Simplifying server management with server groups

Managing cloud server security can seem intimidating, but with Halo you can manage servers in groups with similar needs, rather than one-by-one.  It may seem counter-intuitive, but the management of these sprawling cloud server environments can actually make your life easier.

For example, let’s say your company maintains multiple public facing Web servers. Each serves up different content, but all of the Web servers run on the same operating system, run the same software and are exposed to the same level of risk from the Internet. Note the servers have more similarities than differences. If we leverage their commonality to manage them as a collective group, we can dramatically simplify their management. So group management can save you time as well as help to ensure consistency. With this in mind, this post will walk you though creating server groups within Halo.

How to create groups

If you have already installed daemons on your servers, they should appear as part of the “All Servers” group as shown in Figure 1. If you haven’t installed any daemons yet, see the Getting Started tutorial.

To create a server group, simply go to your Halo dashboard and click “Add New Group” in the servers column.  You’ll be presented with a window like Figure 2.In this example, I have 10 servers with the Halo daemon installed – some of them are web servers, some are database servers. The Web servers are all running the same software, and will all be Internet accessible. The database servers however should only be accessible to specific administrators as well as the Web servers themselves. Note that the Web servers and the database servers have different security requirements. With this in mind, I’ll create a group for each category.  That way, I can make changes across the whole group of servers, regardless of size, IP address changes, or hosting providers.  This also simplifies administration by allowing administrators to manage a group of servers, rather than one server at a time.

You are presented with the option to set your policies from the start — don’t worry, if you still need to create some policies, you can always come back and make changes.  Give your group a name, click Save, and you’re off to the races!  If you want to switch the policies that are applied to a group, click on the group’s name and then “Edit Details” to reach the window like Figure 2 again.

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