Chimera is a web-based collection of applications written in python (using Django with some added javascript) designed to help system administrators use off-the-shelf tools like SSH and their own existing scripts and programs to automate management tasks. While many of Chimera's features tend to be geared toward Unix systems, it tries to remain platform agnostic and should work on a variety of systems, including windows, as long as RSA SSH logins and command execution are enabled in some fashion (applications like Cygwin or Bitvise SSHD can provide this functionality readily).

From a management perspective, Chimera is designed to help consolidate all of the various operations that run individually on your systems (likely under their own process scheduler like cron) in to one central location and schedule manager. As the feature set improves Chimera will also tackle tasks like system binary fingerprinting,  configuration cloning and templates, and other more advanced configuration management options. Chimera is designed as an alternative to tools like puppet and webjob that operate with similar goals in mind. 

Chimera is in an "alpha" stage currently, and more features and polish will be added as time progresses.

 The main features of Chimera are as follows:

  • Asset inventory (tracking what servers or devices you have, where they are, what their purpose is, and more).
  • File management (editing content, policy enforcement of content, and delta tracking).
  • Workflows, which allow administrators to construct a multi-stage sequence of scripts that can be chained together. In addition to simple chaining of script execution (like a semi-colon ";" in the Unix shell) these workflow stages can hand off their output to the next stage for processing (like a pipe "|" in the Unix shell) and each one can be run on a different server. A good example use case for this is gathering data on a system in the first stage, parsing or transforming the data in the second stage (on a second server if you like) and inserting the data into a database in a third stage (on an entirely separate, third server if you choose). 
  • A calendar for recording chronological details on system issues that can help discover patterns, or for telling you when to buy more Mountain Dew.
  • A note taking application for recording thoughts or documentation.
  • A tagging application for collecting other resources above (servers, files, workflows, or notes) into organizational groups.
Chimera endeavours to be a framework that allows administrators to plug in their own environmental data and script processes. Rather than make decisions for system administrators on how things should be done, Chimera tries to empower them with the ability to perform operations across multiple systems in ways that are limited only by their imagination and scripting talents.

 

Chimera is commercially free to use or modify as you see fit, and you can even make a copy and lock it away and sell it if you like (they can still get it here cheaper). It is not exactly philosophically free because the "freedom" isn't enforced. Because of this there is no public source code repository for chimera planned, simply zip archives of the python scripts that are the software itself.

 

For more information feel free to contact the author.