Thanks. All sounds reasonable.
So what kind of thing is it common to automate, or is this really bespoke to every individual setup? What are the prime candidates? Things I'm thinking of include:
- Software updating via package management (my systems are Fedora boxes so cron'ing yum would be a start) - or is it best to do these manually so you know exactly what is changing on your system? Or perhaps to exclude certain packages from yum update's and be forced to do them manually as required ??
- Backup routines - creating tarballs of each user's home dir and saving it off to a central backup location, plus backing up all the databases schemas and data
- Rsyncing backup data off to other servers for safe keeping
For server to server communication, I presume rsync is the tool of choice? Main benefits of using rsync as far as I know are that it tunnels through a secure connection such as SSH so there's no need to open additional ports on your firewalls etc, and that it only transfers the data that has changed etc, so that it massively conserves bandwidth. However, are there any security related or other concerns I should worry about if taking this approach?
Also, any ideas as to how it's possible to securely backup user information (and preferably passwords too) to another server without creating a big security hole, or is trying to do this a big no no ?? And what are the risks of storing backup data from server A on server B, if any?