Aug 25 2012

Open Source Certification , Friend or Foe

With 2 of the bigger Open Source projects I care about talking about certifications programs questions pop up again ...

Should we certify ourselves ?

So let me tell you about my experiences in getting Open Source related Certifications ..

Over a decade ago, (2001) when RedHat was still Redhat and not yet Fedora the company I was working for was about to partner with RedHat and needed to get a number of people certified for that.

So I took the challenge, I bored myselve to death during a 4 day RedHat fast track training and set out to do the exam the next day. Obviosly I scored pretty well given my yearlong experience in the subject. Back then I was told that I scored the one but European Record on the exam which was actually held by another collegue (hey Ico) , our CTO however was not amused when I told that I could have scored better but I didn't bother running a chkconfig smb  on since I didn't see the use in using windows fileshares in a unix environment (Yes I was young , we're all allowd to make stupid mistakes :))

So I was certified, we were expecting the requests to flow in en masse ... nothing happened... not a single customer request... If I recall correctly we got 2 requests for certified engineers over the course of the following years. One was from a customer that wanted to have us do some junior level sysadmin work on their systems which we didn't care about, we proposed a more junior profile, but they insisted on having someone who was certified, The other one was from a Large institution that wanted certified people for their RedHat support, only to quickly learn that the budget they had planned for this project was about half the rate we usually charged ..

When RedHat introduced their certified Architect program my answer was, sure .. if you bring us the customer that will make the investment worthwhile , guess what..

My second experience with Open Source certification came a couple of years later with MySQL, same story partnering etc, . only this time our trainer had put some focus on a couple of slides during the training (Hi Tobias) and during the exam indeed one of those questions popped up, The correct answer to "What are the core values of MySQL AB" was "We reply to email" , I stood up and left the exam ...
I ranted about this to a number of people including Roland Bouman who back then was just starting on the MySQL (NDBD) Cluster certifciation track and I assisted him in making the book to study for that exam better.
Once again .. pretty much no one asked for MySQL certification in Europe back in those days (2007 ?)

I won't go deeper into discussing the Xen certification I got from Citrix, but it involved correcting slides from the presenters at the first European training.

Based on my experience with these certifications in Belgium/Europe you can see that I`m not a big fan of certifications I have not seen a reason for me to certify yet

I actually think that noone within the Open Source community should be looking for certification, we should be looking for people that are active in the community and that are contributing to projects.
Unlike in the proprietary world where you have to cough up tons of money in order to get a license to play with a tool and learn itl In the open source world with projects such as both Drupal and Puppet, there are absolutely no excuses for Junior people not to engage and prove themselves. they have full access to anything they need, the only thing they need to do is want to get involved.

Sadly this world however is still full of incompetent recruiters, middlemarket agencies that will never understand this and will ask for cerftifications of some kind. My fear is indeed that there will be a group of mediocre but certified developers swarming these growing markets at dumping rates and that the people with the real experience that have been involved in the communities for ages already will be the ones pulling the short straw.

Anyhow ... in just a short couple of years everything will be fine again .. as by then my RHCE will be current again and the incompetent recruiters that need people that are RedHat 7 certified will start calling me by the dozen.

Aug 17 2012

Devops Meeting Munich

Quick Note :

With Drupalcon going on next week in Munich , the nice folks of the local Devops Meetup are organising an evening event

Next tuesday at 1900 at Skoobe Gmbh

More details on the Meetup page !

Aug 11 2012

Our #monitoringsucks rpm is repository available

Not only our Rubygems Builds have changed, but also my internal #monitoringsucks repository.

You might have noticed a variety of vagrant- projects on my github acount

http://github.com/KrisBuytaert/vagrant-ganglia
http://github.com/KrisBuytaert/vagrant-graphite
http://github.com/KrisBuytaert/vagrant-puppet-logstash,
Being the #monitoringsucks part of them. All of those Vagrant projects are basically my test setups to play with those new tools.

They contain a bunch of puppet modules that install and configure these tools. (Note that they mostly consist of
of git submodules to other puppet module repositories.

Given the fact that I also like to have my software cleanly installed from a package, that means that some of these tools had to be packaged, or I had to create a personal / internal repository which had packages from upstream that were hiding on the internet available.

I've forked of this repository off the internal Inuits epository so you all can also benefit from these efforts.
(You gotta love pulp :))

That means you can now install all of the above mentionned #monitoringsucks tool from our public repo on

  1. yumrepo { 'monitoringsucks':
  2. baseurl => 'http://pulp.inuits.eu/pulp/repos/monitoring',
  3. descr => 'MonitoringSuck at Inuits',
  4. gpgcheck => '0',
  5. }

Patches to both the Vagrant projects and the puppet modules are welcome ...

Aug 08 2012

Ruby Gems Yum Repo

For those of you that are looking for my old build-gems Github repo, given that lots of other Inuits collegues are using it too I've transferred ownership of that repo to the Inuits group.

It can now be found on https://github.com/Inuits/build-gems/ (Yes directory indexes are disabled on purpose..)

The build result has also been moved. We've replaced our static repo.inuits.be with a Pulp powered yum repo.

The new location of the rubygems rpm repo now is at http://pulp.inuits.eu/pulp/repos/rubygems/

Which can be used as

  1. [rubygems]
  2. name=RubyGems at Inuits
  3. baseurl=http://pulp.inuits.eu/pulp/repos/rubygems
  4. gpgcheck=0

or even

  1. yumrepo { 'rubygems':
  2. baseurl => 'http://pulp.inuits.eu/pulp/repos/rubygems',
  3. descr => 'RubyGems at Inuits',
  4. gpgcheck => '0',
  5. }

More repos are moving .. I`ll be updating Vagrant trees as I go ..

Aug 06 2012

Breaking the Silence.

3+ months is probably the biggest timeout I've taken from blogging in a while..
Not that I didn't have anything to write ..but more that I was prioritizing writing different content over
over writing blogposts.

Blogging tech snippets and contributing documentation used to be one now all of that has evolved.
Anyhow ..

So to get things going here's my preliminary Conference schedule for the next couple of months.

  • First up, in about one week (august 20-24) I`ll be chairing the #devops track at DrupalCon Munich
    Next to talking there myselve explaining the Drupal Crowd what devops is
    Plenty of interresting content there ranging from culture over to tooling and back. I`m really looking forward to this one.

    There's also talk of the local Devops meetup group hosting an additional meetup !

  • About a month later I`ll be heading to San Francisco for a talk at PuppetConf 2012. I'll probably be around in the valley a bit earlier
    so if you anyone wants to meet up I`m open for suggestions.
  • I've taken over a bit of Patricks workload this year , thus I`m trying to guide the local crew in Rome into organising yet another awesome Devopsdays Europe,
    If you haven't noticed yet , Devopsdays is going to be in Rome this year on october 5 and 6. Both registration and the call for participation are still open !

Next up .. content ... on how monitoring tools still suck .. and I`m still not sure wether a certification program is relevant for open source consultants ..

May 01 2012

Devops in Munich

Devopsdays Mountainview sold out in a short 3 hours .. but there's other events that will breath devops this summer.
DrupalCon in Munich will be one of them ..

Some of you might have noticed that I`m cochairing the devops track for DrupalCon Munich,
The CFP is open till the 11th of this month and we are still actively looking for speakers.

We're trying to bridge the gap between drupal developers and the people that put their code to production, at scale.
But also enhancing the knowledge of infrastructure components Drupal developers depend on.

We're looking for talks both on culture (both success stories and failure) , automation,
specifically looking for people talking about drupal deployments , eg using tools like Capistrano, Chef, Puppet,
We want to hear where Continuous Integration fits in your deployment , do you do Continuous Delivery of a drupal environment.
And how do you test ... yes we like to hear a lot about testing , performance tests, security tests, application tests and so on.
... Or have you solved the content vs code vs config deployment problem yet ?

How are you measuring and monitoring these deployments and adding metrics to them so you can get good visibility on both
system and user actions of your platform. Have you build fancy dashboards showing your whole organisation the current state of your deployment ?

We're also looking for people talking about introducing different data backends, nosql, scaling different search backends , building your own cdn using smart filesystem setups.
Or making smart use of existing backends, such as tuning and scaling MySQL, memcached and others.

So lets make it clear to the community that drupal people do care about their code after they committed it in source control !

Please submit your talks here

Mar 23 2012

FlossUK and Puppetcamp Edinburgh

I've just finished presenting my talk on how I currently work on Puppet modules at Puppetcamp here in Edinburgh where I've been for the week talking on both FlossUK 2012 and Puppetcamp.

Earlier this week I opened FlossUK 2012 with my talk on 7 tools for your devops stack

Mar 08 2012

Devops and Drupal, the Survey, the Results

I've just finished presenting the results of our Drupal and Devops survey at the Belgian Drupal User Group meetup at our office

and I've uploaded the slides to slideshare for the rest of the world to cry read.

Honestly I was hoping for the audience to prove me wrong and I was expecting all of them to claim they were doing automated and repeatable deployments.

But there's hope...

Feb 15 2012

Logstash and ElasticSearch

"An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made, in a narrow field."
Niels Bohr

When I setup Logstash for the very first time I got bitten by an empty search, aparently no logs were indexed. Reading the log files indeed told me about

  1. WARN: org.elasticsearch.discovery.zen.ping.unicast: [Blaire, Allison] failed to send ping to [[#zen_unicast_1#][inet[/127.0.0.1:9300]]]
  2. INFO | jvm 1 | 2012/02/06 22:45:55 | org.elasticsearch.transport.RemoteTransportException: [Page, Karen][inet[/127 .0.0.1:9300]][discovery/zen/unicast]
  3. INFO | jvm 1 | 2012/02/06 22:45:55 | Caused by: java.io.EOFException

The above is the typical error when the ElasticSearch version you are using externally is not in sync with the one Logstash is using, yes those versions need to match.

Fast forward a couple of weeks.. and I`m upgrading Logstash and therefore also ElasticSearch .. I have a Vagrant setup to play with so all of the components are running on 1 node.

I kept running into a similar problem, this time however I saw log entries being indexed, I could get data from my ElasticSearch setup using
wget -q -S -O - http://localhost:9200/_status?pretty=true

But the web interface kept showing no results ;(

While nagging about it on irc .. Jordan gave me the insight :

2012-01-31.194347+0100CET.txt:(07:55:36 PM) whack: slight caveat that elasticsearch clients also join the cluster, so if you point everyone at 127.0.0.1:9300, that :9300 could be one of your clients, not the server

Indeed when you by accident start any of the logstash instances (server/shipper/web) before you start your ElasticSearch instance you can be in trouble.
Ordering really matters , you really need to start ElasticSearch before you start the clients.

Obviously is you don't use the unicast setup you don't run into this problem ..

So what other mistakes should I make ?

Feb 11 2012

The ultimate 2012 open source and devops conference

Kent Skaar pinged me last week , asking for feedback on Lisa'11 and input for Lisa 2012.

Thought I should share my advise to him with the rest of the world

So If I were to host an event similar to Lisa I'd had either
Jordan Sissel or Mitchell Hashimoto give the keynote because over the past 24 months those people have written more relevant tools for me than anyone else :)

I'd have someone talk about Kanban for Operations, There's 2 names that pop up Dominica DeGrandis and Mattias Skarin

I'd have the Ubuntu folks talk about JuJu and I'd have RI Pienaar talk about MCollective .. while you have RI have him talk about Hiera too. Have Dean Wilson carry RI's bags and put him unknowingly on a panel. (Masquerade it as a Pub with hidden cameras)

Obviously as #monitoringsucks you want to hear about new monitoring tools initiatives and how people are dealing with them , so you want people talking about Graphite, Collectd, Statsd, Sensu , Icinga-MQ And how people are reviving Ganglia and using that in large scale environments.

You want someone to demistify Queues, I mean .. who still knows about the differences between Active, Rabbit , Zero, Hornet and many other Q's ?

You want people talking about how they deal with logs, so talks about Logstash and Graylog2.

You want to cover Test Driven Infrastructure How do you test your infrastructure , someone to demystify Cucumber and Webrat , and talk about testing Charms, Modules, and Cookbooks.

Oh and Filesystems , distributed ones the Ceph, FraunhoverFS, Moose, KosmosFS, Glusters, Swifts of this world ... you want people to talk about their experiences , good and bad with any of the above, someone who can actually compare those rather than heresay stuff. :) With recent updates on what's going on in these projects.

Now someone please organise this for me :) In a warm and sunny place ... preferably with 27 holes next door , and daycare for my kids :)

PS. Yes the absence of any openstack related topic is on purpose .. that's for 2013 :)