Apr 28 2010

MySQL HA , an alternative approach

For those who've seen my presentation on MySQL HA, you already know that I often use a multimaster setup with a meta OCF resource that groups my favoured MySQL instance with the service ip , using a meta resource means that pacemaker monitors mysql, but it doesn't actually manage it. It's an approach that works for us.

One of the other approaches I will be looking at soon is the freshly released OCF resource that Florian announced last week.

Back in the days our approach meant we didn't have to use clone resources, which you might remember being pretty buggy in the v2 era, not wanting to use clons resources isn't really a valid reason anymore these days . I've also frequently mentioned the combination of using DRBD and MultiMaster replication, using this set of OCF resource makes that a lot more easy ..

Now all I need to do is find me some time to validate this setup.

Apr 28 2010

Devops and Cloud

Whenever I give my Cloud security talk there's a slide in there talking about the most scary idea about Cloud and Security, the fact that Marketing people will build things on their own while IT, or any other departement isn't involved, and as we all know marketing people have no clue about security, it's not on their mind they won't even think about adding some sort of security to their application.

So IT isn't involved, Development isn't involved , and Operations isn't involved ...

Ages ago.. well.. about a decade I was working in those very marketing departments sitting there, writing code, hired by the marketeers, not by IT , the marketing PM did the talking to IT , we still had to go trough their IT department to get stuff deployed.

The marketing people had to deal with their impossible deadlines, a nationwide tv or radio campaign that was going to be launched , with a supporting website which meant that the website functionality needed to go live just before the first airing of the commercial. Obviously the website was lower priority than finding a famous voice or face to record the commercial with, so it became only late in the planning.. even more obvious was the fact that talking to IT about getting these new features deployed was even later on their planning .

Back then, part of my job was to smooth that process, my role was both creating the technical backend for the sites , putting them in production and doing the daily maintenance afterwards ...

Looking back at those days I realize the pains of both deployment and procurement, getting a new machine racked and then installed up to a bare os installations took up to 6 weeks, in a marketing driven world that meant that I'd often had to bypass the whole procurement process of expensive sunboxen and had to quickly deploy a linux box under my desk that could be used to move to production as plan B , and trust me .. we had to use plan B a lot ..

Letting nontechnical people deploy stuff in the cloud will only widen the gap, but getting involved early enough in the concept fase of a project with a good devops methodology/team in place will give the business people the opportunity to learn that things have changed , it doesn't take 6 weeks anymore to get an expensive Sun box racked and a Solaris instance installed after which a team of engineers needs to install an application server, then a different team needs to install the database etc .. these days it's a virtual machine instantiation and a couple of recipes ,in that way we can get manageable, reproducible and scalable deployments in no time.

Apr 28 2010

Zabbix, the book

Ages ago the folks over at Packt asked me if I was interested in writing a book about Zabbix, I kindly declined, I didn't have time to write a book ,

Months later we got back in touch and I got involved in reviewing the book


It just arrived in the mail .

There's a couple of things I'd have done different , but overall it's a good read if you are interrested in Zabbix.

Apr 20 2010

Linux Open Administration Days 2010

So about 4 monts ago there was the crazy idea to start a new FOSS event in Belgium targeted at sysadmins.

What started out as an event for local people to meet local people with some local speakers actually ended up being a small local event with some top international speakers on onfiguration mananagement and system administration mixed with a bunch of good local ones !

I had the honour to open the conference with an extremely short version of the Devops talk I gave earlier last year.. extremely short as I knew that over the course of the weekend the topic would reoccur a lot.

We had the first european talk on Chef, by Joshua Timberman, and we had Puppet talks amongst by Dan Bode from Puppetlabs and CFengine talks , devops was a frequently dropped word,

We had a book raffle where we handed out O'Reilly's .. we had a great free pizza party (got the idea from the saturday pizza event at LCA 2005) , and we had some free beer. Sounds like a good combination for a geeky weekend.

Apart from the regular talks there were plenty of Open Spaces where interesting topics were discussed ... we had spaces on Open Source vs Open Core , strong voices were heard when we discussed what we should do with the Open Core companies that claim to value Open Source , some people think we should actually list the fauxpensource ones somewhere and make sure the world knows about them

We had an awesome configuration management discussion session discussing Chef vs Puppet vs CFengine . And much much more ...

Some people owe me plenty of Sushi as I had to do my MySQL HA talk before their Managing MySQL talk , but other than that .. things just went fine..

Apr 07 2010

UKUUG Spring Conference 2010

Last week I was in Manchester for the 2010 UKUUG Spring Conference, right .. make that 2 weeks ago , :)

The UKUUG usually hosts the more interesting conferences around ... , it's not just the schedule that attrackts me , yes there's the strong focus towards Larger Scale Unix (and mostly Linux) deployments and how to manage them, but there's also the opportunity to chat in real life with the Devops from across the chunnel.

Spending time with R.I.Pienaar, Julian Simpson, Simon Wilkinson , Alex Davies , Simon Riggs , Josette, and many others is always fun .

As I was in town early I went to the preconference beer meetup and met with a lot of people and chatted about config management, virtualization and lots of other stuff ... after the pub the plan was to go for curries nearby .. and while walking to the , ahem Bus stop, I managed to recognise Ben Martin from meeting him back ages ago in Hamburg for LinuxKongress , always fun ..

Apart from having to jump on a bus and our group being split at the curry place , rather than being able to tell the latecomers where to walk to and being seeted upstairs with the whole group , the curries were interesting and fun.

As I had been pushing Simon Wardley on Twitter to submit a talk for the conference it was really great to finally see him present .. His talk was the perfect soft introduction to the conference ...

Simon's talk was followed by a talk on Security for the virtual datacenters, after I questionned the speaker if anyone actualy uses TPM outside an academic lab the talk suddenly changed into a commercial presentation for a Quack, nuff said.

The Ever energetic Matt S Trout talked about 21st century perl before Simon "Life is to short for SELinux" Wilkinson talked about his experiences in getting the openAFS crowd on Git.

Bummer Thierry Carrez didn't show us the real juice of UEC and just the installations of a Cloud Controller and a Node Controller , but he managed to do so in approx 30 minutes as promised .

A talk titled Coherent and Integrated Configuration of Virtual Infrastructures always cathces my eye.. however when that talk turns out to be a Coherent and Integrated configuration only within the Univerity of Edinborough (aka lcfg2) talk I`m dissapointed, specially since it pretty much didn't introduce any new concepts from the ones I introduced back in my Durham UKUUG presentation

Luckily Andrew Stribblehill gave a very interesting talk on MySQL scalability, in which I promised him some answers to his questions for the next day :)

The Conference dinner was without a doubt the best UKUUG dinner so far , no typical english "food", no weird location (Old Trafford, an abandoned warship) , but just a big chinese place and plenty of food !

I started thurday morning in the wrong track, I assumed to be in the Virtualization track, but I ended up in the Sun thinclient and Abusing Linux to serve weird desktops under the Green computing umbrella track, not my favourites ..

When Patrick and Julian started their Hudson hit my Puppet with a Cucumber talk (which featured some aweseom #devops content) I was a afraid that we'd had to look for a replacment PostgreSQL talk as Simon hadn't arrived yet .. Luckily he arrived in time for his presentation and he explained us about the new replication features that are slowly making it into PostgreSQL, one way ... log shipping ... not really up to par with other alternatives yet :(

So with no further ado .. here's the presentation I gave

PS. If at a Ukuug event and not sure about a person's name ... try Simon.. pretty good chance you're correct :)

Apr 02 2010

Starting a Collection

Apparently I started a collection ..
Of DNS books signed by their author ...

As already mentioned on twitter, Jan-Piet Mens kindly gave me a signed copy of his alternative DNS Servers book, last week at the UKUUG 2010 Spring Conference

When I got that book I didn't even know yet that this morning I was going to be at a seminar on DNS sec by Cricket Liu
and because of having registered so late for the event I certainly wasn't expecting to get one of the books that were going to be handed out to the first 50 people that signed up ... but I was lucky ..

So which book should I try to get next ? :)

Mar 30 2010

11 days till Loadays

That's right .. only 11 more ...
The schedule looks promising, there will be some devops juice, some open spaces, some tutorials, som regular talks .. it really looks promising ... the schedule is packed ,

Apart from the talks, tutorials and open spaces there's also the
Pizza party and the Beer event on saturday ...

No need to register .. just show up ..

Mar 30 2010

#Devops / Ruby Meetup , Antwerp, April 8, 2010

Joshua Timberman will be in town, (Antwerpen) that is, for Loadays as he is arriving on thursday Botchagalupe suggested we should have a Devops / Ruby get together.

So I'm dutyfully announcing the Devops/Ruby meetup next thursday april 8th, in Antwerp

The plan is to meet up for beers and chatter in our favourite Antwerp geek pub in , Kulminator , Vleminckveld 32 , Antwerp , around 20h00 ish..

Topics will be devops, ruby and much more :)

No need to register .. just show up ..

If for some reason the Kulminator is to crowdy, smokey, closedy you should be able to find us next door in the Zeppos :)

Mar 09 2010

DevOPS, SecOPS, DBAOps, NetOps

This post is long overdue, as the idea struck me when dicussing with Lefred while preparing his Fosdem talk on Maintaining too big tables

I got triggered finishing this post by Mr BuidlDoctor

Fred has been struggling with a typical DevOps problem resulting in the most unmanageable database setup possible, there's little room for him to move but he managed is way out .. because he is good at his job

It set the mark for me that because in different organisations even the Opsteam is fragmented `in different groups that there also we need to get the Devops idea going.

Typical setups here are the Network guys vs the Platform guys , specially with the growth of virtualization where the network stack doesn't stop at the physcial switchport anymore but the vlan trunks go deep in to the VM's a lot of discussion happens. There where traditionally the story for the network engineer stopped at the switch they now want control much deeper in the infrastructure.

But an even bigger group that needs integration are the security folks, it's no secret that in some organisations the security guys job is to be the bad guy, their default reply to something is NO. Specially to people wanting to drill holes in their architecture .

Patrick wonders if its the specialist vs generalist dillemma, I think it's the Web vs Enterprise IT way of thinking ..
DevOps first gained ground in Web environments , the battle has only started ..

We still have a long way to go before in say a banking environment the Devs and SecOffs' and the DBA's and the Ops are on the same line ... they all need to break the walls of confusion, they all need to come out of their silos. And when you are a generalist in charge of a bunch of these things you have to make sure your tuesday afernoon security persona talks with his other persona's from time to time ... otherwise you are really gonna need those meds :)

Mar 06 2010

Better days Arrive when Dev Meet Ops

A couple of weeks a go Brian Profitt pinged me for a chat about Devops , the result of that chat , his article can now be found on the Zenoss blog, it's titled Datacenter Barometer: Better days arrive when dev meets ops

It's a very nice read with some pointers to places regular readers of my blog should already know ;)
So with lots of leading Open Source infrastructure companies on different levels, such as config management (OpsCode and Reductive Labs) , monitoring (Zenoss) , deployment (openQRM, RPath, and obviously Consultancy companies , the upcoming Devops conferences around the planet promise to be a lot of fun ! ;)

Oh, and apparently there is some more on the story on /.