Dec 20 2009

Devops , a Barcamp Gent 3 Talk

Too bad the majority of the audience already knew what I was a bout to say ....

Mar 31 2009

UKUUG Spring 2009 Conference, the after post

Last week the UKUUG Spring , Large Scale Infrastructure conference took place in London,

Altough only 1 track was scheduled, the content was very good, some talks were a bit short, others were a bit too long. And luckily the talks that didn't really bring me new content were entertaining :) Also the after conf chatter in the pub across the street was so much fun we almost failed to catch our plane back to Antwerp.

However lots of people wondered where the real action is going. Not sure but maybe the fact that ApacheCon was scheduled around the same time might have pulled some people to Amsterdam. Truth is that there is a need for a real Unix Sysadmin conference on mainland Europe, sure we got Fosdem and different local Open Source events, but there isn't any focus on the sysadmin part of the job, or rather the devministration part , the large scale part, the automating part etc.

There is the Open Source Datacenter Conference (OSDC) which looks interresting, but won't attrackt an international crowd as sadly a big part of the talks are in German , but it also
seems Sane hopes to be back in 2009 , so maybe there is some hope ..

Feb 06 2009

Image Sprawl , and the new cure ..

When I tell people that the concept of copying VM's around as frequently done in the VMWare world is one of the most stupid ideas on this planet, I get the weirdest looks.

In my world it is, I want my infrastructure to be reproducible , I want to be able to throw any machine in my infrastructure out of the 10th floor of a building and be up and running again in no time. If I spread a bunch of VM copies around who knows what kind of life they start leading. Some will get upgrades, some won't ..
If I get an image from someone, how did he get there ? Nobody knows ..

To me Image Sprawl is more than not being able to to manage your Virtual Machines, it also matters for physical machines that are being deployed using a golden image.

Now rewind back about 4 something years.. back then I wrote a paper for LinuxKongress titled Automating Xen Virtual Machine Deployment which described a Hybrid way of Bootstrapping an infrastructure.
Quicly summarized, you use the benefits of images to quickly deploy a minimal image which
Luke today calls a Stem Cell then go on using centralized package management and a configuration management tool to keep them up to par. There are 2 things that changed in between,
we replaced CFEngine with Puppet , and the fact that today some people do care a bit more about the infrastructure side of the web, guess we have to thank Amazon and the Cloud Hype for that

But fundamentally .. not that much changed :)

Jan 29 2009

What does your BOFH want ? :)

Larry, I`m glad you asked ..

With the risk of receiving a flood of comments pointing me to already existing tools here's my go at what I as a sysadmin of often large deployments am looking for in Drupalland .

You suggest LDAP and syslog integration .. guess we already have that don't we ?

But what I haven't found yet ..
An rpm/deb repository of Drupal modules So we can do an apt-get install drupal-package , yes I know about Drush, but I want the files on my system to be in a package and clearly identified, it helps me keeping my system uncluttered.

apt-get update drupal-package , or yum install drupal-package would be a luxury, same for themes btw.

It would be lovely if the postinstalls of those package also trigger a database upgrade if needed.

Which brings me to the next issue. If I have a multisite setup and I update a module in sites/all/modules, I usually have to go trough each and every site hosted there to update the databases. No really something I like to do for 10+ euh 3+ sites.

Also think big, don't waste your time on desktop apps or guis .since as long as you only have 1 site to manage point an click is fine, for you , Think in terms of what if you have 10 sites, 100 sites, or more .. do you really want to do that kind of administration via a browser or gui ? Some wise man once said If your computer can't install it the installer is broken. A script should or automation tool should be able to interact with the sites, not a human operating a mouse ;) It's not just the RSI , but also the fact that to err is human, and if the computer fails a script you can patch it :)

Jan 18 2009

Is anybody else confused about Chef ?

Chef absolutely confuses me..

Luke is confused too ..

I’m clearly disappointed that someone who has been a high-profile user of Puppet but has never contributed much in the way of code (Ohloh claims 2 commits) would decide to start a whole new project rather than attempt to contribute to Puppet

Now , if you know me a bit you know that reinventing the wheel, or creating identical projects with no clear reasons is something I dislike .

When looking at Chef's FAQ there isn't really a clear reason listed why they wanted to create a new project.

I could understand if Chef were written in a total different language .. but hmm.. it's written in Ruby again .. I can only think of one other area where there are 2 major competing tools written in the same language and that is OTRS and RT, still wondering how that can happen.

One of the core values of an Open Source project is that you can contribute, adapt , and even fork.. why would you want to start over from scratch ?
So launching a competing open source project in that way therefore doesn't really seem like a smart thing to do,

Maybe one way to explain it is the European vs American style of Open Source Adoption ... , Luke has the more European approach (consultancy, build new features, support, train, evangelize, earn a good living) , where as OpsCode with Jesse Robins in charge might head for a more American style (Productize, Dual License , CashOut ).

So can the Chefs please explain why they didn't contribute to Puppet, or as their FAQ , well it doesn't really Answer any of the Questions

Oct 27 2008

The Little 4 are back, John interviews Matt about openQRM,

I didn't even have time to finish my post about the Puppet Podcast and DevMinistration before John had already posted his chat with Matt as recorded yesterday in Eindhoven.

I'm glad I could bring these guys together ! Great stuff !

Oct 27 2008


In his CloudCafe 18 Podcast John talks about Puppet to Luke and they coin the idea of Devministration

I really like the terminology, so I`m a devministrator, and probably the bigger part of Inuits are Devministrators.

The first stage in becoming a devministrator is using version control, then bugtracking .. etc.
Coming from an era where I was the sysadmin pushing the developers to use version control this sounds really strange to me..
Yes I had to convince developers to use version control, while Luke thinks he needs to convince sysadmins to use version control.
Weird.. other continent, other habits, but the important part is we all use it.

But the big part is that we don't spend our time managing servers, but rather scripting the automation of the management. Learning machines how they should manage our configs and automate.

Like the old Google saying, you have to automate yourself out of a job every 18 months.

Guess that's also what ad Devministrator is.