Otter Documentation

Servers in Otter

Servers are the core of your infrastructure, and managing configuration and orchestration is key in modern, scalable environments. Otter's powerful Execution Engine enables easy automation of the complexities of modern infrastructure. The intuitive User Interface in Otter provides widespread visibility without compromising enterprise security.

A server in Otter can represent a physical (bare metal), virtual server, a container, or even a nonexistant server (one that you will provision later).

Otter communicates with Windows servers using the Otter Agent, and Linux/*nix servers using Optimized SSH Connections.

Otter also has the built in capability to spin up thousands of virtual servers quickly, easily, and reliably, giving teams and enterprises the ability to scale when needed or demand requires it.

Managing Configuration

Generally speaking configuration describes the packages, settings, files, or anything thing else that is on a server. With Otter, you create Configuration Plans to describe the desired state of configuration and/or the specific steps needed to ensure that state.

For example, you would use Ensure-AppPool to describe and provision an Application Pool in IIS, along with any number of the three dozen settings application pools can have.

IIS App Pool Settings

Configuration plans can be defined on an individual server, or may be shared among any number of servers using a Server Role.

Configuration Drift

When a server's actual configuration is different than the Planned Configuration, then it's considered in drift. Sometimes this is expected because you changed the plan, and sometimes it's not, for example if someone manually made a change on the server.

Servers in Drift

Otter continuously monitors your servers for configuration drift and can either:

  • Only Report Drift: noting specifically which items differ from the desired state; or
  • Automatically Remediate Drift: by bringing the server to the desired configuration state

This option is configurable per server, and monitoring can be set at specific intervals, determined by your infrastructure priority.

IIS App Pool Settings drifted

When report only is configured, you can schedule a Configuration Job to run immediately or for some time in the future.

You can even run a configuration job as a simulation, so that no changes are made to the drifted server, but a log is created with changes that would have been made. This is often a must-have for complex, or multi-role configurations to assist in testing.

Server Packages

Beginning with Otter 1.6, users can now utilize the Server Packages feature. With Server Packages, Otter can be configured to collect information about the Chocolatey, PowerShell, and Universal Packages that are installed on any given server. This way users can avoid the error prone manual process of logging into servers to view configurations and installed packages.

Navigating to the Packages Tab, users will be prompted to configure server package collection.

Configure server package collection

When configured, Otter will regularly collect information about what is installed and display it in an easy-to-read report.

Server packages report

Server Packages is an extensible feature and can be customized to collect information such as:

  • MSIs installed on a Windows server
  • Packages installed on a Linux server
  • Docker containers present on a server
  • Almost any additional server info you might need