John Willis at Triangle DevOps, Hosted by Bronto

Magnus Hedemark:

My latest contribution to the Bronto Engineering Blog is about a talk that John Willis delivered to Triangle DevOps on Software Defined Networking.

Originally posted on Engineering @ Bronto:

Here at Bronto, we’re very proud to support the local community in many ways. One of the facets of that spirit of community support is in hosting a number of meetup groups. One of the meetup groups that we’ve been hosting for over a year now is Triangle DevOps. We love this group so much that two members of our engineering team, Doug Hairfield and myself, actively help to keep the group running smoothly along with Mark Mzyk of Chef, Mark Imbriaco of Digital Ocean, and Nathan Walls of WebAssign. We often host the group’s meetings in our Thunderdome, which has a maximum capacity of 200 people.

Back in May, before this Engineering Blog was live, we were very proud to host John Willis who is the VP of Customer Enablement at Stateless Networks. John is an early adopter of DevOps, and has…

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Homelab Update

I’ve not been a generous blogger, and for that I apologize.

The homelab is still a work in progress. The Dell cabinet is in place, I’ve got all of one server for it (for now) which is racked up and running. There’s another server being built out now for it, which I’ll also break down for you.

The first server that is up and running is an HP Proliant DL160 G6. It’s got two Intel Xeon X5650 hex core processors running at 2.67GHz, 72GB of RAM, and a couple of small boot disks that came with it (which I’ve mirrored). I’ve also installed four 1TB SAS disks in a RAID 10 array for /var/lib/libvirt to be mounted. The whole point of this machine is to host virtual machines, and the point of many of the virtual machines will be for hosting Docker containers. This is not a toy; this is a tool by which I continue to learn and hone my craft.

The next server that is being staged is a Dell PowerEdge 1950 III, with dual E5410 quad core Xeons running at 2.33GHz, only 8GB of RAM, and (for the moment) a single 73GB disk. Another disk of identical specs will be added for RAID purposes. This machine is a utility server, meant to provide basic services to the virtual machines and containers. It will be responsible for dhcp, dns, ntp, Foreman, Puppet, etc.

There’s quite a lot going in here, which I’m sure will be fodder for future posts. I’ll also be writing for the new Bronto Engineering Blog about cool things we’re doing at work.

Docker Meetup at Bronto

Magnus Hedemark:

I’m blogging for Bronto now. Here’s my first published article for them.

Originally posted on Engineering @ Bronto:

The June 2014 Triangle DevOps meetup was once again hosted at Bronto. This particular event was one for the books; it’s not only the most highly attended Triangle DevOps event ever, but the largest event ever hosted in Bronto’s Thunderdome! Additionally, this was the official kick-off for the Docker Raleigh meetup group. If attendance and engagement were any indication, technology professionals in Raleigh and Durham are very ready to learn more about Docker and how to leverage it for their own benefit. We were very fortunate to have Aaron Huslage from Docker come to speak to us on this topic.

Aaron Huslage begins with a brief introduction to Docker

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Temporarily Unemployed

Yesterday was my last day at Red Hat. I wasn’t there for long. It was really very bittersweet to leave. I loved the company, I loved the corporate culture. But I felt the greatest constraint on my success there (and the success of the mission for which I was hired) was coming from above, and it was increasingly clear that this wasn’t going to improve. That’s all I really want to say about that. I don’t want to look in the rear view mirror, but rather ahead to better days.

So at least for the weekend, anyway, I’m a free agent. I’m just going to spend it with friends and family like any other weekend, really, but we’re all having great fun pointing out that technically I’m unemployed right now.

Monday is a new day. I’m starting at Bronto Software as Principal Engineer in the Systems Engineering group. After I’m settled in and have a better idea of what my day-to-day work is going to be like, I’ll talk about it some more.

My job search was conducted fairly quietly, and with a good bit of discrimination. Any shops that were too big were not seriously considered (I was looking for a high water mark of no more than 300 employees, ideally). Any shops that were based in out of town locations, with Raleigh as a remote location, had a lot of selling to do. Any shops that required relocation were not considered at all.

If I was told the title was “DevOps Engineer” or that I would be part of a “DevOps Team”, my enthusiasm for the position waned to near terminal levels. This was a sign to me that the shop in question wanted the DevOps buzzword without understanding what it means.

Early in the process, I had reached out to Bronto directly. There are myriad reasons for this. Bronto is extremely engaged in the local community, not only hosting many professional networking events month after month, but also sending small armies of associates out to perform community service acts in the surrounding area. The people who end up working there by and large end up staying there. And they all seem so darned happy to be there. They have been sharing of themselves to the local technical community, enough so that I’ve been known to mention them as “the Etsy of the Triangle”. 

The welcoming committee has been nothing short of mind blowing. Everything from emails to tweets to private messages on LinkedIn, from all corners of the business, all welcoming me to Bronto and anticipating my arrival. I’ve been in the business for 20 years now, and I’ve never experienced anything quite like this. It’s fair to say that I’m hoping my weekend of unemployment passes quickly, and that I’m really anticipating a wonderful start to my next chapter on Monday.

A Software Developer’s Reading List

Magnus Hedemark:

Check out this great reading list for Software Developers. If you’re thinking of getting into this line of work, or you’re in it but want to bring up your game, this instant library should be helpful in building good work habits out of best practices.

Originally posted on Steve Wedig's Notes:

“An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.” – Benjamin Franklin

Many of the best software developers have T-Shaped Skills: Deep expertise in programming and software development, and broad knowledge of diverse areas including testing, DevOps, UX design, team organization, customer interaction, and their domain areas. While there is unfortunately no substitute for experience, reading is probably the next best thing. Over the past 10 years I’ve read a lot in an effort to deepen and broaden my knowledge as a software developer. Along the way I’ve been organizing books and concepts into the reading list I share below. I have been trying to design a core curriculum for “modern” software development by asking myself:

  • What core concepts are required to be a world class software developer?
  • What is the best book for introducing and teaching each concept?

The result is a…

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The Homelab Resurrection Begins

I’ve been working full time in IT for about 20 years now, and I’ve had computers at home for a little over 30 years. My personal interests and passions sometimes lead me to getting a bit carried away. There was one point in my life where I had over 300 computers in a 1,500 square foot house. Yes, really.

After the pain of moving several times, tearing down and rebuilding the home lab, it got to be too much. I tired of $1,000 electricity bills every month. I tired of the noise, the heat. And when I moved back from Pennsylvania to North Carolina about 10 years ago, I distributed 99% of my hardware to the winds and didn’t take it with me.

The industry has changed tremendously in the last 10 years, as IT is wont to do. The skills I use today bear superficial resemblance to those I had to bring to bear back then. And I’m learning so much of it on the job now. This has led me to a good bit of frustration, knowing I have to focus on delivering value to my employer even if that means I can’t dive as deeply into something new as I’d like, or take a little extra time to really deeply grok a new thing.

The homelab was always great for this. I dare say I had, for many years, a more impressive and resilient infrastructure in my house than I was ever allowed to create for any of my employers. It worked, it worked well, and there was a certain pride in good engineering work that went with it all. I kind of miss it. Even the heat and the whining fans. (more…)

DevOps in Straight English – Part 2 of 2

Originally posted on Red Hat Developer Blog:

In Part 1, we talked a bit about this DevOps thing and why people won’t stop talking about it. In Part 2, we’ll talk about the areas where you can change your IT focus today to help benefit from DevOps.

A classic mistake is to focus primarily on the tools associated with successful DevOps shops. It’s not as if you can bring up your own Deployinator and suddenly become as high-functioning an IT shop as Etsy. The tooling is important, but won’t succeed if used for its own sake. The most relevant tooling is used to support a culture that can consume it effectively.

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DevOps in Straight English – Part 1 of 2 – Enter the Buzzword

Originally posted on Red Hat Developer Blog:

“DevOps”.

If you’re like me, you may be suffering a bit of buzzwordfatigue, especially relating to how this word is used (or misused) within the IT community. But for those of us who have been a part of the community for awhile, it holds deeper meaning than the oft repeated platitude of “Software Developers and Sysadmins working together, riding unicorns over rainbows“. Okay, while I may have gotten slightly carried away, you get the point.

What is DevOps to the broader community that embraces it, and is helping even now to define it? What does that even mean for Red Hat’s IT efforts? We’re going to dive deeper into both questions in this installment.

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