"Server deployment systems, such as Kickstart, allow
administrators to configure most anything to be set after a server
is loaded. Kickstart is designed to install a set of packages, and
maybe configure a few users that should be able to login
immediately after the installation of the operating system. Indeed,
you can also copy in configuration files and turn Kickstart into a
robust system that sets up many network services on each server at
install time. Another school of thought on this matter exists,
"What happens after installation has completed? Immediately
afterward, you are in a known configuration state. Every
configuration file on the system is exactly as it was when you
copied it in using Kickstart. Immediately after that, the running
state of the machine is unknowable. A sysadmin could login and
"fix" something, changing files and not documenting the change. The
current running state of your Apache Web server, for example, very
likely has diverged since you first configured it.
"If the server were to crash, you might have backups of /etc/,
but the restore process is lengthy, manual, and error prone. Using
a proper configuration management system means that all changes to
the Apache configuration will be done in a central place, and then
pushed out to the server."
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