Create an inventory tool using MCollective's registration feature

I started working at a company (Shutterstock) that had MCollective implemented a few months ago. We use it to perform various functions across a wide range of servers. Things such as rolling the application servers to pick up new code, clearing caches, checking replication lag on databases, telling our puppetmaster to sign certificates, and even doing code deployment.


Using Amazon's CloudFormation, cloud-init, chef and fog to automate infrastructure

Amazon recently announced their new CloudFormation API. This allows you to create what they call "stacks," which will bring up and provision various AWS resources. You are able to configure security groups, EC2 instances, RDS instances, and elastic load balancers just to name a few. With this level of support and ease of declaration, it makes you wonder how much longer things like RightScale are going to last.


Improving varnish hit rates for Drupal 7

I've recently moved my site to a new VPS and decided to upgrade to Drupal 7 at the same time. It was an interesting move, since a lot of the modules I was using have not yet been ported to D7. One of the main reasons I moved over was for native external caching support, meaning I no longer needed to depend on Pressflow. I ran into a few issues actually getting this to work properly with Varnish, so I wanted to cover how I got this working.


Scaling your application in the cloud

Recently, I've been standing up a lot of infrastructure in Amazon's EC2. While auto-scaling the infrastructure aspects is fairly simple using configuration automation utilities such as Chef or Puppet, getting developers to understand these concepts may be an interesting task. I will try to outline most of the common issues I see when uplifting applications to an elastic cloud environment.


Setting up your own git repository

Sometimes companies are a bit wary of using an external service such as Github for their revision control. Especially with recent outages on their service. It also costs money if you want your repository to be entirely private. You can set up your own repositories pretty easily, and even do collaboration between multiple users without much issue.


Cooking with Chef

I wanted to take some time to explain one of my favorite configuration management tools. That is Chef. I've been utilizing it pretty heavily over the passed few months and thought I'd share some of what I learned. I'm by no means an expert, but I've been managing my own chef-server as well as writing plenty of my own recipes.


Capistrano for the sysadmin

There's always been a fine line between a good sysadmin and a programmer. Capistrano is software built for Ruby on Rails to make deploys across multiple servers easy, however, the potential is much greater than just code deployment. I have recently grown in love with how easily I can run commands across groups of servers, and setting up Capistrano is not a difficult task. If you've ever configured password-less SSH access, you can get this up and running without much difficulty.


Central login management with OpenLDAP

Over the weekend I spent some time learning how to configure OpenLDAP to provide a central login server at home. This is pretty useful since I was tired of either syncing UID/GID's across servers or setting directories to 777 on my NFSv4 server. I chose Fedora 12 as my OS for the server, and will show how easy it is to configure authentication on both Fedora and OpenSolaris.



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