Monthly Archives: May 2011

DevOps is the glue

I saw a tweet recently “DevOps is not a job title“. It got me thinking. I know what they were saying and I half agree. Let me explain.

It’s becoming increasingly common to see DevOps jobs advertised. My former employer was one of the first to create the role “DevOps Manager”, with sysadmins and developers reporting directly to the same person. IMHO it worked well.

So DevOps can be a job title. And I’ve seen it work.

But I understand what the author of the tweet was talking about. You can’t get a Uni degree in DevOps. And you can’t replace a developer and a sysadmin with a single DevOps guy to save money (well you can, but it won’t end well).

Let’s frame this in work culture.  There are attributes that clearly distinguish someone as DevOps person. They are exceptional communicators. They understand enough about the disciplines of operations and development to be able to bridge the gap. I see them as the glue that sticks the two sides together.

But you don’t need to replace all your devs and ops staff with DevOps staff to get the benefits of the movement and the approach.

Your UI specialist shouldn’t necessarily have to understand backend storage. You may have a grumpy DBA that guards company data fanatically but wouldn’t be seen at a standup unless dragged along by the ear. Or a developer who needs to be locked in a dark room alone for a week to make something awesome. That’s ok too.  People all work in different ways.  You just need a few DevOps talented and passionate DevOps people to help these people work together effectively.

Change the work culture (if it needs change) and get the communications going. Don’t worry excessively about the technology. You might find the tools (almost) build themselves.  It’s the DevOps community that’s the harder (and more important) part.

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Imagine DevOps

Why on earth make a video clip about DevOps? What was I thinking?

Here’s where the idea came from.

I happened to be listening to Herbie Hancock’s excellent album in my car continuously for about a week.

And I was also listening to the excellent podcast DevOps Cafe and my silly brain put the two together and came up with the line “Imagine no developers…”.

The rest of the song pretty much wrote itself.

I mentioned the idea to my colleague Venessa Paech who thought it was a good idea and suggested my other colleague Lucy Birchley film it.

The first public performance of the song was at DevOps Melbourne meetup in January 2011. It made a few people laugh, so I’m happy with it.

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Know your limits (ulimits)

I recently had a problem thrown at me. Something that worked fine on a developer’s workstation wasn’t working when deployed to our servers.

Problem turned out to be related to default ulimit settings being different.

Here are the defaults.

ulimit -a

Ubuntu11 RHEL6
core file size (blocks, -c) 0
data seg size (kbytes, -d) unlimited
scheduling priority (-e) 20
file size (blocks, -f) unlimited
pending signals (-i) 16382
max locked memory (kbytes, -l) 64
max memory size (kbytes, -m) unlimited
open files (-n) 1024
pipe size (512 bytes, -p) 8
POSIX message queues (bytes, -q) 819200
real-time priority (-r) 0
stack size (kbytes, -s) 8192
cpu time (seconds, -t) unlimited
max user processes (-u) unlimited
virtual memory (kbytes, -v) unlimited
file locks (-x) unlimited 
core file size (blocks, -c) 0
data seg size (kbytes, -d) unlimited
scheduling priority (-e) 0
file size (blocks, -f) unlimited
pending signals (-i) 5835
max locked memory (kbytes, -l) 64
max memory size (kbytes, -m) unlimited
open files (-n) 1024
pipe size (512 bytes, -p) 8
POSIX message queues (bytes, -q) 819200
real-time priority (-r) 0
stack size (kbytes, -s) 10240
cpu time (seconds, -t) unlimited
max user processes (-u) 1024
virtual memory (kbytes, -v) unlimited
file locks (-x) unlimited 

See the “max user processes”? For some reason the app wanted to create 10s of thousands of processes.

Fixed by a ulimit -u

Look here too…

cat /etc/security/limits.d/90-nproc.conf

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