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Designing a scalable framework for declarative automation on distributed systems

by   J. Lowell Wofford, et al.

As distributed systems grow in scale and complexity, the need for flexible automation of systems management functions also grows. We outline a framework for building tools that provide distributed, scalable, declarative, modular, and continuous automation for distributed systems. We focus on four points of design: 1) a state-management approach that prescribes source-of-truth for configured and discovered system states; 2) a technique to solve the declarative unification problem for a class of automation problems, providing state convergence and modularity; 3) an eventual-consistency approach to state synchronization which provides automation at scale; 4) an event-driven architecture that provides always-on state enforcement. We describe the methodology, software architecture for the framework, and constraints for these techniques to apply to an automation problem. We overview a reference application built on this framework that provides state-aware system provisioning and node lifecycle management, highlighting key advantages. We conclude with a discussion of current and future applications.


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