With a title like Resilience and Reliability on AWS I had quite high expectations for this slim book. Unfortunately, they were not met. The first four chapters provide brief introductions to AWS and some of its more popular services. While these were fine I’d point people looking for this level of information at the Amazon Webservice Advent 2012 instead. Following this are a handful of more cookbook like chapters that each present a small amount of theory and advice about how to run a given applications on AWS - interspaced with multiple pages of python code. Read on →

Back in October Nan Liu announced “pocco - a puppet manifest documentation experiment” as a way of generating much nicer looking documentation for puppet classes (you can see an example and reducing the amount of boilerplate needed to document your classes. After some issues with the ruby libraries it depends on, I ran it over a couple of my smaller manifests and I have to say the output is very readable and quite presentable. Read on →

For sysadmins and devopsy type people the next couple of months are full of chances to meet and learn from your European peers - We start off with the return of PuppetCamp to its home in Gent. Puppetcamps are a great, informal way to see how other people are using Puppet and put names to faces. A number of the more active European community members will be present and Ghent is a lovely city so it’s worth a couple of days out of the office - and then of course you can stay for … the 800 pound gorilla of Free and Open conferences - FOSDEM 2013. Read on →

While most of us spend our December hunting for those last minute gifts, treats and surprise presents, a small number of techies manage to find the time to write a themed set of articles on certain technical topics that are combined in to an advent calendar. While I’m a little ashamed to say I’ve not yet read the 2012 SysAdvent posts I did have a chance to look at the inaugural, and quite excellent Amazon Webservice Advent 2012 Each post is well written, concise, mostly practical (there are a couple of more high level overview entries but most are immediately applicable) and serves as a perfect jumping on point for someone new to the service being discussed. Read on →

Over the years I’ve realised that tools I can extend always return the effort taken to learn them many times over. While a number of us have worked through the source code of existing Puppet types and providers and the handful of official wiki pages and unofficial blog posts the release of Puppet Types and Providers means that the rest of you won’t have to - this book brings most of the power with far, far less of the pain and uncertainty. Read on →

When I picked up this very slim tome I knew nearly nothing about Gradle. Over the hundred odd well written pages of Building and Testing with Gradle I learned enough to understand the basic how, when and whys of the tool. The book itself covered basic Gradle usage, how it compares to existing tools like maven, how to use ant and your existing ant task toolbox from within it and a basic look at how to write a custom task and integrate your own testing. Read on →

The aim is to, at the least, achieve all these goals. The time allocated is from December 2012 to December 2013. Read (and hopefully Review) 12 Tech books Building and Testing with Gradle - Short Review Puppet Types and Providers - Short Review Resilience and Reliability on AWS - book review Cisco Routers for the Desperate (2nd edition) The Phoenix Project Effective monitoring and alerting Beginning Puppet Cloud Architecture Patterns Bandit Algorithms for Website Optimization Heroku: Up and Running Extreme Programming Adventures in C# Micro-ISV (Vision to reality) An Introduction to Programming in Go Pro Puppet 2nd Edition Write 50 blog posts. Read on →

A while ago @ripienaar and I had a chat in a pub about monitoring, event systems and lots of related subjects. As we all know he’s way more productive than is fair and so while he’s been doing a BUNDLE of work with on subjects like monitoring frameworks and event correlation I’ve been doing some thinking (and no actual coding) about event auditing, continuous compliance and security event management. Now I’ve finished the $TIMESINK_PROJECT I’m soon going to actually need some of this stuff so I’ve started putting together a prototype framework that I’m calling DSAC - Dump Send and Correlate. Read on →

<tl;dr> Search for puppet resources values using puppet, not just plain text</tl;dr> One of the ideas that has been sitting on my todo list is having a command that lets me grep a puppet manifest for certain properties, values or even just resources in a smarter way than just running a raw grep over files. While a simple grep works in some cases it is annoyingly fragile when you’re trying to ignore literal strings in resource types that you’re not interested in or narrow your search down to resources that have a property that can also appear in other types. Read on →

While most people know you can use puppet to ensure a service is running the mechanism it uses to determine if a service is actually running is often unexplored. By default (at least up to Puppet 2.6) puppet assumes that a service doesn’t supply a working status option and so will look up the services name in the process table to check if it’s running. If your service does support the status argument you can set ‘hasstatus => true’ and the platforms service provider will be used to interrogate the services current status. Read on →