Erika Hall says her new book is for people who “may have a vague idea that research is a good thing, but the benefits are fuzzy while the costs are all too clear.” Does she deliver on her promise to make basic research concepts and techniques more accessible in under 150 pages?
At PuppetConf 2013, community lead Dawn Foster presented an animation of git commits to the Puppet code base since April 15, 2005. We asked long-time contributors David Lutterkort and Adrien Thebo to provide some commentary to help understand how the project has evolved over the past 8 1/2 years.
Ever wonder where to look when something goes wrong with Puppet Enterprise? Engineer Ruth Linehan has a list of logs you can take a look at. Don’t miss the video presentation at the bottom from Celia Cottle, who explains how to troubleshoot the Puppet Enterprise stack.
Hiera, a key/value data lookup tool for Puppet and Puppet Enterprise, defaults to storing data in YAML and JSON files. This is fine for many uses, but often someone will want to use a different storage format or import a bunch of data from an existing tool of some kind. To do this, you need […]
Think it’s impossible to stand up an OpenStack cloud in 15 minutes? If you’re the betting kind, Red Hat software engineer, Derek Higgins, is ready to take your money. Derek created Packstack, an installation utility that uses Puppet modules to deploy OpenStack in three easy steps. Not convinced? Join Derek Higgins, Cody Herridges, and Chris […]
The Puppet Enterprise 3.0 orchestration engine provides an important part of the product’s cloud automation capabilities. It allows admins to discover and manage thousands of nodes at once from either the Puppet Enterprise web console, or from the command line. Read on to learn how the orchestration engine works and see a video demo of […]
It was time for the small company I worked for to pick new content tools, and we were in a meeting to hear from the project lead.
She gave a great talk, explaining the benefits and tradeoffs of each tool. Her slides had cat pictures. She was funny and self-deprecating. But the Q&A afterward was tense. The underlying note of each comment was, “I don’t mind change as long as it’s happening to anybody else.”
Afterward, we joked about the meeting.
“It’s hard,” she said. “People like their tools, and you’ve got to tell them they might have to change something, and …”
“Nerd rage,” I finished for her.
“Right. Nerd rage.”
I’ve always liked the phrase “configuration drift.” It sounds like a wind blew through the racks in the data center just so, gently jumbling that one file down in /opt/etc that’s the last place you look when a service goes down.
Realistically, that drift probably came from human error: a junior admin making a novice mistake, or someone solving a problem with a small but critical change. Either way – mysterious cloud creatures, or everyday people – things change on the systems we maintain, and it can take a lot of time to make them right again.
As a sysadmin, you spend a lot of time trying to get everything just right. You shouldn’t have to spend all your time trying to keep everything just right. With just a little automation, you won’t have to.
Puppet 3.2.1 landed today. Though it’s a “patch” release, it’s the first public release of the Puppet 3.2 series, and it includes a taste of the Puppet DSL’s future in the form of an experimental parser that introduces some new features you’d expect to find in traditional programming languages.
Before I started at Puppet Labs, I was a tech writer at a large corporation (I won’t name them, but their initials are HP). The approach to tech writers there conformed to the traditional “huck it over the cube wall” model I’ve seen at other large enterprises. Anyone who has worked in tech for any time at all has encountered this model, which presents a new product to the writer as a fait accompli and which imagines tech writing as an after-the-fact act of taxonomy: “Here is a thing. The thing has five things stuck to it. Three of those things are red, one of them is made of feathers.” And, we’re done.
More often than not, the huck-it-over-the-wall method results in tech writing nobody reads because it does nothing useful (“I can plainly see that thing is made of feathers, what possible good is this manual going to do me? I’m going to put it back on top of the toilet tank and continue to ignore it.”).
In virtual data centers both on-premises and in the cloud, lifecycle management is particularly challenging for administrators due to the dynamic nature and volume of nodes that need to be deployed and managed. Puppet Enterprise can ease a lot of these challenges by allowing IT teams to automate the deployment and management of their VMware virtual infrastructure.
At my last job, and before I knew much about Puppet, I had a configuration challenge I solved the way a lot of us have: I wrote a script. I got tired of passing lots of configuration parameters to the script, so I created a YAML file. Over time, that YAML file became a source of truth upon which all my scripts depended.
If you’re using Puppet, you already understand why the scripts had to go. If you’ve heard about Hiera, you might already know that I got to keep the YAML file.