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Wed, 05 Jan 2011

Clarifying With Facter

While adopting a configuration management tool like Chef and Puppet will have a large, nearly immediate, effect on your work flow even after using the tools for a while you'll still get a little smile at all the little niceties you continuously discover.

One recent small win we had recently was bringing some apache configs files under Puppet command. When we started we had the following block of config:

RewriteCond %{REMOTE_ADDR} !
RewriteCond %{REMOTE_ADDR} !
RewriteCond %{REMOTE_ADDR} !

It's not hard to read and roughly understand what it does, but you have no real context; magic numbers keep things terse but are rarely the most helpful when in the land of a strange system. After putting the configs in to a module and abstracting them a little into a template we have the much nicer:

RewriteCond %{REMOTE_ADDR} !<%= primary_loadbalancer %>
RewriteCond %{REMOTE_ADDR} !<%= secondary_loadbalancer %>
RewriteCond %{REMOTE_ADDR} !<%= ipaddress_eth0_mgmt %>

As part of the tidy up we also renamed some of the (remarkably large amount of) Ethernet interfaces to describe what they were for, rather than leaving them as eth12:34

Posted: 2011/01/05 22:47 | /tools/puppet | Permanent link to this entry

Tue, 04 Jan 2011

Puppet CookBook is live

Between Xmas and New Year I had some spare time to invest on a side project I've been looking forward to working on for quite a while. I'm pleased to announce the opening of the Puppet CookBook.

I've introduced Puppet to quite a few companies, sysadmins and development teams over the years and a lot of the same issues, concepts and needs repeatedly crop up. By explaining how puppet works in terms of tasks and desired outcomes rather than in raw feature descriptions I hope to show some of its power and flexibility in easy to use examples in a different way to most of the existing documentation.

The site isn't exactly brimming over with content yet (and it's pretty ugly) but I'm adding a handful of posts each week and hope to cover some more advanced topics over the next couple of months. You can follow the Puppet CookBook Twitter account for update announcements or to send feedback or suggestions for future topics.

Posted: 2011/01/04 22:59 | /tools/puppet | Permanent link to this entry

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