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yum installation management.

Like lots of users out there, my company used to use Red Hat Network to support our boxes. One of the things i really liked about RHN was that you could remotely administer a bunch of servers fairly easily without having to log onto each machine to check for updates or to install updates. I'm aware that Yum and others packages can be run from cron to automatically install packages. However, if you want a little bit more control over what you install and when you install them, I haven't seen something out there that suits me.

I spent some time whipping up a little system that is similar to RHN. The administration is from a web page where you can view which components on your servers are out of date and request that the remotely administered systems update certain packages. Each of the remotely administered systems checks in with the central database and updates packages that it's been requested to update. The administered boxes also notify the central server when if finds new packages that should be updated.

The system is written entirely in perl, and has three components. There is one mod_perl program running on the webserver, and two client programs that run on each of the administered boxes. One of the clients performs the updates, and the other client checks nightly to see if there are new packages that need updating. All of the state is stored in a backend SQL database. I'm using postgresql, but as it's a fairly simple system using basic SQL, i have no doubts that mysql could easily be used too.

So, before i go on and on about this slightly off topic email I wanted to find out if other people might be interested in a system like this that they could use in their own installations. I'd like to make this project open, but don't really know how many people would find such a system useful. So, the purpose of this email is to gauge if there is any interest in such a project and to let people know about it.

If you have any interest is a project like this, I would love to talk to you and get your ideas.

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