Managing Ubuntu with Canonical Landscape

Landscape Gardener

Unattended Software Update

Upgrade Profile automates updates and upgrades. The system differentiates between security updates and general software updates. To perform only security updates on customer servers, you first need to create a profile with an appropriate name, check Only security upgrades , then assign the profile to a computer group and specify the weekday and time at which to run the update.

Alternatively, you can set the schedule to hourly and set multiple weekdays or even choose random execution within a time window of x minutes before assigning the profile to all the computers in the group.

A second profile could define a weekly software upgrade for all your computers. In the lab, I unfortunately could not assign a tag-based profile to multiple or all computers; I would need to create the Upgrade Profile separately for each group in this case.

Not Full-Fledged Monitoring

For details on your systems, go to the Computers tab and select the machines in which you are interested. Landscape then shows you a very exhaustive list of the installed hardware and, below Monitoring , the details of the selected machine's load, including the overall load, memory, hard disks, and network.

If you need more or different information about the system, you can create your own shell scripts and run them in Landscape; however, this approach does not replace a regular monitoring solution because the output is only in the form of charts and cannot be processed downstream to support alerting (Figure 3).

Figure 3: Monitoring reveals the machine's status, and you can use shell scripts for custom monitoring.

The Processes tab shows a list of currently running processes, which you can select for killing kill processes . The list contains the PID, the user, the CPU load, and the status. If you want to add new users to the computer, go to the Users menu item. You can also Lock , Unlock , and Delete users here.

Provisioning with MaaS Servers

On top of the features I tested, Landscape offers system Provisioning when run on a dedicated server. However, the SaaS version I used did not support this functionality because you need a MaaS server. The approach for a predefined installation of new physical computers is fairly simple.

Start by creating a profile in which you configure the software and settings you want on any new computer. The computer needs to be connected to the same network as your MaaS server. Then, simply tell Landscape the MAC address of the new computer. The system scans the network for the new device, which needs to support PXE boot, and starts to deliver and install Ubuntu.

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