ISconf: Theory, Practice, and Beyond
ISconf is a configuration management system (CMS) developed through years of experience automating configuration management. As the number of CMS's available for use increases, attempts have been made to explain why one should use ISconf instead of those other tools; specifically, a stark contrast has been made between tools which depend on convergence, like cfengine, and ISconf, which strives for congruence. This paper discusses production experience with ISconf, what was good and what was bad, and also analyses recently developed theories used to explain why ISconf might be superior to other tools. It further discusses experience integrating ISconf with cfengine, a process in direct conflict with the accepted ground rules for using ISconf. Based upon this experience, there are serious limitations in practical usage of ISconf, and proposed theories that support its use are insufficient and unconvincing. Although ISconf has been found to be a useful tool, it cannot be considered a sufficiently useful or powerful answer to arbitrary configuration management needs on its own.