Automate all the things, or so saith a thousand tedious memes. Indeed, automating as much as possible bring advantages of efficiency. But…it’s a culture shift as well. Join the Datanauts as we climb aboard our orbiting data center platform and explore the outer reaches of automation.
Okay, maybe “outer reaches” is an exaggeration. But we’ll get a solid introduction to this whole automation thing.
Chris Wahl and Ethan Banks discuss automation in general, and tools including Puppet, Chef, and PowerShell. Their guest is Rob Nelson, a virtualization and security engineer and Puppet user. You can follow Rob on Twitter or check out his blog at rnelson0.
When deciding where to start with automation, Nelson suggests two options; either high-volume tasks you do all the time, or complex, low-volume tasks you don’t do frequently enough to have mastered.
He breaks down how configuration management and orchestration relate to automation, and the group discusses the role of automation in a DevOps culture.
The Datanauts drill into the architecture of Puppet, and examine how automation can help IT professionals start to work across silos.
Part 1 – Level Setting
- In a data center context, what do we mean by automation? How is automation different from orchestration?
- What’s the relationship between automation and DevOps?
- If I’m a sysadmin, what sorts of specific tasks should I automate?
- I’m not a developer, don’t care for scripts, and see that most new products are going for this “invisible architecture” pitch. Things have gone OK for me for years. Why should I care about automation?
- How does configuration management come into the picture with automation and DevOps?
- What tools are common in the automation world, and what are the target markets for each?
- PowerShell DSC
Part 2 – Automation With Puppet
- You’ve invested a lot of time in Puppet. Why not a different tool?
- What flavors of Puppet are there?
- Explain at a high level a Puppet architecture.
- Now that I’ve got the architecture in place, explain the steps required to automate something.
- Can I build a library of tasks?
- Can I share my modules with others?
- What if someone else wants to change/improve my module?
- With Puppet specifically, what sort of work is a bad idea to automate? Where is Puppet a bad fit?
- What do you do when you have some things you want to manage with Puppet and others you don’t?
Part 3 – Operational Impact
- What’s it like to deploy a host/guest/application using Puppet? (i.e. Let’s talk about process)
- Security / authentication
- Starting the process
- Monitoring the process
- Validating whether the process was successful
- What happens if a process was only partially successful?
- Is there a way to debug/troubleshoot Puppet operations?
- A highly automated environment will cross silos. How does that impact operations?
- Bare metal
- Virtual hosts
- What’s it like to upgrade Puppet?