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GigaOm Radar for Configuration Management v1.0

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. Market Categories and Deployment Types
  3. Key Criteria Comparison
  4. GigaOm Radar
  5. Vendor Insights
  6. Analyst’s Take
  7. About Michael J. Levan

Summary

The deployment of infrastructure traditionally has been a manual process. That was acceptable when infrastructure was relatively static, with minor changes and upgrades happening every few months or years. With the advent of the public cloud and the adoption of accelerated development practices, infrastructure is no longer just a static resource to which operating systems and applications are deployed. Applications are dynamic and scalable, and the infrastructure that serves them must follow suit.

Thus, companies began to take advantage of configuration management (CM), a process that uses text-based configuration and APIs to manage the state of deployed resources, usually at the operating system or software application level. Fundamentally, CM tools ensure a system maintains a chosen configuration and keeps it in line.

It is important to differentiate here between configuration management tools and Infrastructure as Code (IaC). Some might argue that configuration management tools such as Chef, Puppet, or Ansible are different from those used to provision infrastructure and should not be utilized in this circumstance. Instead, provisioning infrastructure tools such as Terraform and Cloud Formation are more appropriate.

While it is useful to consider IaC and CM separately, there are similarities. IaC tools can deploy applications and CM tools can create cloud resources. With both sets of tools offering comparable functions, it can be easy to misunderstand which kind of tool to choose for a particular undertaking.

Configuration management tools are chosen typically to manage servers, both virtualized and in the cloud, to ensure the appropriate configurations (related to, for example, the installation of applications) are present in the environment. The ability to do this for any cloud or virtualization environment will play a big role in deciding which one to choose.

The goal of the Configuration Management radar is to evaluate where vendors stand with regard to features, scalability, ease of use, and market share. This GigaOm Radar report analyzes the top CM platforms in the market, weighs the key criteria and evaluation metrics used to assess these solutions, and identifies important technologies to consider for the future. The report provides an overview of the leading platforms and recognizes platforms that excel in particular categories.

How to Read this Report

This GigaOm report is one of a series of documents that helps IT organizations assess competing solutions in the context of well-defined features and criteria. For a fuller understanding consider reviewing the following reports:

Key Criteria report: A detailed market sector analysis that assesses the impact that key product features and criteria have on top-line solution characteristics—such as scalability, performance, and TCO—that drive purchase decisions.

GigaOm Radar report: A forward-looking analysis that plots the relative value and progression of vendor solutions along multiple axes based on strategy and execution. The Radar report includes a breakdown of each vendor’s offering in the sector.

Solution Profile: An in-depth vendor analysis that builds on the framework developed in the Key Criteria and Radar reports to assess a company’s engagement within a technology sector. This analysis includes forward-looking guidance around both strategy and product.

Full report available to GigaOm Subscribers.

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