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 →

It’s been years since I’ve read a book on VMWare. Between the maturity and ease of use of their GUI tools and my own continual move towards Free virtualisation I’ve not had the professional need or the spare time to invest but when a book comes as highly recommended as the VMware vSphere 4.1 HA and DRS Technical deepdive does you have to make some room on your (virtual) bookshelf. Despite its small page count this book covers its subject material in a simple, direct and technically clear way. Read on →

I’ve been doing a little tinkering with pre/post release checklists and compliance reporting using cucumber and some Nagios wrapping (among other things) in my test lab and recently needed to do some higher level entire environment checks before moving on to the next step. While it’s possible to wrap something like nmaps ping check and then Nagios each target it does feel like stepping back a few years in the tool chain. Read on →

I never thought I’d use a cliche like “David vs Goliath” but considering the two speakers at London Devops it does seem a little apt. Andrew Godwin from ep.io, a Python hosting platform, was the first speaker, and he did an excellent job of explaining their internal platform, how they make their decisions and what makes them special. While it was both an interesting and engaging talk it did leave me a little worried about the size of the operation. Read on →