3 minute read

Two of the featured tools this week (Puppet Explorer and Tesera) reminded me just how far we’ve come in only a few years with really nice looking user interfaces for operations tools. The long running thread on the Jenkins mailing list about user interfaces improvements also suggests we’re starting to demand tools that prioritise design and user experience as well as functionality.


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One of my favourite talks at Devopsdays Silicon Valley, entitled How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love DevOps. A personal journey from being a (self described) curmudgeonly sysadmin and BOFH to working in a developer centric startup.

Puppet, like most tools, is it’s own reference implementation, which makes certain kinds of interoperability or tooling difficult to maintain. So this attempt to formalise the puppet language via a specification is interesting for a number of reasons.

A post from Chef all about the wider Chef open source community and how that intertwines with the company behind Chef. If you have an interest in open source governance or are using Chef definitely worth reading in full.

Results from the 2014 State of Devops survey in slide deck form. This pulls out some of the most interesting findings, especially around high performance, and provides a bit of background to the methodology.

A nice collection of 10 common mistakes you can make when establishing an operations team. Incident management processes, monitoring, PaaS, local development environments, testing and more.

A nice description of using in-memory hashes and zookeeper watches to implement feature flags in a system. Includes a good discussion of the tradeoffs from a redis based setup.

Netflix have released another member of the simian army, called Security Monkey. This one checks various attributes of IAM policies, S3 access policies, security groups and more, as well as tracking how they change and evolve over time. The list of future additions is also a good starting point for ideas.

A nice potted history of the Monitorama conference (although it misses out mentioning the event in Berlin). Particularly useful for lots of links to slides and other material mentioned at the last event in Portland.

Entertaining ignite talk entitled Deming to Devops, putting Devops in the context of scientific endeavour starting with Darwin. Touches on lean, theory of constraints and the photoelectric effect.


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Tesera is yet another graphite frontend with a nifty way of separating the query from the visualisation, leading to some nice features. It looks gorgeous too with multiple colour themes available.

Another lovely looking dashboard, Puppet Explorer is a frontend for PuppetDB. It’s intended to exploring Puppet resource and node information with nice visualisations and the powerful PuppetDB query language.

Toaster is another tool designed for testing infrastructure stacks. It makes use of LXC under the hood to provide isolated test environments and comes bundled with a web interface to observe and manage test runs.