Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Computer Science

First Advisor

Kenneth M. Anderson

Second Advisor

Richard Han

Third Advisor

John Black

Fourth Advisor

James Martin

Fifth Advisor

Mazdak Hashemi


A common approach to configuration management is to couple a high-level declarative programming language with a runtime engine. The language is used to specify configurations and the engine is used to deliver and apply those configurations on a set of computing resources. The design and architecture of current runtime engines of configuration management systems lack 1) essential coordination and synchronization of actions between computing resources and 2) strong security mechanisms.

This thesis examines a number of techniques that can be applied to the area of configuration management to address these limitations. In particular, the combination of these techniques leads to a new architecture for the runtime engines of modern configuration management systems, providing them with secure coordination and synchronization capabilities. A prototype of this new approach was developed and evaluated in an environment that simulates highly-demanding computing landscapes and the results show that the new architecture is able to reduce the occurrence and impacts of configuration errors in these environments.