Configuring new servers by hand is tedious and prone to error. Instead of running all the installationa commands by hand to customize our Vagrant setup, we'll use a configuration management (CM) tool to automate this process for us. CM allows system administrators to establish rules which maintain the software installed on one or many computer systems. By automating the setup of a server, configuration management ensures there are no inconsistencies between machines. It also makes it faster for your to create a virtual environment without having to manually install a Web server, like we did in a previous lesson.
By the end of this lesson, you will be able to explain how configuration management relates to virtual machines, and why you would want to use a configuration management tool to provision new virtual machines.
- Vagrant is a wrapper which creates virtual development environments from base boxes. It acts as a wrapper around a provider, such as VirtualBox, and configuration management software, such as Chef.
- Configuration Management: Configuration management is a process which allows system administrators to establish and maintain consistency of a computer system throughout its life against a specified set of rules. Configuration management enables consistency across one, or many, machines.
- Popular open source configuration management tools supported by Vagrant include: Puppet, Chef, and Ansible. Chef tends to be popular among Drupal developers. Puppet tends to be popular among system administrators (who are not necessarily Web developers first-and-foremost).
- Provisioning is the process of creating, or altering, a system in order to prepare it for service.
- Vagrant allows you to use one or more configuration management tools from the same Vagrantfile to provision a machine; as well as use shell scripts.