System’s Administrator’s Lab: Testing

Today, I got an email from the Fedora package manager, Red, who let me know that there was a problem with Petit. I don’t think he knew it, but it was actually my fault that the whole thing got screwed up, so I felt kind of bad. Well, to make a long story short, when

DevOps Culture: An Ethnography

Background An ethnography is a holistic study of another culture conducted by an anthropologist. During the study, the anthropologist lives among the members of the foreign culture, takes notes, and collects data. From this data, the anthropologist develops theories and tests them cross culturally to determine if the source is genetic/biological in nature or enculturated.

Systems Administrator’s Lab: Cacti Development

Background Today, I finally took the time to update a Cacti Data Query which I wrote a while back. When I took a look at it, I found out that it was never actually working for other people strait out of the box. This data query graphs BGP prefixes, messages received and messages sent. I

KVM Virtualization 201

  Background In my original post KVM Virtualization 101 and my second post KVM Virtualization 102, I explained some basic commands that are necessary to get on using KVM and some features for tuning KVM. In this article I move on to some of the more advanced problems when converting existing Linux machines from a

KVM Virtualization 102

  Background In my original post KVM Virtualization 101 I explained some basic commands that are necessary to get on using KVM. In this article I move on to some slightly more obscure topics in using KVM.   Routine Operations CPU Type When you are operating in a KVM virtual machine the processor will report

Bootstrapping and Rooting Documentation: Part3

Background In Part 1, I described a method of documentation where the introduction of the system is made using the documentation. This builds consensus, enculturates an operations group, and provides a platform unto which more automation can be built. In Part 2, I elaborated on the ideas of Bootstrapping & Rooting, Self Service Culture, and

The Systems Administrator’s Lab

Recently, I listened to an O'Reilly webcast called "The Myths of Innovation" where Scott Berkun discussed the concept of a lab. He showed a picture of Edison's lab which showed wooden tables, lamps, and beakers. Systems administrators are also inventors.  We are required to script, program, and configure exotic servers and equipment. To discover new solutions, we need a lab. This is especially true with cloud computing and virtual infrastructure where machines are created and destroyed in a very transient manner.  You need a lab to track all of the successful and failed experiments.

KVM Virtualization 101

Background For those of you who are familiar with virtualization, KVM is a hypervisor which is built into the Linux Kernel. This allows a Linux desktop or server to simulate multiple pieces of hardware, which can then have different operating systems installed. KVM uses the QEMU virtual machine format. QEMU may be familiar to those

Bootstrapping and Rooting Documentation: Part 2

Background In Bootstrapping and Rooting Documentation: Part 1, I laid out a blueprint for using documentation as the bootstrap for entry into an operations environment. In this article I will dig into the three main concepts mentioned in Part 1. In Part 3, I will demonstrate our use case for a data center of about

Bootstrapping and Rooting Documentation: Part 1

Bootstrapping and rooting are two concepts often associated with computing, but not the documentation of computing environments. Sometimes concepts such as these are called design patterns and I would like to try and introduce a new pattern called Documentation Bootstrapping. I think this is a critical pattern for the creation of any successful and useful documentation.