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Old 4th April 2009
WaBBiT WaBBiT is offline
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Question Best way to manage multiple freebsd servers?

Hi,
I currently have 6 freebsd servers doing different tasks, but i'm tired of managing them.. Some are x86 and others are sparc64..

I recently began renewing my serverpark and thought it had to be a better way to manage them!

So my plan is now to set up 1 sparc64 server with freebsd to act as gateway/firewall and use this server as the main server to administer all the others if it is possible. To begin with, I'll just have 2 more sparc64 servers (That's a total of 3 servers) in the network serving different needs.

I'm starting from scratch so what is the best way to manage these 3 servers (and easily add more x86/sparc64 servers) in terms of ports tree/sources/patches etc. ? How should I begin? Begin with the gateway setting it up as a nfs server? or ? (Couldn't find anything on google)

Is it possible to manage all config files in /etc and /usr/local/etc in all 3 servers from the main server? (the gateway)

Can I monitor load and uptime and manage users on different servers across the network from the gateway, and still have a secure network?

I'm guessing it should be possible to make the gateway a nfs server and serve /usr/ports and sources, but how do I manage the different kernels ? The network will consist of both sparc64 and x86..


Sorry for my bad english and thanks in advance for answers
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Old 4th April 2009
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Being fortunate, I've only the care of my home machines (3 workstations, 1 server), and remotely a pair of servers from afar, to worry about over such things.


When it comes to updates via source, you can do the compiles on a suitable machine and then network mount /usr/src and /usr/obj on the other servers - a similar arrangement can be done with /usr/ports/packages, or the entire ports tree. /etc/make.conf can be setup to build a number of kernels with the KERNCONF directrive (KERNCONF=conf1 conf2 conf3 ...), and the other servers can choose which to install if they need different kernels. (see make.conf(5) for details).

When it comes to the feasibility of cross compiling on a sparc64 for an x86 and vice versa, that I'll leave to someone else to answer - because I only have access to x86-32 / x86-64 chips here. You will at least be able to share between systems of the same architecture.


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Originally Posted by WaBBiT View Post
Is it possible to manage all config files in /etc and /usr/local/etc in all 3 servers from the main server? (the gateway)
Use a version control system. FreeBSD provides SCCS, RCS, and CVS in the base. Something like git or bazaar-ng (bzr) might be more suitable in some situations, but CVS should be suitable. Your main server (or a delegate) would host the central repository, from which the others would checkout from. The details depend on how your software. In a few weeks/months when I set this up on my own boxes, it'll be driven by git and ssh.

Version control systems can be tricky at first, but once learned are all very simple gizmos.
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