June 23 – Weekly Recap of All Things Site Reliability Engineering (SRE)

Welcome to the weekly post of the RackN blog recap of all things SRE. If you have any ideas for this recap or would like to include content please contact us at info@rackn.com or tweet Rob (@zehicle) or RackN (@rack ngo)

SRE Items of the Week

Datanauts 089: SRE vs Cloud Native vs DevOps
http://bit.ly/2txPXWV

Rob Hirschfeld joins the Datanauts to talk about the term Site Reliability Engineer (SRE) and what it means for IT operations.

Rob explores how the SRE designation is an effort to put operations teams on a more equal footing with developers within an organization. Rob and the Datanauts also discuss how SREs line up with other industry trends such as the cloud native and DevOps movements. LISTEN HERE

Why Does DevOps Require a New Operating Model? By Mustafa Kapadia @MKapadiaTweets
https://devops.com/why-should-cios-redesign-their-organizations/

For many, redesigning the operating model is table stakes for a successful DevOps transformation. But have you ever wondered why? Popular wisdom will have you believe that the main reason for operating model redesign are to…

“Improve collaboration between business and IT”
“Realign metrics”
“Take full advantage of the new tools”
“And even jump start culture change”

While these are all good reasons, frankly they miss the point. Experience suggests there is a more practical reason – match ownership with desired output.

What do we mean by that? Well first, let’s look at how the current model works. READ MORE

What can developers learn from being on call? By Julia Evans @b0rk http://jvns.ca/blog/2017/06/18/operate-your-software/

We often talk about being on call as being a bad thing. For example, the night before I wrote this my phone woke me up in the middle of the night because something went wrong on a computer. That’s no fun! I was grumpy.

In this post, though, we’re going to talk about what you can learn from being on call and how it can make you a better software engineer!. And to learn from being on call you don’t necessarily need to get woken up in the middle of the night. By “being on call”, here, I mean “being responsible for your code when it breaks”. It could mean waking up to issues that happened overnight and needing to fix them during your workday! READ MORE

Kargo Ansible Playbooks foster Collaborative Kubernetes Ops
http://bit.ly/2qENw3I   

Why Kargo?
Making Kubernetes operationally strong is a widely held priority and I track many deployment efforts around the project. The incubated Kargo project is of particular interest for me because it uses the popular Ansible toolset to build robust, upgradable clusters on both cloud and physical targets. I believe using tools familiar to operators grows our community.

We’re excited to see the breadth of platforms enabled by Kargo and how well it handles a wide range of options like integrating Ceph for StatefulSet persistence and Helm for easier application uploads. Those additions have allowed us to fully integrate the OpenStack Helm charts (demo video). READ MORE

newsletter

Subscribe to our new daily DevOps, SRE, & Operations Newsletter https://paper.li/e-1498071701#/

UPCOMING EVENTS

Rob Hirschfeld and Greg Althaus are preparing for a series of upcoming events where they are speaking or just attending. If you are interested in meeting with them at these events please email info@rackn.com.

  • 2017 New York Venture Summit – LINK

OTHER NEWSLETTERS

June 16 – Weekly Recap of All Things Site Reliability Engineering (SRE)

Welcome to the weekly post of the RackN blog recap of all things SRE. If you have any ideas for this recap or would like to include content please contact us at info@rackn.com or tweet Rob (@zehicle) or RackN (@rack ngo)

SRE Items of the Week

The Cloudcast #301 – SRE and Infrastructure Operations
http://www.thecloudcast.net/2017/06/the-cloudcast-301-sre-and.html

Description: Brian talks with Rob Hirschfeld (@zehicle, Founder/CEO of @RackN) about the concepts of SRE (Site Reliability Engineering), the challenges of maintaining infrastructure software, emerging tools and the next-generation of operations.

Show Notes:

  • Topic 1 – Welcome back to the show. Let’s start by talking about the concept of SRE (Site Reliability Engineering). Give us the basics and maybe explain how it differs from what people define in DevOps.
  • Topic 2 – Application development has been moving faster for quite a while (agile development, etc.). But now infrastructure/operations teams have to deal with faster software – especially around updates (e.g. Kubernetes releases every 3 months). How are companies managing this?
  • Topic 3 – Given that this pace of operations change may not slow down, how do you think about the challenge in terms of process/operations versus technology/tools?
  • Topic 4 – What are some of the steps that companies take to better prepare for this type of operational model? Tools, process, skills, etc.
  • Topic 5 – Do you see SRE as being a progression for existing infrastructure/operations people, or is this more focused on sysadmins or developers that want to get away from building applications?

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DevOps Enterprise Summit London: Tales of courage and community
https://techbeacon.com/devops-enterprise-summit-london-tales-courage-community

After spending two amazing days with 700 of my closest DevOps cohorts from Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and beyond, I learned all about the latest and greatest IT and technology transformation reports at the DevOps Enterprise Summit London. With substantial growth in attendance from the first year, in 2016, the buzz around the show was palpable. And, what a location! From the venue, the QEII Centre, we had 360-degree views of central London, from Big Ben to the London Eye and beyond.

Read more from Steve Brodie, CEO of Electric Cloud @stbrodie
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.IO! .IO! It’s off to a Service Mesh you should go [Gluecon 2017 notes]
http://bit.ly/2rjw4We  

Gluecon turned out to be all about a microservice concept called a “service mesh” which was being promoted by Buoyant with Linkerd and IBM/Google/Lyft with Istio.  This class of services is a natural evolution of the rush to microservices and something that I’ve written microservice technical architecture on TheNewStack about in the past. READ MORE
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A few things I’ve learned about Kubernetes
https://jvns.ca/blog/2017/06/04/learning-about-kubernetes/

I’ve been learning about Kubernetes at work recently. I only started seriously thinking about it maybe 6 months ago – my partner Kamal has been excited about Kubernetes for a few years (him: “julia! you can run programs without worrying what computers they run on! it is so cool!“, me: “I don’t get it, how is that even possible”), but I understand it a lot better now.

This isn’t a comprehensive explanation or anything, it’s some things I learned along the way that have helped me understand what’s going on.

Read more from Julia Evans @b0rk
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UPCOMING EVENTS

Rob Hirschfeld and Greg Althaus are preparing for a series of upcoming events where they are speaking or just attending. If you are interested in meeting with them at these events please email info@rackn.com.

  • 2017 New York Venture Summit – LINK

OTHER NEWSLETTERS

 

 

How about a CaaPuccino? Krish and Rob discuss containers, platforms, hybrid issues around Kubernetes and OpenStack.

CaaPuccino: A frothy mix of containers and platforms.

Check out Krish Subramanian’s (@krishnan) Modern Enterprise podcast (audio here) today for a surprisingly deep and thoughtful discussion about how frothy new technologies are impacting Modern Enterprise IT. Of course, we also take some time to throw some fire bombs at the end. You can use my notes below to jump to your favorite topics.

The key takeaways are that portability is hard and we’re still working out the impact of container architecture.

The benefit of the longer interview is that we really dig into the reasons why portability is hard and discuss ways to improve it. My personal SRE posts and those on the RackN blog describe operational processes that improve portability. These are real concerns for all IT organizations because mixed and hybrid models are a fact of life.

If you are not actively making automation that works against multiple infrastructures then you are building technical debt.

Of course, if you just want the snark, then jump forward to 24:00 minutes in where we talk future of Kubernetes, OpenStack and the inverted intersection of the projects.

Krish, thanks for the great discussion!

Rob’s Podcast Notes (39 minutes)

2:37: Rob intros about Digital Rebar & RackN

4:50: Why our Kubernetes is JUST UPSTREAM

5:35: Where are we going in 5 years > why Rob believes in Hybrid

  • Should not be 1 vendor who owns everything
  • That’s why we work for portability
  • Public cloud vision: you should stop caring about infrastructure
  • Coming to an age when infrastructure can be completely automated
  • Developer rebellion against infrastructure

8:36: Krish believes that Public cloud will be more decentralized

  • Public cloud should be part of everyone’s IT plan
  • It should not be the ONLY thig

9:25: Docker helps create portability, what else creates portability? Will there be a standard

  • Containers are a huge change, but it’s not just packaging
  • Smaller units of work is important for portability
  • Container schedulers & PaaS are very opinionated, that’s what creates portability
  • Deeper into infrastructure loses portability (RackN helps)
  • Rob predicts that Lambda and Serverless creates portability too

11:38: Are new standards emerging?

  • Some APIs become dominate and create de facto APIs
  • Embedded assumptions break portability – that’s what makes automation fragile
  • Rob explains why we inject configuration to abstract infrastructure
  • RackN works to inject attributes instead of allowing scripts to assume settings
  • For example, networking assumptions break portability
  • Platforms force people to give up configuration in ways that break portability

14:50: Why did Platform as a Service not take off?

  • Rob defends PaaS – thinks that it has accomplished a lot
  • Challenge of PaaS is that it’s very restrictive by design
  • Calls out Andrew Clay Shafer’s “don’t call it a PaaS” position
  • Containers provide a less restrictive approach with more options.

17:00: What’s the impact on Enterprise? How are developers being impacted?

  • Service Orientation is a very important thing to consider
  • Encapsulation from services is very valuable
  • Companies don’t own all their IT services any more – it’s not monolithic
  • IT Service Orientation aligns with Business Processes
    Rob says the API economy is a big deal
  • In machine learning, a business’ data may be more valuable than their product

19:30: Services impact?

  • Service’s have a business imperative
  • We’re not ready for all the impacts of a service orientation
  • Challenge is to mix configuration and services
  • Magic of Digital Rebar is that it can mix orchestration of both

22:00: We are having issues with simple, how are we going to scale up?

  • Barriers are very low right now

22:30: Will Kubernetes help us solve governance issues?

  • Kubernetes is doing a go building an ecosystem
  • Smart to focus on just being Kubernetes
  • It will be chaotic as the core is worked out

24:00: Do you think Kubernetes is going in the right direction?

  • Rob is bullish for Kubernetes to be the dominant platform because it’s narrow and specific
  • Google has the right balance of control
  • Kubernetes really is not that complex for what it does
  • Mesos is also good but harder to understand for users
  • Swarm is simple but harder to extend for an ecosystem
  • Kubernetes is a threat to Amazon because it creates portability and ecosystem outside of their platform
  • Rob thinking that Kubernetes could create platform services that compete with AWS services like RDS.
  • It’s likely to level the field, not create a Google advantage

27:00: How does Kubernetes fit into the Digital Rebar picture?

  • We think of Kubernetes as a great infrastructure abstraction that creates portability
  • We believe there’s a missing underlay that cannot abstract the infrastructure – that’s what we do.
  • OpenStack deployments broken because every data center is custom and different – vendors create a lot of consulting without solving the problem
  • RackN is creating composability UNDER Kubernetes so that those infrastructure differences do not break operation automation
  • Kubernetes does not have the constructs in the abstraction to solve the infrastructure problem, that’s a different problem that should not be added into the APIs
  • Digital Rebar can also then use the Kubernetes abstractions?

30:20: Can OpenStack really be managed/run on top of Kubernetes? That seems complex!

  • There is a MESS in the message of Kubernetes under OpenStack because it sends the message that Kubernetes is better at managing application than OpenStack
  • Since OpenStack is just an application and Kubernetes is a good way to manage applications
  • When OpenStack is already in containers, we can use Kubernetes to do that in a logical way
  • “I’m super impressed with how it’s working” using OpenStack Helm Packs (still needs work)
  • Physical environment still has to be injected into the OpenStack on Kubernetes environment

35:05 Does OpenStack have a future?

  • Yes! But it’s not the big “data center operating system” future that we expected in 2010. Rob thinks it a good VM management platform.
  • Rob provides the same caution for Kubernetes. It will work where the abstractions add value but data centers are complex hybrid beasts
  • Don’t “square peg a data center round hole” – find the best fit
  • OpenStack should have focused on the things it does well – it has a huge appetite for solving too many problems.

What does it take to Operate Open Platforms? Answers in Datanauts 72

Did I just let OpenStack ops off the hook….?  Kubernetes production challenges…?  

ix34grhy_400x400I had a lot of fun in this Datanauts wide ranging discussion with unicorn herders Chris Wahl and Ethan Banks.  I like the three section format because it gives us a chance to deep dive into distinct topics and includes some out-of-band analysis by the hosts; however, that means you need to keep listening through the commercial breaks to hear the full podcast.

Three parts?  Yes, Chris and Ethan like to save the best questions for last.

In Part 1, we went deep into the industry operational and business challenges uncovered by the OpenStack project. Particularly, Chris and I go into “platform underlay” issues which I laid out in my “please stop the turtles” post. This was part of the build-up to my SRE series.

In Part 2, we explore my operations-focused view of the latest developments in container schedulers with a focus on Kubernetes. Part of the operational discussion goes into architecture “conceits” (or compromises) that allow developers to get the most from cloud native design patterns. I also make a pitch for using proven tools to run the underlay.

In Part 3, we go deep into DevOps automation topics of configuration and orchestration. We talk about the design principles that help drive “day 2” automation and why getting in-place upgrades should be an industry priority.  Of course, we do cover some Digital Rebar design too.

Take a listen and let me know what you think!

On Twitter, we’ve already started a discussion about how much developers should care about infrastructure. My opinion (posted here) is that one DevOps idea where developers “own” infrastructure caused a partial rebellion towards containers.

SRE role with DevOps for Enterprise [@HPE podcast]

sre-series

My focus on SRE series continues… At RackN, we see a coming infrastructure explosion in both complexity and scale. Unless our industry radically rethinks operational processes, current backlogs will escalate and stability, security and sharing will suffer.

Yes, DevOps and SRE are complementary

In this short 16 minute podcast, HPE’s Stephen Spector and I discuss how DevOps and SRE thinking overlaps and where are the differences.  We also discuss how Enterprises should be evaluating Site Reliability Engineering as a function and where it fits in their organization.

“Why SRE?” Discussion with Eric @Discoposse Wright

sre-series My focus on SRE series continues… At RackN, we see a coming infrastructure explosion in both complexity and scale. Unless our industry radically rethinks operational processes, current backlogs will escalate and stability, security and sharing will suffer.

ericewrightI was a guest on Eric “@discoposse” Wright of the Green Circle Community #42 Podcast (my previous appearance).

LISTEN NOW: Podcast #42 (transcript)

In this action-packed 30 minute conversation, we discuss the industry forces putting pressure on operations teams.  These pressures require operators to be investing much more heavily on reusable automation.

That leads us towards why Kubernetes is interesting and what went wrong with OpenStack (I actually use the phrase “dumpster fire”).  We ultimately talk about how those lessons embedded in Digital Rebar architecture.

yes, we are papering over Container ops [from @TheNewStack #DockerCon]

thenewstackIn this brief 7 minute interview made at DockerCon 16, Alex Williams and I cover a lot of ground ranging from operations’ challenges in container deployment to the early seeds of the community frustration with Docker 1.12 embedding swarm.

I think there’s a lot of pieces we’re still wishing away that aren’t really gone. (at 4:50)

Rather than repeat TheNewStack summary; I want to highlight the operational and integration gaps that we continue to ignore.

It’s exciting to watch a cluster magically appear during a keynote demo, but those demos necessarily skip pass the very real provisioning, networking and security work needed to build sustained clusters.

These underlay problems are general challenges that we can address in composable, open and automated ways.  That’s the RackN goal with Digital Rebar and we’ll be showcasing how that works with some new Kubernetes automation shortly.

Here is the interview on SoundCloud or youtube: