With written contribution by Frank Hunt (AMS Cloud Presales)
Regaining trust in a cloud services requires restoring its configuration back to the current state and reapplying only the authorized patches and changes—and then retesting any impacted cloud services. If you have hundreds or thousands of VM’s and hundreds of applications, databases and servers, this is a costly project. It requires the manual analysis of an untold number of lines system logs, patches and release updates just to understand each application’s current configuration and its dependencies between software elements. This is a long and tedious problem that is fraught with errors and typically results in unplanned downtime for users.
But, what if you could automatically detect and remove undesired changes and return all of your cloud services to a compliant state based on business policies? What if you had a systematic log of all changes, who made them, and when they were made? Automated policy-based configuration management provides a log of all server configuration changes and those that need to be executed to return your cloud from the “the current state” to a “desired state.” They can be adjusted and modified in every aspect, to suit the customers need and standards. Policies are part of the domains that HP Server Automation (SA) addresses, which includes:
Application software provisioning
Audit and compliance
HP Server Automation uses policies to build and control the complexity of software deployment, initial configuration of the software, changes - updates - patches and decommissioning of software. This is all possible from bare metal, network boot (PXE) or CD/image based deployment scenarios. As HP SA allows this against live servers and server snapshots, an organization can then perform enterprise-wide mass updates or audit runs to verify that all system are up-to-date on the latest company standards. The audit capabilities of SA, based on the policy information and the compliance information, can produce ad-hoc or automated reports about the discrepancy between current state (reality) and the desired state (plan). This can be or one server/application, a group, one standard type of server/application or system wide.
Policies of policies can be created within SA, which is an extremely powerful capability, so the OS install is controlled by a policy, another set of policies defines the security (hardening) of the system. The administrator can make two policies depending on the situation. If the system is installed the security is applied a non-compliant system would fail compliance checks and audits. Other policies can define the network configuration, devices specifics, service configuration, application specific configurations, disks configuration, kernel parameter, and on and on.
In the “just in time” world of cloud operations, admins are logging-in to virtual machines and applying “tweaks” to fix one problem—only to have users call in because of causes a new problem that was created. No amount of investment in backup and failover technology can prevent mismanaged server images and templates, let alone unauthorized application changes and undetected security holes. With HP’s policy-based configuration management—you can be safe at high speeds and keep your cloud under control with HP.
HP Server Automation Standard – 30 day trial
With Server Automation Standard, you get a platform that manages Linux and Microsoft environments, including the ability to run compliance scans, apply patches and establish daily activities to manage compliance drift. If you’re interested in the impact automation can have, be sure to check out the HP Server Automation Standard 30-Day trial.
Evaluate for yourself the productivity benefits of automation. It just takes three hours (or less) to install and configure a server automation platform that typically will save your organization $30,000 in an average month.