Bcfg2 helps system administrators produce a consistent, reproducible, and verifiable description of their environment, and offers visualization and reporting tools to aid in day-to-day administrative tasks. It is the fifth generation of configuration management tools developed in the Mathematics and Computer Science Division of Argonne National Laboratory.
It is based on an operational model in which the specification can be used to validate and optionally change the state of clients, but in a feature unique to Bcfg2 the client's response to the specification can also be used to assess the completeness of the specification. Using this feature, Bcfg2 provides an objective measure of how good a job an administrator has done in specifying the configuration of client systems. Bcfg2 is therefore built to help administrators construct an accurate, comprehensive specification.
Bcfg2 has been designed from the ground up to support gentle reconciliation between the specification and current client states. It is designed to gracefully cope with manual system modifications.
Finally, due to the rapid pace of updates on modern networks, client systems are constantly changing; if required in your environment, Bcfg2 can enable the construction of complex change management and deployment strategies.
Bcfg2 is fairly portable. It has been successfully run on:
- AIX, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, Mac OS X, OpenSolaris, Solaris
- Many GNU/Linux distributions, including Alpine Linux, ArchLinux, Blag, CentOS, Debian, Fedora, Gentoo, gNewSense, Mandriva, openSUSE, Red Hat/RHEL, SuSE/SLES, Trisquel, and Ubuntu.
Bcfg2 should run on any POSIX compatible operating system, however direct support for an operating system's package and service formats are limited by the currently available client tools (new client tools are pretty easy to add). There is also an incomplete but more exact list of platforms on which Bcfg2 works.