Manage multiple servers with different operating systems, configurations, requirements etc. for many separate customers in an outsourcing model.
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README.md

Build Status

Server Farmer is a lightweight framework designed for companies, that manage many servers and services belonging to many different customers, but connected into a single managed platform.

As of 2018, Server Farmer has over 10 years of history of managing production servers (which is longer than in competing Chef framework), including over 3 years of being successful open source project. It was used to manage the infrastructure for over 160 customers, consisted of over 650 physical/virtual servers and containers, located in multiple data centers, in almost 10 major cities in Poland, at least 2 cities in Germany, and over 140 cloud instances hosted by Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Rackspace Cloud, physically located across the whole world.

Documentation

You can find a lot more information at http://serverfarmer.org/ project page:

  1. Main page
  2. Business overview (for non-technical users)
  3. Key concepts
  4. Monitoring features
  5. Project history
  6. Getting started
  7. Cloud platforms
  8. Cloud integration
  9. Configuration settings
  10. List of extensions

If you have any technical or non-technical questions about Server Farmer, for which you can't find an answer on the project home page, feel free to write to support@serverfarmer.org. We will try either to respond you directly, or publish an answer on the page, or directly fix any reported issues.

Advantages of Server Farmer over managing individual servers

No matter if you manage just a single server, or hundreds of them, installing Server Farmer gives you many advantages over default OS configuration:

  • consistent and reliable tools to manage many servers at once (or one by one)
  • improved server security in various areas
  • several monitoring and alerting capabilities
  • automatic, possibly encrypted backups
  • working MTA configuration (your servers are now able to send emails)
  • central logging configuration (all logs are stored and processed in one place, enhancing security of your infrastructure)
  • hardened network stack, immune from participation in DDoS attacks

Differences between Server Farmer and competitive tools

The main difference between Server Farmer and the competitive tools (mostly Puppet, Chef, Ansible, Salt and CFEngine) is that Server Farmer is designed to manage a completely heterogeneous environment, where servers:

  • are owned by many different companies
  • have different operating systems
  • have different configurations
  • have different installed services and applications
  • have different system users, groups and permissions
  • have different roles and purposes

To achieve that, Server Farmer is mainly focused on low-level server security aspects, and doesn't try to cover the application level at all. As opposite, most mentioned tools mentioned tools focus mainly on the application level, providing more-or-less complete "Infrastructure As Code" frameworks.

Advantages of Server Farmer over competitive tools

Most server management tools (Puppet, Chef etc.) are designed with corporate mindset ("where the money is"), and follow "one managed application/customer - one instance" model, which is suitable mainly for big companies, with lots of servers and big applications. Such model is however obviously too expensive for companies that have 1-5 servers overall.

As opposite to that model, Server Farmer is built from ground up to manage many customers, applications etc. using only one instance shared across all customers, which is much cheaper, in both technical resources (servers, repositories etc.), and man-hours.

Server Farmer basic configuration can be set up just in a few minutes and then extended, when your server farm is growing. You can also implement your own functional extensions (just like Ansible playbooks or Chef recipes, but much more simple), that will cover completely new functionalities - or you can use Server Farmer with Ansible, whichever better fits your needs.

How to install Server Farmer on your first server

Server Farmer consists of over 60 Git repositories. But don't worry, you will need to fork only 2 of them (this one and sf-keys), and start with editing just one small file: scripts/functions.custom.

After forking, clone this repository to /opt/farm directory on your server:

git clone https://github.com/your-github-login/serverfarmer /opt/farm

Then run setup.sh script and just follow the simple on-screen instructions:

/opt/farm/setup.sh

How to deploy Server Farmer into cloud

Server Farmer supports the following public cloud providers:

  • Amazon EC2
  • Beyond e24cloud.com
  • Google Compute Engine
  • Hetzner Cloud (and also Hetzner "classic" dedicated servers)
  • Microsoft Azure
  • Rackspace Cloud
  • any cloud service based on OpenStack (including public, private and hybrid clouds)

(see the full manual)

Initial setup:

  • choose a server for the farm manager role (no special requirements, except that all management extensions are tested mainly on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, 16.04 LTS and 18.04 LTS)
  • install Server Farmer on it, along with sf-farm-manager and sf-farm-provisioning extensions (preferably also sf-backup-collector and sf-farm-inspector)
  • install Cloud Farmer on it and configure it, providing your cloud API keys and other details (interactively)
git clone https://github.com/serverfarmer/cloudfarmer /opt/cloud
  • creating new cloud instance
/opt/cloud/create.sh ec2 test_key1 m4.xlarge
  • deploy Server Farmer on created instance
sf-provision ec2-54-123-45-67.compute-1.amazonaws.com /etc/local/.ssh/id_ec2_test_key1 test_profile

Compatible operating systems

The below list contains only distribution versions with 100% compatibility. If your OS is not on this list, but is any Debian/RHEL derivative, Server Farmer will most probably support it at least partially.

  • Debian:

    • Debian 4.x (Etch)
    • Debian 5.x (Lenny)
    • Debian 6.x (Squeeze)
    • Debian 7.x (Wheezy)
    • Debian 8.x (Jessie)
    • Debian 9.x (Stretch)
  • Ubuntu:

    • Ubuntu 8.04 LTS (Hardy Heron)
    • Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope)
    • Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (Lucid Lynx)
    • Ubuntu 10.10 (Maverick Meerkat)
    • Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise Pangolin)
    • Ubuntu 13.10 (Saucy Salamander)
    • Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr) - server/desktop/cloud
    • Ubuntu 15.04 (Vivid Vervet)
    • Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) - server/cloud
    • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) - server/cloud
  • Debian/Ubuntu clones:

    • Devuan Jessie (based on Debian 8.x)
    • Devuan ASCII (based on Debian 9.x)
    • DirectAdmin installed on Debian 8.x (Jessie)
    • Linux Mint 17.x (based on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS)
    • openATTIC 1.2 (based on Debian 7.x)
    • Proxmox VE 2.x (based on Debian 6.x)
    • Proxmox VE 3.x (based on Debian 7.x)
    • Zentyal Server 3.4 (based on Ubuntu 13.10)
    • Zentyal Server 4.1 (based on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS)
    • Zentyal Server 5.0 (based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS)
  • RHEL and direct clones:

    • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.x
    • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.x
    • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.x
    • CentOS 5.x
    • CentOS 6.x
    • CentOS 7.x
    • Oracle Linux 6.x - tested with Oracle Database 10g2, 11g, 11g2, 12c
    • Oracle Linux 7.x - tested with Oracle Database 11g2, 12c
  • specialized RHEL clones:

    • cPanel / WHM 11.x (based on CentOS 6.4-6.6)
    • Elastix 2.5 (based on CentOS 5.x)
    • Elastix 4.0 (based on CentOS 7.x)
    • Elastix MT 3.0 (based on CentOS 6.x)
  • hardware appliances:

    • Raspbian 8.x (Jessie) on Raspberry Pi
    • Debian all versions listed above since 6.x (Squeeze) on QNAP with ARM CPU
    • QNAP QTS 4.x (limited compatilibty, without central management)
  • other systems:

    • FreeBSD 9.x
    • FreeBSD 10.x
    • NetBSD 6.x
    • openSUSE 13.x

How to contribute

We are welcome to contributions of any kind: bug fixes, added code comments, support for new operating system versions or hardware etc.

If you want to contribute:

  • fork this repository and clone it to your machine
  • create a feature branch and do the change inside it
  • push your feature branch to github and create a pull request

License

Author: Tomasz Klim (opensource@tomaszklim.pl)
Copyright: Copyright 2008-2018 Tomasz Klim
License: MIT

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.

THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS", WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NONINFRINGEMENT. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHORS OR COPYRIGHT HOLDERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES OR OTHER LIABILITY, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE, ARISING FROM, OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE SOFTWARE OR THE USE OR OTHER DEALINGS IN THE SOFTWARE.