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Linux Provisioning Systems to the Rescue


It was only a few years ago that using Linux on enterprise-level servers and workstations meant a low-cost (or downright free) operating system, with high operational costs. Those days are gone; Linux OS distributions have matured and stabilized. The cost of running Linux in your enterprise is now far lower than ever before.

Of course, while Linux may be easy to use and implement on one server, that doesn't mean it's easy to deploy and manage a fleet of enterprise Linux servers or workstations. Sites with a large Linux presence typically must build complicated custom scripts and programs to handle installation, and such customization extends beyond the conventional limitations of vendor-supplied installation systems.

Linux provisioning systems can help ease this burden. They combine controls for OS installation and configuration; application installation and configuration; policy enforcement; and patching in a single interface. They provide a comprehensive approach to Unix and Linux provisioning and eliminate the need for vendor-supplied installation tools and custom scripts and programs. Large Unix and Linux sites can gain tremendous benefit from such systems.

There are, of course, some pitfalls with Linux provisioning systems, such as possible overreliance on one vendor for both the OS and provisioning system. And if you have a Linux provisioning system and decide to switch to another, migration must be carefully planned. Anyone preparing to incorporate a Linux provisioning system should consider those two facets before deployment.

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