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7 Configuration Management (CM) Tools You Need to Know About

In a few short years DevOps has gone from a fringe movement to a must-have for any IT leader. There's a lot of buzz around it, but there's alot of practical knowledge in there as well. Provisioning environments, deploying applications, maintaining infrastructures--these are all critical yet delicate tasks traditionally done by hand. What if we could get a machine to do all that stuff for us, not just saving hours of work but also removing the element of human error?

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Tripwire Open Source vs. OSSEC : Which Is Right For You?

The following is a comparison of two leading open-source host-based intrusion detection systems (HIDS): Open Source Tripwire and OSSEC. Both are competent HIDS offerings with distinct benefits and drawbacks that warrant further analysis.

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SCCM vs. Chef : How Do They Stack Up Against Each Other?

The following is a tale of two heavyweights in the CM arena: Microsoft’s Systems Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) and Chef. But even a big fish like Chef is still a minnow compared to the whale that is SCCM, which runs on about two-thirds of enterprise organizations. This is largely due to the fact that as a Microsoft product,  SCCM rides on the dominance of Windows desktop and server. It’s nevertheless a truly useful product, though it may be overkill-- and also horribly expensive-- for smaller organizations. This is where open source solutions like Chef come in, offering a pay-per-node pricing structure that is much more cost effective than SCCM. Let’s dive into the details.

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Top Free Network-Based Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) for the Enterprise

Due to the sophistication of today’s data breaches and intrusions, implementing and maintaining network security more often requires a multi-tiered approach; companies securing their networks often use a combination of technologies to combat the myriad of cyber attack, intrusion, and compromise methods available to cyber criminals today. Though a variety of tools and methodologies exists, the two common elements to all secure enterprise network configurations are the firewall and the intrusion detection/prevention system (IDS/IDPS). Firewalls control incoming and outgoing traffic based on rules and policies, and act as a barrier between secure and untrusted networks. Inside the secure network, an IDS/IDPS detects suspicious activities to/from hosts and within the traffic itself, and can take proactive measures to log and block attacks.

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Open Source Chef vs. Hosted Chef vs. On Premises (Private) Chef: Which Do You Need?

Chef is one of the most widely-used CM tools today, arguably playing second fiddle to the mighty Puppet. The tool is written in Ruby and Erlang, uses a pure-Ruby DSL in the Knife CLI, and includes a nice GUI for easy management. Developers and DevOps types will prefer using Chef, much more so than sysadmins.

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Top 5 Best and Worst Attributes of Ansible

Like many configuration management and automation tools, Ansible was originally an open-source project for automating IT infrastructures and environments. As it began to gain a foothold in the enterprise, parent company AnsibleWorks expanded commercial support for the product. Currently their solutions consists of two offerings: Ansible and Ansible Tower, the latter featuring the platform’s UI and dashboard. Despite being a relatively new player in the arena when compared to competitors like Chef or Puppet, it’s gained quite a favorable reputation amongst DevOps professionals for its straightforward operations and simple management capabilities.

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Foreman vs. SaltStack

The configuration management (CM) stage is seeing a lively assortment of players as of late. Fueled by the zeitgeist of DevOps, tools are experiencing growing pains and/or maturing into full-fledged commercial enterprise offerings, for better or worse. Some are slowly encroaching on others’ territory; many are going head-to-head. Others have a more nebulous arrangement-- they may work together but also sport competing features. Foreman and SaltStack is an example of the latter.

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Ansible vs. Ansible Tower

Ansible is a newish CM tool and orchestration engine developed and released in 2012 by its eponymous company (previously called AnsibleWorks). Unlike several other CM apps, Ansible does not utilize a master-and-minions setup – this is the main difference between it and the other big boys in the CM arena Puppet, Chef, CFEngine and Salt.

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Top 5 Best and Worst Attributes of Chef

As we move full-swing into what InformationAge is calling The Year of DevOps Culture, we thought it appropriate to look at some of our favorite DevOps tools and highlight their strongest attributes and perceived shortcomings. A plethora of solutions for configuration management and infrastructure provisioning is available these days-- Puppet, Chef, Ansible, and Salt are a few notable options. Chef is one of the more popular of the bunch, so we’ve put together a list of what we consider its top 5 best and worst attributes.

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5 Commonly Encountered Problems in Puppet Enterprise and How to Address Them

Puppet Enterprise is a great platform for automating the configuration and deployment of applications to servers, but as a sophisticated infrastructure management tool with numerous interconnected moving parts-- can be a challenge to troubleshoot when things go awry. This is especially true when dealing with cascading errors that are hard to isolate for resolution. What follows is a short list of some of the more common issues one may encounter, and a few tips on how to troubleshoot and resolve them.

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