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: [Blaire, Allison] failed to send ping to [[#zen_unicast_1#][inet[/]]]
  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:

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, 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 :)

Feb 10 2012

We didn't fix it

MonitoringSucks and we didn't fix it.

Earlier this week Inuits hosted a 2 day hackfest titled #MonitoringSucks. A good number of people with a variety of backgrounds showed up on monday morning. I don't know why but people had high expectations for this event , did they really expect us to fix the #monitoringsucks problem in a mere 2 days ?

Next to myselve we had Patrick Debois , Grégory Karékinian, Stefan Jourdan, Colin Humphreys, Andrew Crump, Ohad Levy , Frank Marien, Toshaan Bharvani, Devdas Bhagat, Maciej Pasternacki Axel Beckert Jelle Smet, Noa Resare @blippie , John John Tedro @udoprog, Christian Trabold @ctrabold and obviously some people I missed

A good mixture of Fosdem visitors that stayed a litte longer in our cold country and locals with ideas. We had people from TomTom, RedHat , Spotify,, Inuits, Atlassian, coming from Belgium, The Netherlands France, Israel, the UK, Sweden, Germany, Poland and Switzerland if I`m not mistaken.

The format was pretty open, much of the first day was spend around the drawingboard.

people around the drawingboard
(Ohad Levy, Jelle Smet, PatrickDebois and Frank Marien) discussing a variety of topics

This monitoring topic is complex, there are different areas that need to be covered. The drawing below documents how we splitted the problem into different areas , and listed the different tools people use for these areas.

  • Collection: Collectd, Nagios, Ganglia
  • Transport: XMPP, Smiple, Smtp, 0mq , APMQ, rsyslog, irc, stomp
  • Storage : rrd, graphite, opentsdb, hbase,
  • Filtering: logstash, esper,
  • Visualisation : Graphite,
  • Notifcation: PagerDuty
  • Reporting: Jasper

Obviously above list is far from complete.

The afternoon discussion continued where we left of before lunch, just after the powercut. Only now we started refocussing on filtering and aggregating values using Logstash
@patrickdebois had been talking about the idea to use Logstash as a way to collect data , transform it and throw it either to another tool, or onto a Queue before.
Looking at Logstash it makes kind of sense. Logstash already has a zillion of input types, filters and outputs. Including popular queues such as amqp and zeromq. Yes, the default behaviour for a lot of people is to get data from different inputs, filter it and then send it to ElasticSearch, but much more is possible with the available outputs.

It was only on tuesday that people really started writing code
So what did really come out of the #monitoringsucks hackfest. ?

A couple of people were working on packaging existing tools for their favourite distro. Others were working on integrating a number of other already existing tools (e.g Patrick working on more inputs for Logstash., me working on replacing logster with Logstash, setting up Kibana etc. New tools were learned, items were added to todolists (Kibana, (doesn't work on older Firefox instances) Tattle, statsd) and items were scratched from todolists (Graylog2 (Kibana replaces that as a good Frontend for Logstash) )

A lot of experiences with different tools were exchanged

Frank Marien showed us a demo of his freshly release ExtremeMon framework. A really promising project.

The sad part about a workshop like this one is that you enter with a bunch of ideas , and leave with even more ideas, hence more work. We haven't solved the problem yet, but a lot of more people are now thiking about the problem and how to solve it a more modulare (unix style) approach. With different litte tools, all being good at something and all being interconnectable.

Feb 01 2012

#monitoringsucks hackathon 6&7 february Practical details:

As announced earlier next monday and tuesday we're opening up the Inuits offices for everybody working on monitoring problems.

There's already a good number of people that have confirmed their presence and some people have asked

As for practical details .. the plan is simple.
I`m going to be at the place somewhere between 8:30 and 9:00 on monday. ( Hey .. it's the day after Fosdem you know :))

The only thing I've planned is to do a get to know eachother round around 10:30 after that I`m expecting the hackathon to be self organising,

There will be water, coffee , etc , IP connectivity, and electricity.

The location is still Duboisstraat 50, Antwerp

Free parking is on the Hardenvoort or Kempenstraat ( 3minutes walk) , paid parking right in front of the door.

Jan 03 2012

Graphite, JMXTrans, Ganglia, Logster, Collectd, say what ?

Given that @patrickdebois is working on improving data collection I thought it would be a good idea to describe the setup I currently have hacked together.

(Something which can be used as a starting point to improve stuff, and I have to write documentation anyhow)

I currently have 3 sources , and one target, which will eventually expand to at least another target and most probably more sources too.

The 3 sources are basically typical system data which I collect using collectd, However I`m using collectd-carbon from to send data to Graphite.

I`m parsing the Apache and Tomcat logfiles with logster , currently sending them only to Graphite, but logster has an option to send them to Ganglia too.

And I`m using JMXTrans to collect JMX data from Java apps that have this data exposed and send it to Graphite. (JMXTrans also comes with a Ganglia target option)

Rather than going in depth over the config it's probably easier to point to a Vagrant box I build which brings up a machine that does pretty much all of this on localhost.

Obviously it's still a work in progress and lots of classes will need to be parametrized and cleaned up. But it's a working setup, and not just on my machine ..

Jan 03 2012

#monitoringsucks and we'll fix it !

If you are hacking on monitoring solutions, and want to talk to your peers solving the problem
Block the monday and tuesday after fosdem in your calendar !

That's right on february 6 and 7 a bunch of people interrested to fix the problem will be meeting , discussing and hacking stuff together in Antwerp

In short a #monitoringsucks hackathon

Inuits is opening up their offices for everybody who wants to join the effort Please let us (@KrisBuytaert and @patrickdebois) know if you want to join us in Antwerp

Obviously if you can't make it to Antwerp you can join the effort on ##monitoringsucks on Freenode or on Twitter.

The location will be Duboistraat 50 , Antwerp
It is about 10 minutes walk from the Antwerp Central Trainstation
Depending on Traffic Antwerp is about half an hour north of Brussels and there are hotels at walking distance from the venue.

Plenty of parking space is available on the other side of the Park