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I am a web developer and frequently have to set up and configure virtual machines and dedicated machines (almost always on Ubuntu Server installations).

I was wondering if there was an effective and quick way to create a template of machine instances and deploy them to new servers so that I don't have to install and configure the same software and settings over and over again. I understand this can be done with a script but it's a bit of a pain to write. I'd prefer to be able to "snapshot" the machine state somehow and apply it to another box identically.

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for virtual machines, simply copy the VM files onto a large usb storage device. for dedicated machines, as long as the machine hardware components are identical, you can clone the hard drive and then fix grub. – Lorenzo Von Matterhorn Sep 20 '13 at 17:31

Depending on how much overhead you have, you could investigate VM management systems like Puppet or Chef. It has a much steeper learning curve than just cloning VMs, but scales more easily once you have more than a handful of configurations.

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Thanks I'll take a look. – Ryall Sep 20 '13 at 17:47

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