SysAdmin


Looking to the Future by Appreciating the Past

Posted on January 3, 2017

I've recently come to the end of an interesting and exciting journey of re-discovery which began on Thanksgiving 2016. While waiting for Thanksgiving dinner to be ready, there was time to kill and we were all just sitting around waiting. My son, Glenn, is 11 and has become a wiz with Lego Mindstorm and I've been introducing electronics and programming to him a little here and there over the years. It had been a while since I did basic ...

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Considering Secrets Management

Posted on July 16, 2016

“security” is a series of barriers which require greater time, resources, and will power to overcome than are reasonably available to a potential attacker

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Containers, Now and Then

Posted on July 1, 2016

I'm excited to announce that Cuddletech is now 100% Docker Powered. This is particularly exciting for me because it comes after being hosted on containers for the previous 10 years of its life. To celebrate it seems like a good time to reflect on how containers have evolved over the last decade. For those not familiar with Cuddletech, since 1999 it has been my personal website dedicated to all things Solaris (and Enlightenment, and my ...

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What exactly is value?

Posted on May 12, 2014

In the LEAN and DevOps worlds we're obsessed with the idea of providing value. But what is value really? Some times we use a word so much that it is drained of any practical meaning and becomes more of an abstract idea. It may not be too much of a stretch to say that the word "value" ceases to really contain any value. Webster defines "value" as: "a fair return or equivalent in goods, services, or money for something exchanged" "the ...

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SmartOS & Vagrant

Posted on August 7, 2013

There are many challenges associated with building applications in the cloud. One of the most challenging is that the cloud properly exploited is inherently transient. This means that your development environment must also be transient, such that you never depend on unfounded assumptions. Once upon a time you would routinely re-install your OS to ensure you weren't mistakenly assuming something were present. Moving development to a VM with a ...

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Why SysAdmin’s Can’t Code

Posted on May 12, 2013

Most systems administrators are quick, perhaps too quick, to tell you "I'm not a coder."  Oddly, this admission normally comes after boasting about how many programming languages they know or have used.  Why is this?  Can this be changed?  Here is my 5 step plan on how any SA can become an honest to goodness programmer. Step 1: Find a problem you care about solving, for yourself SysAdmin's don't actually use tools, they study them. ...

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Big Data is the hotness, there is no doubt about it.  Every year its just gotten bigger and bigger and shows no sign of slowing.  There is a lot out there about big data, but despite the hype, there isn't a lot of good technical content for those who want to get started.  The lack of technical how-to info is made worse by the fact that many Hadoop projects have moved their documentation around over time and Google searches commonly point to ...

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If you've never heard of iPXE, it is the official fork of gPXE, which was the ultimate result of the Etherboot Project of old.  Apparently there was a power struggle that caused the primary contributors to leave Etherboot/gPXE and they renamed gPXE to iPXE to distinguish.  Technically gPXE still exists, but for all intents and purposes its a dead project. If you are completely unfamiliar with both iPXE and gPXE let me summarize.  The ...

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Writing a Better SOP

Posted on September 25, 2012

Within an ops team you should have 3 primary types of governance enablers: controls, policies and processes. A control is a guiding principle, which is implemented as a one or more policies (which are just rules), which are in turn standardized in a set of procedures. Its important to have all 3, because controls are very vague, policies are often general and broad in nature, which means to provide consistent quality results we require ...

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I have lots of awesome CLI based reporting tools. One was so awesome that other people in the company wanted to get it on a regular basis but they preferred to see it as CSV so it could be manipulated in Numbers or Excel. Modifying my report to output CSV was easy, I just added a conditional that replace my pretty column formated printf() with an ugly comma separated printf(). Sending CSV in email is easy, just pump it into ''sendmail ...

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