I'm planning on using an increasing number of Raspberry Pi's to perform simple tasks around the house; especially the RPi Zero W seems to be great for my purposes. I'm planning on using Raspbian on these machines.

I need to keep these devices up-to-date and healthy, and install their task-specific software (probably mainly Python applications I've written).

A separate (x86-based) server will be used for management purposes, but I don't really know which management system to choose. Popular choices seem to be Puppet and Chef, but I've also read about Ansible and SaltStack.

I'm looking for:

  • A user-friendly management (web-) interface (I'm thinking along the lines of Ubiquiti UniFi)
  • Simple creation of custom software packages
  • Easy to run system updates
  • A simple way to manage which packages are installed on which device
  • Some sort of reporting, preferably with e-mail alerts

I've read some comparisons, but I can't really work out which would work best for my situation, as most comparisons tend to focus on more complex situations.

  • The Pi Zero W consumes 120mA. Depending on what "simple" tasks it does, that's quite much. You'll hardly be able to power it with batteries. Have you had a look at the ESP32? In deep sleep mode it can be down at 4mA. – Thomas Weller Jan 7 '18 at 0:42
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    @ThomasWeller I have a few ESP8266-based devices as well, and while they do extremely simple stuff pretty well, I don't like developing software for them. It's just too cumbersome when I want to quickly change some stuff I have to recompile and re-flash the device. On a Pi, I can simply change some stuff with SSH and re-start the service I changed to test it. And to put that power consumption into perspective: running a Pi Zero W will cost me less than one euro per year. – Marten Jacobs Jan 7 '18 at 8:51
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    @ThomasWeller I'm also not planning to run anything on batteries at the moment. Most of the times, the location of the Pi will not matter much, or I have a power source nearby. When a situation occurs where I would like to use batteries, I will probably look into using an ESP-module for that. – Marten Jacobs Jan 7 '18 at 8:59
  • Ok, thanks for the answers. I just wanted to be sure you develop the right thing. Unfortunately I can't help with a software recommendation. Looking forward to see an answer here – Thomas Weller Jan 7 '18 at 15:01

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