Microsoft points PowerShell at Penguinistas

Desired State Configuration tool spans Windows and Linux

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In yet another sign that Microsoft is a very different animal these days, the company has released PowerShell DSC (desired state configuration) for Linux.

PowerShell DSC is a server configuration tool that has hitherto driven Windows Server boxen. But Microsoft's now decided it has a “commitment to common management of heterogeneous assets in your datacenter or the public cloud”, so has added Linux-wrangling features to the tool.

The new code can cope with CentOS, Debian GNU/Linux, Oracle Linux, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, and Ubuntu Server. Once you get it up and running you can enjoy the following tools:

  • nxArchive:ensure that an archive (.tar, .zip) is extracted to a destination directory whenever the archive file is updated. This is particularly useful in continuous deployment scenarios.
  • nxEnvironment: manage environment variables
  • nxFile: manage files and directories. Control permissions (mode) and the existence of files or directories, sync the contents of a directory or file from a source to a destination, define the contents of a file, and more. The source for synchronization options can be a local path or an HTTP, HTTPS, or FTP URL for centralized distribution of configuration files or application content.
  • nxFileLine: ensure that a file contains a specific line and/or does not contain lines matching a given pattern. This is very useful for setting application or operating system configuration in configuration files.
  • nxGroup: manage local Linux user groups.
  • nxPackage: manage the installation state for Linux packages. Packages can be managed through the computer’s package manager (Yum, Apt, Zypper) or with standalone (.rpm/.deb) packages from a local path or FTP or web site.
  • nxScript: manage configuration with custom scripts.
  • nxService:manage services (daemons) and control their enabled and current run states
  • nxSshAuthorizedKeys: manage the defined ssh Authorized Keys (public keys) for a user account
  • nxUser: manage local Linux users

Microsoft's promising to add more tools to the PowerShell DSC resource on GitHub, the creation of which is also a bit of a big change for Microsoft as extra bits for PowerShell used to appear on TechNet. PowerShell DSC (desired state configuration) for Linux needs the Open Management Infrastructure (OMI), a requirement Microsoft is positioning as a commitment to standards and yet another sign that it's not a big, bad, Windows-centric steerer-towards-proprietary software kind of company any more. It's certainly hard to imagine that Microsoft under Steve Ballmer would have entertained the idea of helping PowerShell users to administer Linux servers from within the tool. Whether those same admins are willing to move to PowerShell, instead of the the familiar tools they us to manage Linux, is another matter. The new tool can be found here. ®

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