Open Source client management for Windows and Linux with opsi

von Detlef Oertel (uib gmbh), Niko Wenselowski (uib gmbh)

opsi is an open source client management system for windows clients based on linux server for more than ten years. Now opsi introduces also the support for Linux clients. This support is distribution independent and covers Debian, Ubuntu, Suse, RedHat/CentOS. The client management opsi provides the functionality: automatic OS installation, Software deployment, manipulating configuration files and inventory.

This lection gives at first an overview about opsi and a short view on how Windows clients are managed by opsi. In the second part we take a closer look on how the management of the Linux clients is designed. The automatic OS installation starts with the network boot of the generic opsi-bootimage. Based on this bootimage the hard disk is prepared and a base file system of the target Linux OS is installed from the original RPM or DEB packages.

On this minimal but network enabled base system, we first install the opsi-linux-client-agent, which is responsible for the further installation and configuration of software. This client-agent consists of two parts: a daemon which starts the event driven management actions and the action processor 'opsi-script'. The events may be internal triggered events like system start up or timer events. Also external triggered events can be handled, that come through the JSON-RPC control interface of the opsi client daemon. The second part of the client-agent, the action processor 'opsi-script', is a small script interpreter which provides some powerful commands for system management and communication with the opsi-server, but also makes it easy to integrate calls to external scripts written in different script languages.

The idea of the opsi-script language will be presented by showing some simple examples about software installation and configuration. The inventory is implemented by just using these tools as packages, that do not install anything but collect information and send it to the opsi-server. All the information about the Configuration and the Hard- and Software can be used by external systems like ITIL-CMDBs. So opsi has interfaces to the OTRS-CMDB and the ITOMIG-CMDB. In addition the data on the opsi server may be monitored by nagios (or a derivate) to build up a software deployment monitoring.

opsi is a commercial open source software, which is maintained by the uib gmbh in Mainz. So not all parts of the new Linux support are open source from the first day. Also the business model to make it all open source in a while is explained. The lection ends with a view to the roadmap of opsi in general and the Linux support in special. The lection is a mixed presentation of slides, live examples and fast motion videos.

Über den Autor Detlef Oertel:

Detlef Oertel, born 1960, graduated with an PhD in 1992. Since 1995 Detlef is managing Director of uib gmbh with a focus on Client Management. He is a member of the opsi team with the roles support and training, opsi-script developer, and project leader Linux support.

Über den Autor Niko Wenselowski:

Niko Wenselowski is part of the opsi development team at uib gmbh. He has an focus on server components and Python libraries. He is passionate about Python, software development and automated testing. In his free time he organises a Python user group, likes to play computer games and is a hobby triathlete.