Jun 04 2014

The Rise of the DevOps movement

This is a repost of an article I wrote for the Acquia Blog some time ago.

DevOps, DevOps, DevOps … the whole world is talking about DevOps, but what is DevOps?

Since Munich 2012, DrupalCon had a dedicated devops track. After talking to
a lot of people in Prague last month, I realized that the concept of DevOps is still very unclear to a lot of developers. To a large part of the development community, DevOps development still means folks working on 'the infrastructure part' of the development life cycle and for some it just means simply deploying Drupal, being concerned about purely keeping the site alive etc.

Obviously that's not what DevOps is about, so let's take a step back and find out how it all started.

Like all good things, Drupal included, DevOps is a Belgian thing!

Back in 2009 DevopsDays Europe was created because a group of people met over and over again at different conferences throughout the world and didn’t have a common devops conference to go to. These individuals would talk about software delivery, deployment, build, scale, clustering, management, failure, monitoring and all the important things one needs to think about when running a modern web operation. These folks included Patrick Debois, Julian Simpson, Gildas Le Nadan, Jezz Humble, Chris Read, Matt Rechenburg , John Willis, Lindsay Holmswood and me - Kris Buytaert.

O’Reilly created a conference called, “Velocity,” and that sounded interesting to a bunch of us Europeans, but on our side of the ocean we had to resort to the existing Open Source, Unix, and Agile conferences. We didn't really have a common meeting ground yet. At CloudCamp Antwerp, in the Antwerp Zoo, I started talking to Patrick Debois about ways to fill this gap.

Many different events and activities like John Allspaw and Paul Hammond’s talk at “Velocity”, multiple twitter discussions influenced Patrick to create a DevOps specific event in Gent, which became the very first ‘DevopsDays'. DevopsDays Gent was not your traditional conference, it was a mix between a couple of formal presentations in the morning and open spaces in the afternoon. And those open spaces were where people got most value. The opportunity to talk to people with the same complex problems, with actual experiences in solving them, with stories both about success and failure etc. How do you deal with that oldskool system admin that doesn’t understand what configuration management can bring him? How do you do Kanban for operations while the developers are working in 2 week sprints? What tools do you use to monitor a highly volatile and expanding infrastructure?

From that very first DevopsDays in Gent several people spread out to organize other events John Willis and Damon Edwards started organizing DevopsDays Mountain View, and the European Edition started touring Europe. It wasn’t until this year that different local communities started organizing their own local DevopsDays, e.g in Atlanta, Portland, Austin, Berlin, Paris, Amsterdam, London, Barcelona and many more.

From this group of events a community has grown of people that care about bridging the gap between development and operations, a community of people that cares about delivering holistic business value to their organization.

As a community, we have realized that there needs to be more communication between the different stakeholders in an IT project lifecycle - business owners, developers, operations, network engineers, security engineers – everybody needs to be involved as soon as possible in the project in order to help each other and talk about solving potential pitfalls ages before the application goes live. And when it goes live the communication needs to stay alive too.. We need to talk about maintaining the application, scaling it, keeping it secure . Just think about how many Drupal sites are out there vulnerable to attackers because the required security updates have never been implemented. Why does this happen? It could be because many developers don't try to touch the site anymore..because they are afraid of breaking it.

And this is where automation will help.. if we can do automatic deployments and upgrades of a site because it is automatically tested when developers push their code, upgrading won't be that difficult of a task. Typically when people only update once in 6 months, its a painful and difficult process but when its automated and done regularly, it makes life so much easier.

This ultimately comes down to the idea that the involvement of developers doesn’t end at their last commit. Collaboration is key which allows every developer to play a key role in keeping the site up and running, for more happy users. After all software with no users has no value. The involvement of the developers in the ongoing operations of their software shouldn't end before the last end user stops using their applications.

In order to keep users happy we need to get feedback and metrics, starting from the very first phases of development all the way up to production. It means we need to monitor both our application and infrastructure and get metrics from all possible aspects, with that feedback we can learn about potential problems but also about successes.

Finally, summarizing this in an acronym coined by John Willis and Damon Edwards
- CAMS. CAMS says Devops is about Culture, Automation, Measurement and Sharing.
Getting the discussion going on how to do all of that, more specifically in a Drupal environment, is the sharing part .

Jan 07 2014

Do you want a Panel dicussion at CfgMgmtCamp.eu ? If so comment who should be in it !

68% (28 votes)
32% (13 votes)
Total votes: 41
Dec 22 2013

FOSDEM 2014 is coming

and with that almost a full week of side events.
For those who don't know FOSDEM, (where have you been hiding for the past 13 years ? ) Fosdem is the annual Free and Open Source Developers European meeting. If you are into open source , you just can't mis this event where thousands of likeminded people will meet.

And if 2 days of FOSDEM madness isn't enough people organise events around it.

Last year I organised PuppetCamp in Gent, the days before Fosdem and a MonitoringLove Hackfest in our office the 2 days after FOSDEM This year another marathon is planned.

On Friday (31/1/2014) the CentOs community is hosting a Dojo in Brussels at the IBM Forum. (Free, but registration required by the venue)

After the success of PuppetCamp in Gent last year we decided to open up the discussion and get more Infrastructure as Code people involved in a CfgMgmtCamp.eu

The keynotes for CfgMgmtCamp will include the leaders of the 3 most popular tools around , both Mark Burgess, Luke Kanies and Adam Jacob will present at the event which will take place in Gent right after Fosdem. We expect people from all the major communities including, but not limited to , Ansible, Salt, Chef, Puppet, CFengine, Rudder, Foreman and Juju (Free but registration required for catering)

And because 3 events in one week isn't enough the RedHat Community is hosting their Infrastructure.next conference after CfgMgmtCamp at the same venue. (Free but registration required for catering)

cya in Belgium next year..

Dec 12 2013

IPv4 Shortage can make you a billionaire

A couple of weeks ago I had this mail conversation...

I just had to share it ..

From:  sales@ipaddressconsultancy.com
To:  Kris Buytaert
Subject:  IPaddress Requirement
Date:  Tue, 05 Nov 2013 11:50:41 -0600 (11/05/2013 06:50:41 PM)

Hi Kris,

Thanks for your response. Please share your contact details including
skype ID so we can discuss further.


On 05.11.2013 08:26, Kris Buytaert wrote:
> On Mon, 2013-11-04 at 04:28 +0000, Sales wrote:
>> Hello,
>> We are looking for IP addresses as we are growing Internet Solutions
>> Provider.
>> We are looking for Ip addresses(Ipv4) anywhere from /22 to /16 Ipv4
>> to
>> host it. We look forward for your response to discuss further on the
>> pricing terms to take this forward.
>> If you are not the concerned person to discuss about this, please
>> forward it to the appropriate department of your company .
>> Please get back to us as soon as possible.
>> Regards,
> Hi there,
> we can offer you a whole range of IP addresses..
> We can provide you with , , and
> Please send us your best offer.
> greetings
> Kris Buytaert

Nov 27 2013

Docker vs Reality , 0 - 1

(aka the opinionated summary of the #devopsdays London November OpenSpace on , Containers and the new flood of Image Sprawl)

There's a bunch of people out there that think I don't like docker, they are wrong.

I just never understood the hype about it since I didn't see, (and still don't) see it being used at large and people seem to understand that as being against it.

So let me put a couple of things straight :

There's absolutely nothing wrong with using a container based approach when deploying your infrastructure. If you remember my talks about the rise of Open Source Virtualization some years ago you've noticed that I've always mentioned OpenVZ and friends as good alternatives if you wanted to have a lot of isolated platforms on one machine. LXC and friends have grown .. they are even more usable these days. Years ago people bought bare metal and ran Hypervisors on it to isolate resources. These days people rent VM's and also want the same functionality so the use of the combination of Virtualization and Container based technologies is a very good match there.

There's also nothing wrong with using Infrastructure as Code tools to build an reproducable image you are going to deploy will provide you with a disposable image which allows you to quickly launch a reproducable and versionned platform for your application if that application is supposed to be shortlived. The tooling around today is not yet there to have these images long lived as you still need to manage the config inside the containers as your application will evolve, it will change, your environment will change (think even about changing to a different loghost..) , but when you don't have to keep state you can dispose the image and redeploy a new reproducable one.

In the embedded world, this kind of approach with multiple banks has been a round for a while , one image running, a second bank as a fallback, and when you upgrade the passive bank you can swap the roles and still have roll back.

There's is also nothing wrong on combining these to approaches and using tools such as Docker and Packer.

But there is lot wrong with building images that then start living their own life, tools like Veewee etc saw the light to create an easy way to make sure the JeOS image (Just Enough Operating System) we created was reproducable, not to ship around virtual appliances.

But, lets be realistic, the number of applications that are suitable for this kind of environment is small. Most applications these days are still very statefull, and when your application contains state you need to manage that
that state, you can't just dispose an image which has state. Specially in an Enterprise environment stateless, immutable applications are really the exception rather than the rule.

When your application maps with stateless and short lived, or a some people like to call it Immutable please do so.. but if it doesn't please remember that we started using configuration management tools like CFengine, Puppet and Chef to prevent Image Sprawl and Config Drift
There's proprietary businesses out there building tools to detect config drift and extort organisations to solve problems that shouldn't have existed in the first place.

Luckily the majority of smart people I've spoken to over the past couple of weeks pretty much confirmed this ...
Like one of the larger devops minded appliation hosting outsourcers in emea, I asked them how much % of their customer base they could all "Immutable" , exactly 0% was the answer.

Image Based Container solutions are definitely not a one size fits all solution, and we have along way to go before we get there if at all ..

Till then I like not to diffuse my attention to too many different types of deploying platforms, just not to make stuff more complex than it already is...as complexity is the enemy of reliability

Jul 28 2013

Robomow vs iRobot·

(aka the follow up to http://www.krisbuytaert.be/blog/testing-robomow-510)
Lennert was really helpful in dropping by and providing us with some extra isolaters for the cable... the RoboMow is now doing it's work nicely again.

Yet we ran into another hickup. for some reason the Robomow stopped. The bleeping sound indicated yet another cable cut .. but I couldn't find it ...until I opened the the docking station ... where I saw the cable had loosened , after fixing that ... everything started working fine again ..

Now somehow the docking station of the RoboMow doesn't close good anymore , it really is a hassle pull it tight .. you need to lift it a bit and pull in the lid from the inside ...with the risk of needing to realign the dockingstation with the cable again so the mower can find it's way home again .

Also last week I got a new battery for our Roomba, and some things dawned on me. The Roomba does not need a cable to find it's way. It uses lighthouses to create borders, aka virtual walls or detects stuff where it runs into and rides back. Much easier to install than a cable in your garden. Also a virtual wall can't be cut by a knife.

The Roomba is also capable of finding it's base station with no cables. It's actually pretty good at that if you tell it to dock it goes straight to it's target.. no need to first find a cable to follow back home.

The Roomba we have is almost 4 years old , so it's not like this is bleeding edge technology. So it makes you wonder why a RoboMow needs a cable anyhow..

Also by putting the sensor on the robot outside of the mowing area it would make life a lot easier When you read this you might think I`m not really satisfied with the Robomow, on the contrary ..

Like a lot of technologies it takes a while to settle in to your environment and to tune it so it fits your needs better. RoboMow is no different .. once you have the layout of your cable solved (digged in preferrably) it works awesome .. it provides us with some free time we didn't have before .. It's just that for a 4 week test you don't want to go trough the trough the trouble of actually digging it in .. specially since we opted to not install it on the front lawn yet and it will need rerouting then anyhow.

As you might notice this post is a couple of weeks late ... and obviously you want to know the final verdict,

Well .. as you might have figured .. the Robomow is still happy mowing my lawn .. we're figuring out if we are going to redesign our garden before adding the second area in the front or not but fundamentally it's a great device that helps us a lot and we couldn't live without anymore.