Promising Desired State and Avoiding System Drift
The CFEngine agent runs on each host, using the network opportunistically to avoid unnecessary traffic, and with a pull-based technology. While the Desired State can be implemented using the free open source community edition, CFEngine Enterprise edition reports back the Actual State and provides the tools to help organizations to better understand and optimize their IT infrastructure.
Once a policy has been deployed, the CFEngine agent keeps all the discovered facts that inform policy locally and decisions about the policy can be made without needing to talk to a master server. This avoids unnecessary communication and enables CFEngine to continue working even if the network becomes unavailable, e.g. for mobile devices.
After making changes to heal the Desired State, reports about these changes and the Actual State are available in the Enterprise edition for collection by hub machines. This is a highly efficient, low bandwidth process.
Reports are fully accessible from hubs via REST APIs for integration with other IT systems. The collected data and reports forms a very efficient resource for controlling and reporting compliance with company and regulatory policies for the management of IT infrastructure.