In our developer meeting, Richard B talked about orchestration tools, reporting back on his evaluation of Chef, Puppet, Ansible and Salt.
The full details are in the slides that he produced, attached below. The high-level summary is that he thinks that Ansible is most appropriate for our purposes. Ansible playbooks let us set up repeatable scripts for provisioning a server – so the server setup instructions that we currently write can be replaced by an executable and testable script. The main downsides for us are that Amazon Linux doesn’t work well with Ansible, and that we will need to create modules from scratch for some of the software that we use such as MarkLogic.
Richard has set up one of our current projects to work with Ansible, and we will experiment with using Ansible for new projects.