As a new engineer, understanding the concept of Configuration Management (CM) is important for several reasons.
First, CM is a key component of cloud native application development. It is the process of maintaining consistent and accurate configurations across all components of an application, including servers, networks, and software. By understanding how CM works, you can build, deploy, and manage cloud-native applications more effectively.
Second, CM ensures greater consistency and reproducibility. By maintaining consistent configurations across all components of an application, it ensures the same configuration is used across different environments, and that the infrastructure can be easily recreated if necessary. This makes it easier to handle the increasing demand for more computing power and storage.
Third, CM promotes better collaboration and a DevOps culture. By maintaining consistent configurations across all components of an application, it becomes easier for different teams and developers to work together on the same application.
Fourth, CM allows for better tracking and version control of changes. By keeping the configurations in a CM tool, it allows for tracking changes and rollback if necessary.
In summary, as a new engineer, understanding the concept of CM is important because it is a key component of cloud native application development, ensures greater consistency and reproducibility, promotes better collaboration and a DevOps culture, and allows for better tracking and version control of changes. It is a powerful tool for building and deploying applications in a cloud environment, and is essential for any engineer working in the field today.
Here’s a list to get you started learning about configuration management. Note that some of these links may not be free and may require a subscription or payment. I receive no affiliate payments for these links.
- “An Introduction to Configuration Management” by DigitalOcean: https://www.digitalocean.com/community/tutorials/an-introduction-to-configuration-management
- “Fundamentals of Configuration Manager” by Microsoft: https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/mem/configmgr/core/understand/fundamentals
- “Configuration Management and the Cloud” by coursera: https://www.coursera.org/learn/configuration-management-cloud
- “Configuration Management with Ansible” by Ansible: https://www.ansible.com/use-cases/configuration-management
- “Configuration Management with Puppet” by puppet.com: https://www.puppet.com/blog/what-is-configuration-management
- “Configuration Management with Chef” by Chef: https://docs.chef.io/habitat/configuration_management/
- “Configuration Management in Kubernetes” by Kubernetes: https://kubernetes.io/docs/concepts/configuration/
- “5 Cloud-Native App Config Management Best Practices” by Container Journal: https://containerjournal.com/features/5-cloud-native-app-config-management-best-practices/
Videos to Watch
Configuration Management in 2020 and Beyond – Eric Sorenson
Cloud Native concepts are based on good architecture principles, such as declarative automation, continuous deployment, and observability. These principles emphasize short life cycles, high cardinality, and immutability, and have changed the way systems administration is done.
Possible Learning Path
Hands-on experience: Start by setting up a simple Kubernetes cluster and experimenting with different configuration management tools such as Kubernetes Resource Configs, ConfigMaps, and Secrets. This can be done by following tutorials and guides, and deploying these tools on a cloud platform like AWS, Azure, or GCP.
Theoretical learning: Once you have a basic understanding of configuration management, you can begin to explore the underlying concepts and technologies such as Kubernetes API objects, YAML manifests, and declarative configuration. This can be done through online resources such as tutorials, courses, and documentation provided by Kubernetes, as well as books and blogs on the topic.
Understanding the principles and best practices: Configuration management is an important aspect of a microservices architecture, so it’s important to understand the key principles and best practices of configuration management such as separation of concerns, immutability, and version control.
Joining a community: Joining a community of Kubernetes enthusiasts will help you connect with other people who are learning and working with configuration management for Kubernetes. This can be done through online forums, meetups, and social media groups.
Practice, practice, practice: As with any new technology, the best way to learn is by doing. The more you practice deploying and using configuration management tools in a Kubernetes cluster, the more comfortable and proficient you will become with the technology.
A Note from the Architect
In traditional IT systems, configuration management is often done manually, which can be time-consuming and error-prone. It can be a real pain to keep track of all the different configurations and make sure they’re up-to-date across all the servers.
But in Kubernetes, configuration management is built into the platform and can be easily managed using Kubernetes resources like ConfigMaps and Secrets. Just keep in mind that Kubernetes does not encrypt secrets, so it is recommended to use Vault for this purpose. This makes it much more efficient and reliable.
One of the main advantages of using configuration management in Kubernetes is that it allows you to easily manage and update configurations across all the components of your application. This includes environment variables, database connection strings, and other sensitive information.
Moreover, version control can be used for configurations, which makes it possible to roll back changes if something goes wrong (again, secrets should not be stored in the source code repository). This is especially beneficial in a production environment, where mistakes can have serious consequences.
Additionally, by keeping configurations in code, the process of updating and deploying them can be automated, making it easier to manage and maintain over time.
In conclusion, configuration management in Kubernetes enables efficient and reliable management of configurations across all components of an application, as well as version control and automation of configurations. It is like having a personal assistant who keeps all configurations organized and up-to-date, without needing to manually update them.