After we developed our own plugin for the integration of the SUSE Customer Center in June and massively improved the SUSE support of orcharhino, support for Debian-based systems was at the top of our agenda.
In addition to Debian itself, we also count Linux distributions using the „deb“ package format, i. e. distributions like Ubuntu or Linux Mint, as Debian-based systems.
But what exactly are the news here? Up to now you could install Debian systems with orcharhino and configure them using Puppet, Ansible or SaltStack. Because the Debian package management for Debian did not yet exist in orcharhino, it was not possible to implement the lifecycle management for Debian servers via orcharhino. However, this feature is the elementary part of our orcharhino story: Deployment, Patch Management, Configuration Management.
It is essential for an administrator to retain control over which packages are made available in which version for the respective servers of the different lifecycle environments such as development, testing and production. This is the only way to ensure that the correct packages and versions are installed on a server and, if necessary, updated via Patch Management.
We have invested a lot of time and energy in the last few months to make this missing piece of the puzzle available to our customers. With the Tech Preview Release on the occasion of our Open Source Automation Day (http://www.osad-munich.de) we have closed this gap. With this feature we not only extend our build system significantly, but we have also written many lines of code for open source projects such as Pulp, Katello and Runcible to integrate our Debian extensions.
But enough of words. Surely now you want to see how the package management for Debian is implemented.
Similar to RPM-based systems, you first need a product. Different repositories can then be added to the product – such as „yum“,“puppet“ or „deb“ for Debian based systems. What needs to be considered with „deb“ is that the URLs of the repositories are always the same and a distinction is made between „Component“,“Release“,“Architecture“ via a filter.
After adding the repository, you have to synchronize it. All Debian packages will be downloaded from the upstream repository, which are also in accordance with the filters for „Component“, „Release“ and „Architecture“.
Content View now implements lifecycle management. After creating a new content view, you select different repositories that are managed within this content view. You can combine different types of repositories into one content view. We have added the type „deb repositories“ here. In this tab you can see a list of repositories already assigned to the content view. On the other hand, you can assign further repositories.
As usual, you have to publish this content view via „Publish“ and later assign it to the respective lifecycle environment via „Promote“. And thats it for our first release of Debian support – almost. A brief comment on the use of the content view: For RPM-based systems, you are used to having an activation key to access the provided content views. This is also the point we want to reach with Debian. Unfortunately, it doesn’t yet work as elegantly as we would like, however we are working hard to get it done as quickly as possible.
We have created a way to use the content view anyway: A provisioning template, provided by us, manipulates the /etc/apt/sources. list of the Debian host during the installation and automatically enters the repositories of the content view. With our orcharhino web installer this Provisioning Template is automatically installed. It also ensures that the Debian host gets only the packages in the versions provided by the content view of its lifecycle environment.
If you provision a new Debian host, the packages will be provided directly via orcharhino. Of course, the configuration files for Debian, Ubuntu and other Debian-based systems can also be managed via Ansible, puppet or SaltStack.
In the future we want to manage the Debian systems analogous to CentOS, Redhat or SuSE. Debian support is still at the top of our roadmap in the ATIX AG development team. We will continue to work with the Foreman / Katello community to provide the best possible Debian support for our customers in orcharhino.