Monday, August 26, 2013

PuppetConf 2013

Thanks to Scott Lowe (@scott_lowe) I was able to attend the PuppetConf 2013 last week.  It was held in the San Francisco’s Fairmont Hotels and Resorts from Aug 22 to Aug 23.  Before the actual conference Puppet Training started on Aug 19 while Aug 21 is the Puppet Developer Day where developers gathered together to work on Puppet modules for areas such as OpenStack, Windows and other areas where Puppet can be used.

Before last week I have heard of Puppet from the vBrownBag webcast and I know it is a configuration tool for servers.  I have downloaded the Puppet training VM (, had it started on my VMware Workstation 9 but did not play with it.

Luke Kanies CEO/Founder of Puppet Labs starts the first day keynote followed by speakers from Google and Red Hat.
Sessions were divided into different tracks:

  • DevOps
  • Case Studies
  • Getting Started
  • Products + technologies
  • Continuous Delivery
  • Cloud Automation

DevOps is a relatively new term to describe the process in which application software engineer and IT professionals working together to deliver the application similar to the Agile Software Methodology.  A famous book named “The Phoenix Project” describes DevOps in a novel.  May be one day I will write a book review also.

Automation is an essential part of DevOps. Puppet and Chef are two popular tools for DevOps practitioner to automate the application delivery process. 

In this conference I have learn a lot about Open Source and how we can check out the code via Github and/or Forge. There are other tools like Foreman, Razor for cloud orchestration and provisioning.

I did not learn much about how to write Puppet Scripts and that is something I would pick up later along with skills using Vagrant which is widely being used to provision virtual machine.  Both Vagrant and Puppet is useful for setting up an OpenStack environment.

The most interesting session for me was the “Puppet Enterprise for the network” with Jeremy Schulman as the speaker. He spoke on embedding the Puppet Agent in JUNOS (Juniper’s Operating System) and how it can be used to configure network switch interface attributes such as admin up and down, VLAN membership as well as link aggregation membership.

There is also the netdev - a vendor-neutral network abstraction framework developed by Juniper Networks and contributed freely to the DevOps community.  It can be found in github ( to work with any networking device that has a Puppet Agent.

Overall impression of this conference is – eye opening.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Let the Journey Begin!

Server virtualization is only a beginning.

Now is the era of the cloud.  There is the public cloud such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft’s Azure. There is also the private cloud where companies host the cloud services on local premise. Of course there is the hybrid cloud where companies have both private and public cloud.

I think in a few more years there is the personal cloud just like the personal computer where individuals will have one or more cloud for them to use and can be access via different devices.

Apart from the commercial cloud offering, there is the open source cloud and network virtualization. It is not easy to keep up with all the Open* such as OpenStack, OpenFlow, OpenVswitch, OpenDayLight etc.

I am a software engineer for networking equipment. In my 20 years working for a Networking Equipment Manufacturer, I have work on device driver, ATM, SNMP as well as network access control.  

Four years ago I started my journey to the cloud. With my background as a software engineer for networking equipment, it should be natural for me to get into SDN or NVF or OpenVswitch but I have chosen to go after the cloud infrastructure.

By chance I got to attend Interop 2010 for free (hotel, transportation and food is on me). At that time server virtualization is starting to pick up steam and VMware brought server virtualization to maturity.

After I have attended Interop, I feel that virtualization is the industry trend and is starting to pick up. After much effort, with many late night studies and setting up a home lab I struggled for one year and after 2 retires I was able to get my VCP 4 and subsequently VCP 5 certification. Good thing VMworld 2013 is only announcing vSphere 5.5 otherwise I will have to catch up again.

Then I have a chance to look into Citrix’s server and application technology. It was at this time that I found out I am lacking of the knowledge for the Microsoft Infrastructure. Citrix is heavily connected to Microsoft. I tried to learn more about Microsoft’s various technologies and especially the Group Policy when Citrix used that to tune their XenApp deployments. I thought of taking classes or online course but budget is a problem – they are all very expensive.

There came Microsoft Windows Server 2012. As Microsoft is pushing this new server, there are tons of promotions and free education opportunities. Thanks to Microsoft Learning and TrainSignal (recently acquired by PluralSight) I am able to pass 70-410, 70-411 and 70-412 and achieved my MCSA for Windows Server 2012. Hyper-V is really catching up with VMware.

With understanding of VMware and Microsoft infrastructure technologies, I am now ready to really start my journey to the cloud. My next objective is to master Microsoft’s private cloud technology and then move on to OpenStack.

Check back again to watch me journey into the cloud.