Showing posts from 2011

OpenStack in the community

or,dissipating   the fog in the cloud Update (Feb 3,2012):  read the meetup retrospective here OpenStack  is creating lots of buzz in the IT industry. Its promise is to revolutionize the cloud market in the same way that Linux revolutionized the operating system market. Part of the reason that Linux was successful is the community of devotees that saw the potential and ushered the code base to where it is today. But communities don't always just happen, they're made with sweat and pizza. My group has taken on the goal of making OpenStack users in the Boston area a vibrant community. The promise of OpenStack and quick pace of activity has spurred a worldwide  wave of excitement, with local groups spanning the globe - from Argentina  to Japan, Australia to British Columbia. I half stumbled into organizing the  Boston meetup group . Being an engineer, it gave me a new appreciation to what it takes to make an event happen. From getting relevant technical content down to sa

Agile Ops

or, what's this DevOps thing everybody is talking about Agile in software development is an attempt to be more real - rather than attempt to predict the future, the methodology is all about taking stabs and correcting with a fast feedback cycle. Start producing real value quickly, and keep chasing the value fanatically. In a recent Openstack meetup discussing Swift  an attendee asked - so swift has all these parameters, do you have good guidance on how to set them ?  A traditional approach would involve enormous efforts attempting to predict workloads, methodically simulating them in a lab environment, and laboriously attempting to tune parameter after parameter to find the optimum setting for those workloads. Can you predict what would happen? You will end up deploying optimized the system based on the lab results driven by the simulated workloads.  By the second week in production you realize that the actual workloads are substantially different than what you predict

Agile process

or... what does actually matter in an agile process? The holly grail of any software outfit is: deliver high value, high quality results; consistently and predictably. Talk about a loaded sentence ! but those are the requirements to make a software team  valuable to the business (or is the business). Breaking it down:: Team - A single developer doesn't need process.... And finding a unified process that works a huge conglamorate corp is not likely. A process then is meant for a TEAM of some reasonable size. High value - if you deliver the wrong thing at the right time.... well, I've been at too many (now deceased) startups to recognize that value is key.  High quality - need I say more? If you want to deliver 2.0, but your stuck bug-fixing 1.0 into existence you will have 2 customers - the one that is unhappy with 1.0 and the one waiting for the features in 2.0. Neither would keep the revenue coming in. Results - activities by themselves, with no results, provides littl

Desktop sized "cloud"

Or, here's my pet mini-cloud I first used VMWare workstation as a development tool somewhere around 20003. It was a cost effective way to test the software I was working on against quirks of different operating systems. On one linux desktop I could have all my development tools, including a few Windows95 installations. So, now you're asking - "what does that have to do with  clouds?" Well, no much yet. For my current project ( Crowbar ) I found myself needing a setup that includes: Multiple OS flavors  Win XP for access to corporate resources ubuntu 10.10 and 11.04 - main testing targets Redhat  and Centos - for some dev work and testing Varying numbers of machines, pretty much depending on the day For basic development 3 machines - development, admin node and a target node For swift and nova (components of openstack ) related development - at least 5, sometimes a few more Weird-ish network configurations Network segments to simulate public, pri

What's worse that the dreaded "Works on my setup?"

Or.. .why do you care about DevOps (and why you want devOps ++) If you've ever written (or tested) a piece of software, you've heard this all before - "but... it works in my setup". That endless back and forth of finger pointing, until way too often, it ends up being some silly environment setting that causes the application or service to miss-behave. DevOps is there to help. No more manual deployment steps to deploy an app. No longer 13 page project plans requiring coordination of at least 5 geo-distributed teams (half of which are in a timezone where the sun has long stopped shining). The DevOps motto is simple - "if it hurts and its dangerous, do it often". The industry has accepted this in the Continuous Integration case - builds that integrate disparate development streams are painful. Assumptions made in isolation prove to be wrong, and whole hell breaks loose when you try to put different, independently developed pieces together. This is a pai

Cocktails and clouds, or how to explain SaaS, PaaS and Iaas

Recently I’ve been finding myself at the same awkward moment repeatedly; a social gathering of one sort or another, introductions, platitudes and the inevitable 2 questions:  “what do you do?” and “oh, software, what kind of software?” I have been experimenting with different explanations and examples, but judging by the faces looking at me I might as well just said I herd cats for a living. Using familiar examples seems to resonate, it goes something like this: A:  do you used Gmail or Yahoo? WEP:  “yes… doesn’t everyone? A: Why then you’re using ‘’the cloud’’! That is just an example of SaaS. Ok. That gets the ball rolling, a bit.  But WEP (wide eyed person) is somewhat left unconvinced about this whole cloud thing. Heck, web based email has been around long before Cisco started advertising cloud on TV. Setting up this blog triggered a thought – blogging is almost as common as ATM machines and Oprah. What if this could be the linchpin in explaining cloud to my mom? So, you want a

Inaugural post

I have succumbed to the web completely - so here's a blog. Working on open source projects and interacting with the world seems to absolutely mandate that I have a blog.  Well - here it is. Some of the topics I'm involved with include, in no particular order: Open source cloud platforms, mostly OpenStack but poking at things SOA and Cloud - best buddies? Java, python ruby php and their ilk seem to be part of the territory... For the occasional excursion from excitement I try to go hiking camping and when the weather in the US NE is like today, riding. I'm still hoping to get (back) around to flying and fly my homebuilt Q200 (at that point in time, I'd probably need a pig-radar) ... that's it for today. I've got me some RAID's to configure!