Mar 23 2016

It's just rubber , with some air in it.

- A child balloon
you inflate it, play with it for a while, then it explodes, you throw it away you inflate another one, maybe even a different color. the kid plays with it .. till it breaks, then you throw it away...

- An inflatable castle.
you inflate it, play with it for a while, deflate it, move it around, inflate it again, if it has a hole in it, you patch the hole.

- The tyres on your kids bike,.
You inflate it , kid rides on it, if it starts losing air, you fix it asap so you can continue using it.

All of the 3 are really valuable use cases for rubber with air in it,
in a way they are all equally valuable, but serve different purposes, different use cases.

Now think about this next time you spin up a container, that's running a database, application server and where your users ssh to.

It's not just another VirtualMachine

Nov 27 2013

Docker vs Reality , 0 - 1

(aka the opinionated summary of the #devopsdays London November OpenSpace on , Containers and the new flood of Image Sprawl)

There's a bunch of people out there that think I don't like docker, they are wrong.

I just never understood the hype about it since I didn't see, (and still don't) see it being used at large and people seem to understand that as being against it.

So let me put a couple of things straight :

There's absolutely nothing wrong with using a container based approach when deploying your infrastructure. If you remember my talks about the rise of Open Source Virtualization some years ago you've noticed that I've always mentioned OpenVZ and friends as good alternatives if you wanted to have a lot of isolated platforms on one machine. LXC and friends have grown .. they are even more usable these days. Years ago people bought bare metal and ran Hypervisors on it to isolate resources. These days people rent VM's and also want the same functionality so the use of the combination of Virtualization and Container based technologies is a very good match there.

There's also nothing wrong with using Infrastructure as Code tools to build an reproducable image you are going to deploy will provide you with a disposable image which allows you to quickly launch a reproducable and versionned platform for your application if that application is supposed to be shortlived. The tooling around today is not yet there to have these images long lived as you still need to manage the config inside the containers as your application will evolve, it will change, your environment will change (think even about changing to a different loghost..) , but when you don't have to keep state you can dispose the image and redeploy a new reproducable one.

In the embedded world, this kind of approach with multiple banks has been a round for a while , one image running, a second bank as a fallback, and when you upgrade the passive bank you can swap the roles and still have roll back.

There's is also nothing wrong on combining these to approaches and using tools such as Docker and Packer.

But there is lot wrong with building images that then start living their own life, tools like Veewee etc saw the light to create an easy way to make sure the JeOS image (Just Enough Operating System) we created was reproducable, not to ship around virtual appliances.

But, lets be realistic, the number of applications that are suitable for this kind of environment is small. Most applications these days are still very statefull, and when your application contains state you need to manage that
that state, you can't just dispose an image which has state. Specially in an Enterprise environment stateless, immutable applications are really the exception rather than the rule.

When your application maps with stateless and short lived, or a some people like to call it Immutable please do so.. but if it doesn't please remember that we started using configuration management tools like CFengine, Puppet and Chef to prevent Image Sprawl and Config Drift
There's proprietary businesses out there building tools to detect config drift and extort organisations to solve problems that shouldn't have existed in the first place.

Luckily the majority of smart people I've spoken to over the past couple of weeks pretty much confirmed this ...
Like one of the larger devops minded appliation hosting outsourcers in emea, I asked them how much % of their customer base they could all "Immutable" , exactly 0% was the answer.

Image Based Container solutions are definitely not a one size fits all solution, and we have along way to go before we get there if at all ..

Till then I like not to diffuse my attention to too many different types of deploying platforms, just not to make stuff more complex than it already complexity is the enemy of reliability

May 27 2010

Building Virtual Appliances

Johan from Sizing Servers asked me if I could talk about my experiences on building (virtual) appliances at their Advanced Virtualization and Hybrid Cloud seminar . Off course I said yes ..

Slides are below ... Enjoy ..

Nov 18 2009

Got Interviewed

by @botchagalupe
on Virtualization, Open Source tools and DNS Problems

Apr 30 2009

Dear Oracle,

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post titled Dear IBM , I was too late .. I was on holliday last week when people started sending me text messages , such as .. "Game Over MySQL , Long live Ingress" or "No Eclipse for IBM", etc ...

I had ideas regarding the future of certain Sun products at IBM, now the game has changed .. it'ss how they will live on at Oracle :)

Similar Questions arise .. like indeed the future of MySQL, the future of Solaris etc ...

So regarding the future of MySQL , I don't worry at all, on the contrary ..
Oracle tried buying mysql before they already have Innodb .. they didn't kill it .. the MySQL offering is complementary to the Oracle offering, now they can tackle both markets.
And as already mentionned when writing my IBM letter ..

As for MySQL, Jeremey has some good insights.. the fact that different prominent MySQL folks have left Sun will only push the MySQL development model towards more openness.
And towards an even more Redder RedHat alike model, we already have the first CentOS alike rebuilds of MySQL , so a distribution model based on the same kernel with different feature sets or focus indeed might be the future.

Further there's what Monty Said ... hang on ... nobody mentions the fact that some core PostgreSQL people are on Sun's payroll how's that going to turn out ?

A more interresting discussion is the future of Solaris one.. Oracle has always had an eye for Solaris.. one day it is their most important platform, the other day they tell the world Linux is their prime development platform, it often was a matter of who was quoted.

As for Unbreakable Oracle did a smart thing.. they learned that they should build a full operating system themselves but , so why should they want to do that with Solaris ?

LinuxWorld has an article where oracle states their idea about Linux :
What we are working to do in the data center ... is to make Linux the default for the data center OS," Screven said in a speech at the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit in San Francisco. "We want there to be no question"

They suggest a merger between Solaris and Linux is a potential alternative .. so what do we need to merge .. you'd say ZFS and DTrace ..,but do we really need ZFS ?
There has been a lot of writing already about BTRFS being the next big filesystem, maybe it could make ZFS obsolete, maybe it couldn't ..

I got no clue on what's going to happen with .. so I`m really going to keep an eye on that one ..

In my opinion the real loser in this deal .. HP .. they don't have a full stack to play with .. They have the hardware, some management and monitoring software soon to be obsolete but no Operating System, no Database, no Appserver, no Apps. So what's their next move going to be ?

Oh and if you really want to talk figures Larry Augustin has a good take on it ... the idea that Oracle could sell off some parts to Hitachi EMC etc, get MySQL and Sun for Free ... then quietly wait for RedHat .. to get Jboss who knows :)

PS. I already blogged about the impact of the acquistion on the Virtualization area over at

Apr 27 2009

To exaggerate , or not ...

Sometimes you have to step out of line to get a message through just write a viewpoint down in totally black, ignoring the white parts.

Earlier examples of these tricks were my rants on raid :)

The original work title of the post actually was "VMWare, the New Microsoft, they gave us point and click and no clue for the user" But I selfmoderated that down to a more gentle title, not attacking a vendor :)

I think the message got through ...

Yes you get the,"he must be joking" feedback from some ,on one hand that accelerating the effect and on the other some people might think what an idiot , but that doesn't weigh up to the one person who realizes he should do integrity checks on OVF's too and other one that realizes he shouldn't randomly copy VM's back and forth while not checking where they come from ...

So for clarity sake I`m in favour of OVF as an open standard, assuming it is wiseley used :)

On a side note , One of the people commenting on Beaker's blog wondered if " he checks the signature of every piece of software he ever downloads" .. I let yum or apt-get do that for me..

It's not all black and white , Hope you enjoyed the show however :)

Apr 16 2009

Upcoming Training opportunities

Next month I`ll be teaching a course on Virtualization at the KULAK.

Apart from my training there is also a Puppet training planned in Belgium.

As I assisted Luke in finding a location for the training I tought it might be a good idea to have a Puppet Users meetup while some people are already gathering in Leuven

Current plan is to meet up somewhere in Leuven on the evening of the 25th , more announcements later ..

Apr 10 2009

CloudCamp Antwerp

So yesterday a 100+ crowd met in the Antwerp Zoo.
I heard different comments from that crowd... some of them liked the event, good networking, interresting topics , a broad overview, meeting new vendors active in the Cloud, others of them didn't .. it wasn't a real camp , just some vendors pitching, they didn't hear any new stuff , or we didn't touch the real stuff.

So different opinions from different expectations...

Anyhow for all those who could't read the slides :

Or here

Mar 31 2009

Slides updated

I've updated the slidedeck of my Open Source Virtualization talk, with the 2009 edition as I gave it last week at the UKUUG Spring conference.

Talk is up, both on my page as on SlideShare

Tom also updated our set of Open Source Monitoring Tool Shootout slides .
They are also on SlideShare

Mar 16 2009

VirtSec, and Open Source

The slides from the presentation I gave last friday at Lsec are now online, both at My Site and on Slideshare

I learned a lot last friday , I`ll be talking to some more people about the technical details , but be expecting some of my findings on soon :)