Skip to main content

Where I ramble about DevOps -> Agile -> Data-driven decisions

Jez Humble has a lot of really interesting ideas on how companies deliver value to their customers.  Let's start with that.  I've now probably spent a good 15-20 hours just listening/watching his talks (not to start a JH fanclub or anything...he just ties together the work of many into something that makes sense to me where I am today).

Over the last year of this 'DevOps' journey, here is how my research/learning has progressed:
  1. Do monitoring stuff, start to look at 'application health'
  2. Realize there are more important things that need attention, so I give them attention (bottlenecks)
  3. DevOps Demystified w. Ben Rockwood, mind expands.  Understanding 'why' is super important.  Understanding 'flow' is super important.
  4. Analyze the flow! (build/deploy automation & test automation came up as candidates)  
  5. Fixed build/deploy by automating it!  In progress!
  6. Test automation! In progress!
  7. Read 'Continuous delivery', mind expands, yay!  We are on the right track!
  8. Got the team to attend DevOpsDays 2015 Toronto, realized we are not alone, realized we are on the right track.
  9. Listened to what the community is saying about data-driven decisions, culture change, etc
  10. Realize that all of these ideals cannot be driven from the bottom up
  11. Review and rejig: get middle management re-focused & back on the same page (this was...dicey...from the bottom up)
  12. Realize that all of these ideals MUST be driven from the TOP down
  13. Uhhh....I'm an admin. (yes, there are things I can do, and am doing, e.g. lead by example, fix one small thing per day, encourage questions, ask questions, etc)
  14. Heard a talk Jez Humble gave on Lean Enterprise - referenced Ronny Kohavi's (et al.) paper
  15. Had a conversation w. one of the managers about how this whole devops thing is futile without a change in business decisions
  16. Read Mr. Kohavi's (et al.) paper: http://ai.stanford.edu/~ronnyk/ExPThinkWeek2009Public.pdf
  17. Head exploded.
Our DevOps journey started out on the very technical side of things (traditional monitoring) and turned into a discussion on how we decide that something has business value, and the ramifications that has on the rest of your flow.  So when someone says 'analyze your flow', you don't just assume that "the business" is good to go and leave them out of the flow analysis.  To be fair, it wasn't obvious until I'd spent a year absorbing all this stuff, but it's pretty clear in hindsight.

Then I was introduced to agile (coming from Ops, was not familiar) - agile is meant to bring the devs and business closer together.  So DevOps brings devs and ops closer, and agile brings business and devs closer.  What wraps the whole team together?

Maybe an example will clarify.  You want to re-do your product because it's not selling.  So you contact a few customers, get some ideas, build a wall of stickies for stories and whatnot, then say 'ok IT team, build this'.  Great!  But a few questions first:
  • This is essentially waterfall, are we not agile?
  • Are you certain this will work?
  • Are you sure you need everything fully functional?  That's a lot of work.
  • Have you proven that all these ideas have true value?  How have you proven this?
  • Are you aware that decisions without data are statistically proven to be wrong more than 50% of the time? (it's more like 70-90%)
  • Have you read the work of Mr. Kohavi et al.?
(I am not bashing the effort behind someone's work, just applying constructive criticism)

This is super rambly, but what I'm getting at is: 
You can be super DevOpsey and Agiley but still get nowhere.  Does it matter that we can do Continuous Delivery if we are uncertain that we are continuously delivering value?  Do we even need to take the effort of completely re-doing our entire dev/ops processes?  What if we just scaled it down to small prototype projects?  What if we could quickly cancel a project because we know it's a flop before we invest a ton of time?  How do those questions change your approach to "DevOps"?

If anyone is on their DevOps journey and has not considered how your company actually decides to do something, read the paper.  If you're just interested in the idea of 'controlled experimentation', read the paper.

We'll see how this pans out, but I definitely feel that this is the missing link we've been looking for.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

DFSR - eventid 4312 - replication just won't work

This warning isn't documented that well on the googles, so here's some google fodder:


You are trying to set up replication for a DFS folder (no existing replication)Source server is 2008R2, 'branch office' server is 2012R2 (I'm moving all our infra to 2012R2)You have no issues getting replication configuredYou see the DFSR folders get created on the other end, but nothing stagesFinally you get EventID 4312:
The DFS Replication service failed to get folder information when walking the file system on a journal wrap or loss recovery due to repeated sharing violations encountered on a folder. The service cannot replicate the folder and files in that folder until the sharing violation is resolved.  Additional Information:  Folder: F:\Users$\user.name\Desktop\Random Folder Name\  Replicated Folder Root: F:\Users$  File ID: {00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000}-v0  Replicated Folder Name: Users  Replicated Folder ID: 33F0449D-5E67-4DA1-99AC-681B5BACC7E5  Replication Group…

Fixing duplicate SPNs (service principal name)

This is a pretty handy thing to know:

SPNs are used when a specific service/daemon uses Kerberos to authenticate against AD. They map a specific service, port, and object together with this convention: class/host:port/name

If you use a computer object to auth (such as local service):
MSSQLSVC/tor-sql-01.domain.local:1433

If you use a user object to auth (such as a service account, or admin account):
MSSQLSVC/username:1433

Why do we care about duplicate SPNs? If you have two entries trying to auth using the same Kerberos ticket (I think that's right...), they will conflict, and cause errors and service failures.

To check for duplicate SPNs:
The command "setspn.exe -X

C:\Windows\system32>setspn -X
Processing entry 7
MSSQLSvc/server1.company.local:1433 is registered on these accounts:
CN=SERVER1,OU=servers,OU=resources,DC=company,DC=local
CN=SQL Admin,OU=service accounts,OU=resources,DC=company,DC=local

found 1 groups of duplicate SPNs. (truncated/sanitized)

Note that y…

Logstash to Nagios - alerting based on Windows Event ID

This took way longer than it should have to get going...so here's a config and brain dump...

Why?
You want to have a central place to analyze Windows Event/IIS/local application logs, alert off specific events, alert off specific situations.  You don't have the budget for a boxed solution.  You want pretty graphs.  You don't particularly care about individual server states.  (see rationale below - although you certainly have all the tools here to care, I haven't provided that configuration)

How?
ELK stack, OMD, NXlog agent, and Rsyslog.  The premise here is as follows:

Event generated on server into EventLogNXlog ships to Logstash inputLogstash filter adds fields and tags to specified eventsLogstash output sends to a passive Nagios service via the Nagios NSCA outputThe passive service on Nagios (Check_MK c/o OMD) does its thing w. alerting
OMD
Open Monitoring Distribution, but the real point here is Check_MK (IIRC Icinga uses this...).  It makes Nagios easy to use and main…