Principle of Least Configuration
2020-02-03, 12:40–12:45, D Aud

This talk recounts the journey of developing a Linux platform to require very little in the way of configuration management, and how to virtually eliminate the need to modify code to change configuration. From configuration via scripts and evolving through a couple of configuration management products, we have used the idea of matching actions to timescales to transform how we do configuration management. We now do very little of it, and we have dramatically reduced its complexity.

Everyone's familiar with the Principal of Least Privilege, and we probably mostly agree with it.

In 2018, Mark Burgess' gave a talk at Config Management Camp, "A Brief History of Configuration - Managing Sprawl", which addressed the idea of timescales. This helped us to transform how we do configuration management, doing much less of it, and dramatically reducing the complexity of how we do it.

This talk is a brief journey through how we developed our platform to require very little in the way of ongoing configuration management, and how we virtually eliminated the need to change code to do it.

Jay Goldberg is a Unix greybeard since 1989. He used to develop the Unix operating system, then started down the system management path at Unix System Labs. He has been doing configuration management in some form since 1995. He has built and managed infrastructure at a number of investment banks and is currently working to keep Linux easy to manage at scale at Two Sigma, a New York financial services firm. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and daughter.

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