The Gilt technology organization. We make gilt.com work.

PuppetNYC Monthly Meetup: 13-Apr-2011

Foreman and Change Management+VCS with Puppet
PuppetNYC

Just so you know, the Systems Administration team here at Gilt is lazy.  We are constantly looking for ways to make our jobs easier, and automate everything possible.   When it comes to having to say, update a package on every server in our sizable network; we respond with, “That just sounds like a lot of work, I wonder if there is something that can do all that for us, so that we can keep reading web comics?”

Puppet Labs gave us the answer.

In case you didn’t know, Puppet is a pretty amazing tool that allows us to automate many of the hopelessly repetitive yet necessary tasks of systems administration.  It lets us keep all our systems configurations up to date, and uniform across our enterprise; and it lets us do it without typing our fingers off.

The Systems Administration team here at Gilt loves Puppet.  As it turns out, so do a ton of other systems administrators in the NYC area.  Which is why we give aid and comfort to the New York City Puppet Users Group.  This time around it was hosted in Gilt’s offices in Midtown.

This week featured two topics:

1. Foreman Node Classifier

Eric E Moore, from Brandorr Group LLC, gave a great demo and overview of Foreman.  Foreman is a web front end, external node classifier, and life-cycle management tool for puppet.  Eric shows us how Brandorr leverages Foreman to help with puppet configuration and administration.  He demonstrated how Foreman can be used to monitor puppet runs for errors, and track its runs across multiple servers.  It’s a great tool. 

We are considering using Foreman in house at Gilt.  Eric gave us some great tips.

Check out Foreman’s website: http://theforeman.org


2.    Change Management and VCS work flow with Puppet.

Presented by Garrett Honeycutt from Puppet Labs, this talk was focused on how to best use tools like SVN and GIT to keep all the teams that use a Puppet implementation together.   His view on it is that it’s less of a technical problem, and more a problem of change management.  He pointed out that having a good, consistent policy goes a long way here, and the positives of using test-driven development.  The slides from his talk are available here:

http://talks.garretthoneycutt.com/20110413-Change_management_with_Puppet_for_PuppetNYC.pdf


Both talks were outstanding.  Made even more outstanding by the all of us heading out for drinks afterward.   The NYC Puppet Users Group meets every month, and the Systems Administration team at Gilt loves being a part of it and sharing ideas, and beer, with our colleagues at other companies.

If you are interested in joining in on the fun, check out the NYC Puppet User Group here: http://groups.google.com/group/puppet-nyc

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