clients.xml file is just a series of <Client /> tags, each of which describe one host you manage. Right now we only manage one host, the server machine we just created. This machine is bound to the basic profile, is pingable, has a pingtime of 0, and has the name bcfg-server.example.com. The two “ping” parameters don’t matter to us at the moment, but the other two do. The name parameter is the fully qualified domain name of your host, and the profile parameter maps that host into the groups.xml file.
Our simple groups.xml file looks like:
<Groups> <Group profile='true' public='false' name='basic'> <Group name='suse'/> </Group> <Group name='ubuntu' /> <Group name='debian' /> <Group name='redhat' /> <Group name='suse' /> <Group name='mandrake' /> <Group name='solaris' /> </Groups>
There are two types of groups in Bcfg: profile groups (profile='true') and non-profile groups (profile='false'). Profile groups can act as top-level groups to which clients can bind, while non-profile groups only exist as members of other groups. In our simple starter case, we have a profile group named basic, and that is the group that our first client bound to. Our first client is a SuSE machine, so it contains the suse group. Of course, bcfg2-admin isn’t smart enough to fill out the rest of your config, so the suse group further down is empty.
Let’s say the first thing we want to set up on our machine is the message of the day. To do this, we simply need to create a Bundle and add that Bundle to an appropriate group. In this simple example, we start out by adding
to the basic group.
Next, we create a motd.xml file in the Bundler directory:
<Bundle name='motd'> <Path name='/etc/motd' /> </Bundle>
Now when we run the client, we get slightly different output:
Loaded tool drivers: Chkconfig POSIX YUM Incomplete information for entry Path:/etc/motd; cannot verify Phase: initial Correct entries: 0 Incorrect entries: 1 Total managed entries: 1 Unmanaged entries: 242 In dryrun mode: suppressing entry installation for: Path:/etc/motd Phase: final Correct entries: 0 Incorrect entries: 1 Total managed entries: 1 Unmanaged entries: 242
We now have an extra unmanaged entry, bringing our total number of managed entries up to one. To manage it we need to copy /etc/motd to /var/lib/bcfg2/Cfg/etc/motd/. Note the layout of that path: all plain-text config files live in the Cfg directory. The directory structure under that directory directly mimics your real filesystem layout, making it easy to find and add new files. The last directory is the name of the file itself, so in this case the full path to the motd file would be /var/lib/bcfg2/Cfg/etc/motd/motd. Copy your real /etc/motd file to that location, run the client again, and you will find that we now have a correct entry:
Loaded tool drivers: Chkconfig POSIX YUM Phase: initial Correct entries: 1 Incorrect entries: 0 Total managed entries: 1 Unmanaged entries: 242 Phase: final Correct entries: 1 Incorrect entries: 0 Total managed entries: 1 Unmanaged entries: 242
Done! Now we just have 242 (or more) entries to take care of!
Several other utilities can help from this point on:
bcfg2-info is a utility that instantiates a copy of the Bcfg2 server core (minus the networking code) for examination. From this, you can directly query:
Run bcfg2-info, and type help and the prompt when it comes up.
bcfg2-admin can perform a variety of repository maintenance tasks. Run bcfg2-admin help for details.
Once you have the server setup, you may be interested in bootstrapping additional clients.