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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Devops

Coming back from CloudStack conference the feeling that this is not about building clouds got stronger. This is really about what to do with them and how they bring you agility, faster-time to market and allow you to focus on innovation in your core business. A large component of this is Culture and a change of how we do IT. The DevOps movement is the embodiment of this change. Over in Amsterdam I was stoked to meet with folks that I had seen at other locations throughout Europe in the last 18 months. Folks from PaddyPower, SchubergPhilis, Inuits who all embrace DevOps. I also met new folks, including Hugo Correia from Klarna (CloudStack users) who came by to talk about Vagrant-cloudstack plugin. His talk and a demo by Roland Kuipers from Schuberg was enough to kick my butt and get me to finally check out Vagrant. I sprinkled a bit of Veewee and of course some CloudStack on top of it all. Have fun reading.

Automation is key to a reproducible, failure-tolerant infrastructure. Cloud administrators should aim to automate all steps of building their infrastructure and be able to re-provision everything with a single click. This is possible through a combination of configuration management, monitoring and provisioning tools. To get started in created appliances that will be automatically configured and provisioned, two tools stand out in the arsenal: Veewee and Vagrant.

Veewee: Veewee is a tool to easily create appliances for different hypervisors. It fetches the .iso of the distribution you want and build the machine with a kickstart file. It integrates with providers like VirtualBox so that you can build these appliances on your local machine. It supports most commonly used OS templates. Coupled with virtual box it allows admins and devs to create reproducible base appliances. Getting started with veewee is a 10 minutes exericse. The README is great and there is also a very nice post that guides you through your first box building.

Most folks will have no issues cloning Veewee from github and building it, you will need ruby 1.9.2 or above. You can get it via `rvm` or your favorite ruby version manager.

git clone
gem install bundler
bundle install

Setting up an alias is handy at this point `alias veewee="bundle exec veewee"`. You will need a virtual machine provider (e.g VirtualBox, VMware Fusion, Parallels, KVM). I personnaly use VirtualBox but pick one and install it if you don't have it already. You will then be able to start using `veewee` on your local machine. Check the sub-commands available (for virtualbox):

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In Case You're Not Already Sold on DevOps

Posted by on in Events

DSC_0040_CCC13I won't lie, I'm a bit of a Gene Kim fanboy. David Nalley suggested, actually sort of insisted, that I read The Phoenix Project almost immediately after it came out. 

This turned out to be a Good Thing™. While I'm often skeptical of book recommendations (what's meaningful to one person doesn't necessarily work for another person), I think Kim and his co-authors knocked it out of the park with The Phoenix Project, and managed to make a really convincing case that companies urgently need to embrace DevOps and provides a narrative as to how they'd do that. 

What I find particularly valuable about The Phoenix Project is the way that the subject is approached. Rather than a dry business/tech tome that preaches the gospel of DevOps, The Phoenix Project provides an illustrative story of how DevOps solves real problems and transforms a business. While it's not great literature, it's an easy read that packs a lot of punch. 

Kim also packs a lot into a short talk. We had the great pleasure of having Kim give a keynote at the CloudStack Collaboration Conference (as well as giving each attendee a copy of TPP), and he did a fantastic job of helping convince the audience about the need for DevOps.

(Side note: You'd think that folks using Apache CloudStack, or cloud in general, would also be employing DevOps tactics. Not so, at least according to Donnie Berkholz of RedMonk - who says that most crossover of DevOps and Cloud come from Bay Area startups without a lot of legacy to deal with...)

Tagged in: Devops Gene Kim
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Over the last couple weeks I have been using exoscale, a swiss public cloud provider based on CloudStack. They just launched after a beta testing phase that I had the chance to be part of. Their offering is primarily aimed at developers. The folks at Exoscale were kind enough to give me couple "gift cards" during the CloudStack Geneva meetup and I was able to get going. Together with PCExtreme, Leaseweb, and iKoula they are one more European public cloud provider in production with Apache CloudStack that I know of.

Their cloud is almost straightforward: two data centers in Geneva and Vernier, with hardware hosted by Equinix. They run Apache CloudStack 4.0.2, the latest release and use KVM hypervisors on Ubuntu based servers. One customization that they made and that I am aware of is that they patched CloudStack to output logs using logstash and use Kibana for visuzalization. They offer CentOS 6.4 and Ubuntu 12.04/13.04 64 bit templates with instance types from 512MB with 1 core to 32 GB with 8 cores. Their development and operations team is relatively small for such an offering but they are backed by the Veltigroup a leading IT provider in Switzerland, which gives them a 20 person team for support. Their developers are seasoned IT infrastructure enthusiasts who participate in the DevOps, openBSD, Clojure and Pallet community. The lead developer, Pierre-Yves Ritschard, formerly with, recently participated in DevOps Days Paris and has contributed a Clojure client to CloudStack: clostack. They are embracing open source, not only by using it, but also by contributing to the various communities that make up the foundation of Cloud services.

While CloudStack comes with a powerful and efficient Web UI, exoscale decided to create their own UI and integrate it with a ticketing, monitoring and billing system that they developed. It reinforces the fact the CloudStack API is extremely rich and that the default UI was actually designed as a proof of concept rather than something that all users should use. The UI will please developers by its simplicity and straigthforward ease of use. From talking to them, I know they they will soon open source the python client they developed to build the UI backend. Pierre Yves told me it resembled a little bit my toy UI that uses Flask and builds a REST wrapper on top of the CloudStack API. See a snapshot of an instance view below:

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Happy Sysadmin Day!

Posted by on in News

admin-daySystem administration is a rewarding job, with lots of perks and challenges. It's certainly never boring. But, let's face it, sysadmins rarely get the recognition they deserve. When all's going well thanks to the hard work of sysadmins, who notices? Does anybody pop by the server room to say "thanks"? Probably not, except today.

July 27th is the internationally recognized SysAdmin Day. It's the one day a year for sysadmins to get the recognition they do for a job well done. 

Without sysadmins, where would we be? Without working mail servers, Web servers, database servers, etc... and, yes, without cloud infrastructure, surely. CloudStack is all about making the lives of admins (and the rest of the company) easier, but we know that an easier job for admins is still a lot of work.

The CloudStack community is full of excellent, hard-working sysadmins. If you're one of the folks who benefits from their hard work, we hope you'll join us in thanking all the sysadmins who keep everything humming. If you are one, we'd like to raise a glass and say thanks for all your hard work. Happy Sysadmin Day!

(Photo courtesy of Aaron Brady from Flickr.)

Tagged in: Devops sysadmin
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On February 28th and 29th we held a Virtual Build a Cloud Day event to educate users on how to combine open source software into an infrastructure-as-a-service cloud. We know that not everyone could attend all the great talks so we have made the recordings and presentations available for viewing at your leisure. All video broadcasts and slide decks are now available online:

The presentations include:

These presentations were presented by some of the world's biggest experts in Cloud Computing and open source software and we hope you find them valuable.

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Citrix supports the open source community via developer support and evangeslism. We have a number of developers and evangelists that participate actively in the open source community in Apache Cloudstack, OpenDaylight, Xen Project and XenServer. We also conduct educational activities via the Build A Cloud events held all over the world.