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Small IT Environments Should Practice Configuration Management Too

11.20.2011
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Sure, configuration management systems are a must in large IT environments, but what about small environments?  Do we really need them?

Yes, according to the SysAdmin blogger cwebber
When you don't have a lot of people in a smaller company, it helps that the configuration management code, such as the kind produced in Puppet or Chef, can be your documentation.  That'll help when you need to set up a similar system after the previous one ran into trouble.

A configured setup also makes it easy for new hires to come in and use the system properly, and it also makes it easy to back data up just the way you want it.

Then there's collaboration benefits:

With a configuration management system it becomes easy to share experiences and entirely configured environments. In these days of complex systems, I can give a colleague a sanitized, but complete, copy of how I am building out a new system to do whatever and they can help to troubleshoot not only problems with specific config files but with interactions between applications in the stacks that seem to frequently be deployed. Additionally, I can publish my sanitized config to something like GitHub orPuppetForge and share the things I have done with others that need to do the same. Likewise, instead of spending weeks trying to figure out how to get something setup, I can pull down someone else’s module or cookbook and get a running start.  --cwebber

There's an upfront cost in time, effort, and therefore money, but the time and money that you'll save afterward will pay for those costs many times over.

Source: http://cwebber.ucr.edu/2011/11/configuration-management-in-small-environments/