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Getting it Straight from the Source at PuppetConf: Justin Seabrook-Rocha & Patrick Adair

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.

Release management best practices have changed

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.

Why the Rest of Us Need Virtualization Even If Facebook Doesn’t

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.”

Build a Web Dev Environment With Vagrant and Puppet (Part 2)

Second of two parts. Written by Max Martin. Originally published on Linux.com, republished with permission.

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.

A Four Quadrant Look at the DevOps Toolchain

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.

Speed Up Your Web Development With Vagrant and Puppet

First of two parts. Written by Max Martin. Originally published on Linux.com, republished with permission.

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?

Improving your software release management process

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.

Stronger DevOps Culture with Puppet and Vagrant

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.

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