But amazingly there is no clear consensus within the community. With the lack of a recognized industry standard to lean on, that means the first step in the saga is research. Exhaustive, over-the-top research. The first step is to figure out who the players in the game really are.
- BCFG2 - an open source application from Argonne National Laboratories, it purports itself to be the closest thing to a true "diff & patch" solution for systems-management as there can be out there.
- Puppet - While there's not a standard, Puppet is the closest thing Linux has to one. With the biggest part of the market-share, it's open-source, but you can buy support (a la the Redhat business model).
- CFEngine - the "granddaddy" of the group, Puppet was created off of the basis of CFEngine. This product has both community and paid versions (a la MySQL)
- Chef - Definitely the newest member of the club, Chef describes itself as "running programs instead of issuing commands".
- Homebrew - The good old, tried and untested, rsync and scp and pyfab and Lord-knows-what-else conglomeration that we all have tried, but none of of admit to in public.
- RH Satellite / Fedora Spacewalk - the Redhat/Fedora Project System Administration Apparatus