What is devops?

Hello everyone,

here you'll find an article what devops is about by Stephen Nelson-Smith. It is a nice round up of what devops is and what it tries to achieve.

dev and ops cooperation at flickr


this is a podcast with John Allspow (now at etsy). For me as a sysadmin, the talk at about 22:30min and 27:00min was very interesting. Have fun listening.

FOSDEM 2010: cucumber-nagios

I listened to the talk about cucumber-nagios by Lindsay Holmwood. Besides the slides the presentation also had a live demonstration. As I understood the presentation cucumber-nagios is not completely new. You could have achieved the same with some other Nagios plugins or their combination, but I have to say: It is cool! It seems to be much more flexible and extendible.

I see cucumber-nagios as a plugin to Nagios which itself has plugins, called features. This way you extend Nagios only once and then do everything in cucumber-nagios.

As it does not use any browser, you can run it on every headless server, without the need for a graphical environment. I know you could also use a headless server for graphical checks (see this blog post), but again it makes things easier.

What I'm not sure about (but I'll find out) is authentication. How do you monitor applications which require authentication? Another problem I see are internal webapplications which only run in IE and need AD authentication. Until know I thought about Selenium to do the job by running it on a Windows Client machine and let it connect to the webapplication, but perhaps cucumber-nagios could also do this job. Another point I have to find out about, is performance data. Until know I've only seen performance data for the number of tests. What would be more interesting are the duration of the single tests. This way you would see problems or the effect of changes to your application or infrastructure in the monitoring system.

As Lindsay himself stats, one purpose of cucumber-nagios is to bridge the gap between developers and sysadmin (see slide 68 of this presentation, it's not from fosdem, but the same slide) So one more idea: It would be nice if one could translate testcases of the development/testing team to cucumber-nagios monitoring checks, even when the development project is not using Ruby or cucumber.

On my way to FOSDEM 2010

Currently I'm on my way to FOSDEM 2010 in Brussels, Belgium. There will be some promising talks about Open Source Projects and the use of Open Source Software. I hope to see the following talks:
  • Evil on the Internet (Link to fosdem site for presentation)
  • Large scale analysis made easy - Apache Hadoop (Link to fosdem site for presentation)
  • Scaling Facebook with Open Source tools (Link to fosdem site for presentation)
  • What is my system doing - Full System Observability with SystemTap (Link to fosdem site for presentation)
  • Starting the sysadmin tools renaissance: Flapjack + cucumber-nagios (Link to fosdem site for presentation)
  • Tor: Building, Growing and Extending Online Anonymity (Link to fosdem site for presentation)
  • MINIX 3: a modular, self-healing POSIX-compatible Operating System (Link to fosdem site for presentation)
I hope to get some new interesting ideas to make my daily work more comfortable. My highest hopes are on the presentation about cucumber-nagios. This should give me some completely new methods for monitoring the application I have to administrate.

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