Monday, November 19, 2007

Automated Configuration Management

If you've got more than a few servers, you pro'ly wish you had configuration management software. In fact, by maintaining that handful of kickstart configs for new hosts and the veritable slag-heap of shell scripts that you run on already-deployed servers, you've pretty much built your own.

But other folks have already invented this wheel:

bcfg2 (interesting...)
Lets you define what a configuration "should" look like and then have agents tell you what's actually out there; if they'd just document it, humans could use it!

cfengine (safe choice)
That for loop you're using to update your systems is getting pretty big and your shell scripts are all pretty kludgey; cfengine gives you the ultimate automated for loop ... but it's ugly!

puppet (my choice)
By now you're wondering if you can just write your own system where communication over https allows clients to run scripts periodically. So did these folks! (And it rocks.)

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Start-ups have this wacky period when they switch from the seed-funded crazy land grab, to the second-round-funded fortification of battlements. appears to be *right* on this cusp. It's a brilliant idea and it's going to be interesting to watch. Meanwhile, it's fascinating to see the dichotomy frozen in time.

Crazy land grab:
* Upon login you are immediately asked to invite your friends.
* Your profile page prominently shows your stats, enticing you to add more.
* They've outsourced video to VideoEgg; avoiding capital investment in favor of higher costs per item.
* Their database is clearly a central bottleneck.

Imminent Metamorphosis:
* They're hiring.
* Some database results are apparently being cached closer to the app. (e.g. "friends of this user" is less-than-dynamic)
* They are prominently featured as part of Google's Open Social hype.

I can't wait to see how the company matures!

Thursday, November 1, 2007