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What is Foreman and How Does It Help Approach the IT Challenges of Modern Companies?

What is Foreman and How Does It Help Approach the IT Challenges of Modern Companies?

Foreman is an open-source tool with extensive server lifecycle management functionality. It manages thousands of servers across various organizations and has become the basis for several commercial products. Foreman provides tools for provisioning, configuration, monitoring, automation, and update and installation management.

This article will explain how Foreman helps businesses overcome the challenges of building and maintaining modern IT infrastructures.

What Functions Does Foreman Offer?

Foreman is a server management software that offers a vast array of functions essential for efficient IT oversight. Let's explore each of these capabilities.

Provisioning with Foreman

Provisioning serves as an early stage in deploying servers. It often involves preparing a server for a specific task, such as hosting an application environment. Foreman is good for managing bare-metal servers and Cloud services from Amazon EC2, Google Compute Engine, Microsoft Azure, and OpenStack, as well as virtualizations using Libvirt, oVirt, or VMware. Using Foreman, you can also manage a hybrid cloud, adjusting your infrastructure to your business needs.

Authentication and authorization with LDAP

Foreman provides robust authentication and authorization capabilities through LDAP integration, ensuring secure access control and user management across your IT infrastructure.

Configuration and automation with Foreman

Server configuration is adjusting settings and optimizing a server for better, safer, and more stable performance. Foreman allows you to configure groups of hosts (servers) and offers report monitoring for Puppet, Salt, Ansible, and Chef, popular automation tools. They can help you manage several hosts in one go or set up scripts for repetitive tasks, increasing your team’s productivity.

Monitoring with Foreman

Server monitoring enables operations teams to react promptly to issues or even detect them before they occur, helping to prevent downtime and improve user experience. Foreman provides reports on your infrastructure and sends alerts when there’s trouble. It features a user-friendly dashboard - you can easily integrate it with your existing tools using plugins. Additionally, Foreman offers a smart proxy feature for better monitoring capabilities and more efficient communication between servers.

Updates and Installations with Foreman

With Foreman, you can easily install update packages to a single host or a group of hosts. This way, you can quickly adjust your entire infrastructure to new requirements or protect yourself against security breaches. Foreman comes with tools for easier and faster installation, such as templates for installing operating systems, scripts, or partitioning schemes.

Features for Businesses

Foreman is an excellent tool with all the functionality to manage even non-trivial IT infrastructures. Its active community continues to build on the project’s foundations, which results in an impressive list of available features.

Horizontal scaling with host groups

Horizontal scaling is a popular approach for optimizing IT architectures. It means growing your infrastructure’s capacity by adding more machines and, therefore, more resources. This is good for dynamic scaling and has almost unlimited potential (except for budgetary restrictions). With Foreman, you can group your horizontal hosts and modify their configuration once to see the effects on all of them.

Audits and alerts

As part of its reporting and monitoring function, Foreman offers a detailed audit trail to improve security. Additionally, notifications are in place to check the activity of administrators and users, keeping track of changes made in each node and alerting you to potential risks.


Foreman’s powerful APIs (REST, GraphQL, and CLI) allow you to manage your entire infrastructure through internal tools. If Foreman doesn’t currently support a feature you need, you can integrate it with a third-party solution that does or build your own custom tool, such as a plugin. Foreman also provides a RESTful API for seamless integration with other systems and automation workflows.

Web UI

Foreman can be accessed and used from your browser. The UI is safe to use and built with modern technologies aimed at creating a powerful, efficient tool.

Large team support

Foreman is a great tool for both large corporations and smaller companies. Its resources can be assigned to organizations and locations, and its flexible authorization supports multiple sites. Thanks to management via a REST HTTPS API, your infrastructure can be spread across different data centers and remote sites. These are only some of the features that allow efficient and secure work regardless of your team’s composition.

Remote executions

A plugin that supports job invocations allows running commands on remote hosts with different providers (e.g. Ansible). You can schedule recurring executions, run concurrent control, and watch the output live.

Content management

A number of Foreman’s features help with managing various types of content. You can use a Standard Operating Environment (SOE) for added efficiency and lowered risk of compatibility issues. Content Hosts can be grouped (e.g. by function or company department) to make navigation easier. You can also use Content Views to filter out unnecessary information. Installations can be made to specific hosts or host groups, making your team’s job easier.

An active community

Foreman’s development community is in great shape. In 2019, a representation of the iRonin.IT team attended an event celebrating Foreman’s anniversary. We enjoyed presentations, discussions, and the opportunity to speak to people we’ve worked with remotely for so long.

Looking for the Right Team to Help You Build Upon the Vast Functionality Offered by Foreman?

Foreman is configuration management software that can be easily adjusted to your needs through plugins and integrations, either with third-party services or your own custom applications. Notable integrations include Puppet, Ansible, and Docker. If you store your configurations in a GitHub repository, you can easily integrate them with Foreman for streamlined management.

We have experience building Foreman plugins to serve our clients' specific needs. If you face challenges not solved by currently available tools, a custom solution might be just what you need.

Our experts have created an API that has been added to Foreman’s codebase, and we’re active members of the Foreman community. Foreman owners listed us as one of the trusted companies that provide foreman expertise.

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