When you’re responsible for keeping other people’s enterprise websites up and running, you never want to say you’re sorry they’re down.
That’s why Justin Seabrook-Rocha and Patrick Adair both use Puppet technology in their work for Hurricane Electric, an internet services company whose transit backbone connects to more than 2,100 IP networks. Hurricane Electric is located in Fremont, California, and Justin & Patrick both work in the same building that was once the manufacturing facility for NeXT Computer, Steve Jobs’ gig before his 1997 return to the helm of Apple.
Both Justin, a network engineer, and Patrick, a network technician, are registered for PuppetConf in August. They’re expecting to get tips and advice from other attendees and speakers on ways to make their own Puppet infrastructure better, and the latest updates on what’s new with Puppet.
For people who might never have considered a career in accounting, a lot of sysadmins seem to spend their days living out of a spreadsheet. They’re not balancing the books, they’re cataloging their infrastructure.
It’s important work that has to be done. You have to know what you’re running, because your ability to maintain a reliable, responsive infrastructure depends on it. It’s also tedious work, and Excel probably isn’t the best tool for the job. Rather than spending all your time in a spreadsheet, you should be spending it on more interesting things.
Release management best practices have evolved over time as software tools that manage and automate parts of the process appear. As a result, established structures are ever changing. An example of this is a 2007 piece on Buildmeister about best practices that were inspired by ITIL, the ISO standard IT Infrastructure Library.
There is a fascinating article in a recent Ars Technica on why Facebook creates its own hardware and how it avoids virtualization on its servers. Facebook just unveiled its first data center that has only its own custom hardware, designed per the Facebook-founded Open Compute Project. Facebook answers the “What is virtualization” question by saying, “Something we here at Facebook don’t need.”
In the first part of this tutorial, we showed how to use Vagrant to automate and manage local virtual machines for a software development environment. We defined a simple Vagrantfile to specify certain attributes for a VM to run a simple web app, and got it running using Vagrant’s command line tools. In this part of the tutorial, we’ll be using Puppet to define and automate the configuration details for our VM. This way, whenever we start up the dev environment with
vagrant up, it will be set up to run our web application without any additional manual configuration.
I found Damon Edwards and Anthony Shortland’s video presentation on DevOps a refreshing change. They see DevOps as a larger, more comprehensive service delivery platform and view the DevOps toolchain as the practical way to make that service delivery platform work. Their excellent diagram divides a service delivery platform for DevOps into four quadrants, with Infrastructure and Applications on the Y axis and Build and Deploy on the X axis.
Setting up a development environment for a web application can seem simple—just use SQLite and WEBrick or a similar development server—but taking shortcuts can quickly lead to problems. What happens when you need to onboard new team members? What if your team members are geographically distributed? How do you prevent bugs from creeping in when the production environment’s configuration drifts away from the development environment? Even if you’ve managed to set up a picture-perfect development environment, what happens when a developer inevitably breaks its configuration?
In CIO Magazine, Mike Sutton and Tym Moore explained how they systematically improved software release management practices at a large telecom company by focusing on key factors affecting the release process, infrastructure, and automation. The themes of the advice were transparency, automation, and communication. The case study looked at an emergency situation for a large business in severe trouble, but the themes are universal. This article, published in 2008, is a classic; it’s practical and pragmatic and still has plenty to say about release management practices today.
Is release management a different process from change management? Jan van Bon takes a controversial position. He says they are the same—or should be—in his article, “The One and Only Change Management Process.” (If you’re interested, there’s a LinkedIn group that’s still arguing this question as well as a book by van Bon on the topic.) Can a repeatable, streamlined change management process really drive release management best practices?
What’s new at Puppet? As of October 2015, we’ve announced Puppet Application Orchestration. Stay up to date on the application orchestration news page. +++ For anyone looking to reduce the risk of release management, DevOps has got to be on the table. DevOps represents not only a set of practices, but also a mature operational mindset. “Release Management […]
Release management issues provide much of the impetus for adopting DevOps practices, both in terms of release quality and release frequency, but the required cultural changes in terms of alignment, communication, and automation can be daunting to consider. Getting buy-in across the organization can be difficult for anyone who isn’t in senior management, but that […]
If you read Max Martin’s fantastic DevOps December piece, Q: Are We Not Devs? A: We Are DevOps!, you were probably wondering two things: What’s with the funky title? (hint: it’s a nerdy DEVO reference) How do I set up my own Puppet + Vagrant development environment? Lucky for you, Max wrote a fantastic two-part […]
Last week, I hosted a webinar titled the “Best Practices for Learning Puppet”. Although there are several ways that you can master the Puppet DSL, I chose specifically to discuss our Learning Puppet VM because I find it to be the fastest and easiest way you can learn Puppet. For those of you who don’t […]
DevOps is a lot more than configuration management. DevOps is all about developers working more closely with operations to address business needs quickly, while keeping everything stable and running. Formalizing configuration management with a tool like Puppet is a big step towards this collaboration between developers and operations, because the process is formalized, can be version controlled, and offers a single point of truth for the configuration of environments.
Vagrant is another tool to help your organization transition to a DevOps culture. Vagrant also helps improve your entire workflow of using Puppet, improving development and process for both developers and operations.
In this blog post, I’m going to talk about using Vagrant effectively with Puppet, and how it helps your organization work more efficiently in the process. I gave a talk at PuppetConf on advanced Vagrant usage with Puppet, and I’ve written an article for InfoQ on transitioning to a DevOps culture. This blog post will be a mix of both of those topics.
Since 1999, my passion has been studying high performing IT organizations. This journey started off when I began keeping a list called “Gene’s list of people with good kung fu.” The people on the list talked differently about IT Operations, acted differently, and most importantly, had profoundly different results than your typical IT organization.
On this journey, I studied these high performers and benchmarked over 1,500 organizations. Our goal was to understand what enabled them to do what most organizations could only dream of. Our findings went into a book that we published in 2004 called The Visible Ops Handbook, which described how these organizations made their “good to great” transformation.
What I couldn’t have predicted was how this journey would take me straight into the heart of the DevOps movement. As my friend John Willis told me after I dismissed DevOps as just another marketing fad, “DevOps is the best chance at relevance that IT Operations has had in thirty years.” I immediately realized that he was right.
We’re excited to announce our second annual DevOps Survey, in conjunction with IT Revolution Press. Our last survey saw over 700 respondents and showed us how DevOps has evolved since the term was first coined in 2009 by Patrick Debois. A lot has changed in the last 18 months, and we want to know how […]