How to get started with the Foreman sysadmin tool

Jonathan MathewsPublic

Amp up your systems administration with Foreman

Is your system management tool robust enough?

As your organization grows, so does your workload—and the IT resources required to manage it. There is no “one-size-fits-all” system management solution, but a centralized, open source tool such as Foreman can help you manage your company’s IT assets by provisioning, maintaining, and updating hosts throughout the complete lifecycle.

Foreman becomes even more powerful when integrated with other open source projects and plugins, and I will discuss these in more detail below. To get started, however, let’s consider key functions of an effective system management tool.

Host provisioning is for deploying instances or virtual machines on bare-metal, on-premises, or a cloud provider’s data center.

Content management refers to publishing, promoting, and managing various versions of repositories and packages in the CDN and systems across the life cycle (i.e., development, testing, QA, and production).

Patch/errata management includes bug fixes and advisory or enhancement packages. An effective systems management tool should identify applicable errata regularly and patch registered systems promptly.

Subscription or license management enables the purchase, renewal, and extension of subscriptions through a systems management portal. This information should be updated frequently in the user account for each system.

Health monitoring and reporting enables real-time system checkups. This should include updates, errata, compliance, workload, and system performance metrics for registered hosts and running services.

Remote execution is for running arbitrary commands on hosts or groups of hosts to perform similar activities remotely. These commands can be customized; for example, to provision templates or partition tables.

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