6 of the Best Free Linux Server Provisioning Tools
Server provisioning is a set of actions to prepare a server,
taking it from bare metal to a functioning system complete with an
operating system, data and software.
It does not take long for users to recognise that setting
up more than a couple of machines is extremely time consuming.
System administrators realise this extremely early in their
career. The ability to deploy additional servers or to replace
failed servers without fuss and bother is important if business
applications are to keep running, and the pressure falls squarely
on the system administrator. Server provisioning tools come to the
However, the difficulty is that operating systems have
thousands of components with different interfaces for different
components. This means that an automated provisioning tool is a complex
beast especially if you consider the tasks that are involved in
provisioning a server. These include the installation
of an operating system, kernel modules, middleware and applications.
Further, the organisation will want the system customized to their
requirements such as deploying machines with specific roles such as
web servers, email servers, with appropriate partitioning and packages.
The server will also need to be appropriately configured for the
Fortunately, there are a number of sophisticated tools
available for Linux that are adept in provisioning servers, offering
the ability to simultaneously set up thousands of machine unattended.
Kickstart was created to enable system administrations a way
of automating a Red Hat Enterprise Linux
installation. Cobbler is a project from Red Hat that offers turnkey
support for provisioning Kickstart files, and setting up the services
on the system.
To provide an insight into the quality of software available
for Linux, we have compiled a list of 6 desirable server provisioning
tools. We have ranked them in our order of preference, with FAI and
xCAT carrying our highest recommendation. Hopefully, there will be
something of interest here for any system administrator that needs to
set up many servers as quickly as possible.
Now, let's explore the 6 server provisioning tools at hand.
For each title we have compiled its own portal page, a full description
with an in-depth analysis of its features, screenshots, together with
links to relevant resources and reviews.
||High quality tool for fully automatic installation of
Cluster Administration Toolkit
||Systems management software developed by Red Hat
provisioning and profile management
||Software distribution and management system
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Last Updated Sunday, April 01 2012 @ 11:13 AM EDT