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I am looking into building up a network of Windows machines into a cloud-like offering. There will be multiple services and applications hosted on these machines, and with growing load additional machines need to be added and run additional instances of these scalable services and applications. With services I mean e.g. web services, resources that can be consumed by other systems. With applications I mean independently running processes that act on their own (and may consume web services).

You rightfully may ask why I won't just use a PaaS offering like Windows Azure, which does all that for me. The reason is that I need to use physical machines, e.g. to make use of GPU capabilities, which is still a very poorly developed and expensive offering in the cloud.

What I would like this "fabric" management software to do is

  1. Monitor existing instances (up/down status, load, resource usage, etc.).
  2. Deploy and activate/deactivate services and applications.
  3. Ideally, it could manage multiple versions of those services and applications so that I can quickly roll back from new to previous versions in case of quality issues.
  4. I'm pretty sure such a solution requires an agent running on each machine, which is fine, but it would be nice if this agent-based fabric is firewall-friendly (e.g. only need to open up one port).

Any ideas? Am I asking for the moon?

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    One software I found so far is the EMCO Remote Installer, emcosoftware.com/remote-installer. What I don't like about it at all is that it requires numerous Windows services and open ports to function. I think this will make securing those Internet-accessible machines a lot more difficult. – Christoph Oct 14 '16 at 2:53
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I think that it would be worth you taking a look at GRR Rapid Response which consists of a python client on each machine and python server infrastructure that can manage and talk to the agent.

  • As a python based tool your client machines can be Windows, OS-X or Linux.
  • Free, gratis & open source.
  • The server side requires 64bit Ubuntu Xenial but you can run from a Docker image at least for testing.
  • Allows file transfers to/from target machines
  • Allows configuration of target machines
  • Allows diagnostics of target machines
  • Except for the server-side Linux requirement this really seems to be doing what I was looking for. Especially the security seems to be a lot better / easier to maintain than with the EMCO tool. As first poster you'll get the "Answer" bonus. – Christoph Oct 14 '16 at 20:13

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