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When designing a new infrastructure, weaving configuration management within it is a natural solution nowadays.
However, there are many systems in the wild that are still manually managed, if managed at all; mission critical servers that can’t be shut down, systems that runs proprietary software which depend on out-of-date databases, … They may even have been configured using forgotten conventions (that can be different on different iteration of systems).
Using configuration automation tools on these system can seem like an impossible task, but it is not, and the efforts are really worth the benefits.
This talk will present feedback from a couple of projects I’ve worked on, describing how to manage these “existing, manual and critical” systems automatically, most specifically the reverse engineering of existing systems (compiling all documents, inventorying systems, devising the rules, auditing deviations), and the steps to managing them automatically.