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Eliminate configuration drift through declarative scripting

Fight back against configuration drift with a management strategy that relies on PowerShell and Desired State Configuration.

Configuration drift can be a serious problem for organizations in which multiple administrators are tasked with managing multiple servers -- all while trying to maintain a semblance of order. Simple troubleshooting or inconsistent patching can cause servers to drift out of configuration over time and complicate management. Microsoft introduced Desired State Configuration in PowerShell 4.0 and Windows Server 2012 R2 as a feature to help system administrators fight back against configuration drift.

Desired State Configuration (DSC) can help manage and maintain configurations across multiple servers. In this series, PowerShell expert Jason Helmick introduces the concept of DSC, explains how to use it, and shows you how to build your own scripts to keep your servers in lock step and eliminate configuration drift once and for all.

DSC introduction: Automate deployment and ease configuration
In this article, you'll get started with DSC and find out how to use it to solve a real-world business problem. Get a handle on the basics by creating a simple deployment to a single server using a Desired State Configuration file.

Large-scale configuration management: How to create a DSC Pull Server
If you want to unlock the real potential of DSC, find out how it can provide large-scale automation. In this article, you'll learn how to set up a Desired State Configuration Pull Server, from which target computers will retrieve their assigned configurations.

Pulling it all together: Connecting targets to the Pull Server
Now that you have a DSC Pull Server, you can connect your target computers with just a few simple PowerShell scripts to ensure they maintain a consistent configuration. In this article, you'll also learn how to create a new Desired State Configuration that the target computers will use.

More DSC resources: Adding to your management toolbox
Desired State Configuration is a powerful tool that helps you improve management, but it's still new and doesn't yet include many built-in resources. Learn how to find more tools and expand your repertoire.

This was first published in August 2014

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