Dev Ops – Scaling infrastructure

The theme of last Thursday’s DevOps Ireland talks at Engine Yard Dublin was automated deployment.

For anyone who missed it – the first talk was by Ulrich Dangel (@mr_ud) on using Grml. The second talk was by Stéfan from Facebook on Kobold which they use to bring up and tear down clusters.

Ulrich’s creative slides for the talk can be found here.  In Logentries we mainly deal with cloud based (IAAS, SAAS, PAAS) setups so it’s good every so often to have a chance to look at technologies that are used in bare metal environments. Grml certainly falls into that category.

It’s essentially a bootable live system based on Debian. Grml has a number of features including Grml live which can be used to create a Linux Live system (ISO).

Ulrich gave a great overview of Grml and managed to get a lot of information into the talk. One of the more interesting points that was mentioned was the use of jenkins-debian-glue to create debian packages using jenkins. At this point in the talk some cogs started to turn slowly in my head. We use Jenkins I thought. We also deploy to Debian based systems! I think this warrants some further investigation. I’ll have a look at this during our next sprint to see if it can make our lives easier – thanks Ulrich!

Next up, Stéfan gave an overview of the staggering numbers that Facebook  deals with on a daily basis and it was immediately clear that anything that they could do to automate any of their processes would be greatly beneficial to the company. Kobold is an internal Facebook tool that performs this task for cluster management. One of the initial thoughts that came to my mind was why not use Puppet or Chef for this sort of administration. Stéfan answered this later on saying that Kobold can perform a lot of tasks for cluster management that are not suited to Puppet/Chef. Whilst Puppet/Chef is great for configuration Kobold excels at Orchestration. With Kobold you can easily automate tasks such are setting up your load-balancer, D.N.S and memcached. Kobold looks like a great tool that could be useful for a lot of organisations. Here’s hoping it will be open sourced soon.

Kudos to DevOps Ireland – the talks were interesting and informative – both  of them gave me something to think about and even some further investigation that I will likely carry out on Grml. It was also great to see a good turn out and so many attendees there. It looked like numbers were up on last month. DevOps Ireland meetups are going from strength to strength.

Finally a shameless plug, at Logentries we are currently hiring and in particular are on the look out for someone with serious DevOps skills so let us know if you have them and want to show them off 🙂

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