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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Hadoop Analysis of Apache Logs Using Flume-NG, Hive and Pig

Posted on December 27, 2012

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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Heavy Metal: A Brief Guide to the Djent Revolution

Posted on December 26, 2012

2012 has been a great year for metal fans, and in particular, for the more mature metal fan.  Maybe you've noticed, the headbanging demographic has slowly been changing, as seen best by "That Metal Show": There are lots of great metal bands, but a lot of our old favorites fail to really evolve and after decades of rockin' to Slayer, Megadeth, Pantera, etc, you just need something new, something more evolved, and complex. A critical element ...

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iPXE: Now with Native Menus and SmartOS Support

Posted on October 8, 2012

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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Configuration Management on SmartOS

Posted on September 21, 2012

Over the last couple days I added a bunch of SmartOS documentation on getting the major configuration management solutions working. Pointers for CFengine3 and Puppet are there with the basics on getting started. I added extensive documentation for Chef, suitable for even users entirely new to Chef. I've also populated a Github repo with cookbooks, Knife bootstraps, and a full framework for using Chef Solo with SmartOS. Go find all the docs ...

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A Return to Linux on the Workstation

Posted on September 20, 2012

In my day to day work I rely on two systems, a MacBook Pro and a custom built PC workstation. My Mac is used for all my travel needs and communications (email, Jabber, Skype, etc). All my "real work" is done on the workstation which I refresh to the latest and greatest every 3-4 years, run dual headed, etc. Up until about 30 days ago my primary workstation ran some variety of Solaris for nearly 10 years, starting with Solaris 9 when X86 ...

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DevOps LA on Aug 27th

Posted on August 18, 2012

I've been invited to speak at  DevOps LA on Monday, Aug 27th.  The title I've chosen is "The DevOps Transformation" but it will not be the talk I gave at LISA. Partly because I've already given that talk, and partly because I only have a 20-30 minute speaking slot.  I'll be looking beyond those fundamental principles and considering some new material, including work flow, routing, and conversion with the LEAN world at large.  I will not ...

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BayLISA Comes to Joyent: A Night of SmartOS

Posted on August 13, 2012

This Thursday night, Aug 16th at 7:30PM in Joyent's HQ (9th Floor, Embarcadero One) Joyent will be hosting BayLISA for an evening of SmartOS.  I'll be filling in for Ryan Nelson, talking for 20 mins about the practical issues of SmartOS deployment.  This is an excellent opportunity for any Solaris or SmartOS fans in the Bay Area to come an meet some amazing engineers and learn more about the future of the platform. Register here. (If I ...

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Back to Blogging

Posted on July 18, 2012

My blog has certainly suffered a slow down in the last 2 years... I thought I'd provide a little insight as to why, give you a little insight into where I'm at these days, and ask for your suggestions on the future. Once upon a time, my blog was a predominately Solaris blog.  In fact it became over time the most read Solaris blog.  Thanks to Google it actually still is, because I have verify few active readers, the vast majority come to the ...

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