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Observability is key to successful hybrid IT deployments because it goes hand-and-hand with controllability. If you can observe a system’s internals well, then you can control equally well that system’s output. But what is observability?
Observability is a measure of how well internal states of a system can be inferred from knowledge of its external outputs. It is a concept that originates from control systems theory. Thinking about the current landscape of observability, there are different opinions on what is sufficient for observability. Traditional IT professionals believe that metrics and logging are sufficient. IT professionals, who focus on logging, however, believe that metrics are too noisy and makes one susceptible to paralysis by overanalysis. Meanwhile, site reliability engineers, those who embrace the DevOps culture, associate observability to tracing microservices and code stack.
Who’s right? Who’s wrong? There are so many shades of observability grey that finding common ground can be a challenge in of itself. Application stacks are evolving with so much velocity, variety, and volume of change such that a combination of all three (metrics, logs, and traces) are needed to build a viable observability protocol. Thus, a proper toolset needs to encompass all three aspects while allowing subject matter experts to impart their rigor and discipline.
Have your organization incorporated observability concepts into your day to day? Please share your observability stories in the comment section below.
Over the past 12 months, I've heard the word “compliance” thrown around quite a bit. Only now does compliance depend on what department or industry you are in. From ISO to General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), compliance is now at the forefront of the requirements. More importantly, compliance is now being recognized by the boards, highlighted in many cases by the consequences (being fined) for not maintaining compliance.
One thing to remember is that it’s not always an IT problem. I don’t know how many times I have walked into a meeting and been asked by a customer what they need to buy. Take GDPR, for example. Out of 107 actions, only eight can be fixed by a purchasable IT solution. The rest is policy-driven, and this is where it gets complicated. To stay compliant, you need to make sure you have a management suite that can monitor the policies you have in place.
For this article, I am going to focus on one of the hot topics of conversation when it comes to compliance. The new European GDPR regulations. For many, this is a word that either causes confusion or panic. Please don’t panic! Don’t burrow your head in the sand. Talk to the experts! I may not be an expert when it comes to compliance, but over the last twelve months, I have learned a lot from listening and talking to partners and customers about their experiences. One of the big points I hear about over and over again concerns your foundations. Where does your business stand today in line with the new regulation? You must make sure you can clearly define or find the information you need to start. From hardware inventory, current security vulnerabilities, firewall policy and more important classification of your data. It is fine to have all these tools to monitor and protect against security threats and data breaches. However, if you don’t understand your data and how you use it you will struggle to understand and meet the GDPR requirements.
So, let’s take it back a step for anyone reading about GDPR for the first time.
The EU GDPR goes into effect May 25, 2018. It applies to all organizations processing the personal data of EU residents. The regulation will introduce a new way for organizations handle data protection and it will be enforced fairly. The penalties for non-compliance of GDPR can be up to 20 million euros or four percent of company’s annual turnover. In addition, data subjects get a right to claim for compensation against an organization under GDPR.
It is important to remember that a data breach isn’t necessarily black and white. You could have all the security and encryption layers you want, but you may still be breached from either an external intrusion or an internal intrusion. What has become clear to me is that you need to have a clear audit trail of data throughout the business, from tracking user activity to change control activities and everything in between. The reason this is important is that part of the GDPR regulation requires that you declare to the ICO or equivalent any data breaches within 72 hours. Having an audit trail that proves that you have adhered to all policies and procedures may help reduce any penalties imposed on your company.
Let’s stop and think about the IT elements for a moment. It’s all well and good that you can provide the audit trail once you have been breached, but what elements do you need to think about when you’re trying to prevent a breach? It’s not as simple as just encrypting everything. You should make sure you keep your internal system up to date with the latest patch, so make sure you have a good patch manager in place to monitor servers, end-user devices, etc. One of the other elements you need to keep an eye on is your firewall management. Make sure that this correctly patched, and, more importantly, that all policies are adhered to and implemented.
As I said at the beginning, I am not an expert on compliance, but these are thoughts and things I have picked up on over the past year. So, here's my call to action for anyone reading this: Make sure you understand your data, and remember that the hard part isn’t becoming compliant; it’s the challenge of staying there.
In my last couple of posts, I’ve tried to paint a picture of the past and present of database management and monitoring. We've seen that good database performance has everything to do with knowledge, which, as we all know, is power. In our case, it is important to continue adding knowledge by learning from the mistakes we make.
In my opinion, we’re at the start of yet another revolution and it's being brought about by blockchain. And while that revolution is going to change a lot of the things we’re taking for granted these days, the digital revolution is still going strong. IT keeps evolving, and with things like IoT, AI, and ML, the digital revolution has gained a new dimension. It will take databases even further, and make them increasingly complex. This is why it will be so important to know and learn from everything going on in our databases today.
IT has always been a quickly evolving project. Previously, the first major leaps in human history took centuries, while these days revolutions seem to follow each other in a matter of decades. We’ll never stop taking our inventions and pushing them a step further.
You get the point. It is critically important that we know what is going on with our databases, which steps we need to take to give our companies an edge on the competition. We need to be able to see this before it even happens, by correlating all data points we measure on our databases. We need to have a tool that lets us discover the root causes of the complex issues we sometimes face in the database world. And we need it in real-time.
Thanks for reading! Here is my last cartoon for now.
We're two weeks into the 2017 Word-a-Day challenge and I cannot begin to describe the incredible depth and meaning of what people are sharing. And boy are you all sharing. So far you have responded with 11,390+ views, 93 likes/bookmarks, and over 800 comments all of which are thought-provoking, heartfelt, and personal. This is the most incredible community and I speak for the entire SolarWinds team when I say that we all feel privileged that you choose to share your time, thoughts, and feelings with us in this way.
Binary (Posted by KMSigma )
I remember a guy doing his PhD when I was at Uni (mid 1980s). He was building a trinary computer. He was struggling until I suggested using light instead of electricity. I have to admit the maths he was doing suddenly made binary seem easy.
It would be nice for us to learn we are not computers, that shades of grey still exist, that one can actually agree with someone on some topics but not others, that you can disagree with another yer still respect or, perish the thought, even like them. As much as binary logic has enabled today's technology and conveniences, humans are not binary.
If there is one thing Binary has taught us, it is this...
Just as a series of 1's and 0's... on's and off's...can make a machine result in a certain pattern or path until it is rewritten...reprogrammed...or rebooted...
So a series of right's and wrong's...opportunities taken or missed... can set a person on a pattern or path until a conscious effort is made to reset the trajectory.
Footprint (Posted by Jeremy Mayfield )
Our footprints are our legacies, we leave our footprints behind by making a difference. We get to determine what our footprints look like when we set our minds on changing things for the better.
This is deep. Made me think back to when I was young and my grandpa was a scout leader. When we go camping we would always leave it better then we found it. Leave only footprints behind. As you say he left a great fossil of himself on this world and is remembered as a great man. Thanks for this post, made me really start thinking about who I am and more things I could do.
it could be the image you posted but it reminds me of the practice of taking imprints of a child's footprint when they are young. It's a little something to remind you of how much they've grown. As an adult, the relationships you forge with other people and the imprint you leave on them will be how you are remembered.
Loop (Posted by Patrick Hubbard )
Very succinct. Sometimes it feels like every day is a loop where I come into work and try to add a metaphorical line for the next day, get to the weekend. A few of those and the script for the year gets worked on and everything progresses nicely... Until I get to the festive season and suddenly I look up and realise there were bits I meant to implement! Next year, fresh script right? I'll put them in the next version. In this fashion, I've so very easily spent a lot of time wishing for the next line, the next thing, the next major Event. Where what I needed to do was to write myself some new material for the next lines, actually change things up and write what I want to write. In a funny way, that's exactly how I came to be writing this post.
Some of my coworkers love to "loop" through the same things. They are totally happy doing their normal task 1 in the morning, going to meeting 2 later, task 3 after that, lunch, and so on. I sometimes envy them, but I need much more random tasks. I almost like interruption and being brought off-task, because I find when I get back to it I am actually better focused and have new ideas. Others like to simply loop through the work they have and not be broken out of it. The big thing I have been thinking about lately is how management and organizational structure can protect both their style of working and mine while keeping everyone happy and mostly productive...
Life loops, obsessive compulsive disorder, addictions, all come to mind when thinking of loops outside of programming. Some loops are inside functions that are reentrant. For the bad ones in life try to set the semaphores so those loops aren't allowed to execute even if they are called. Contact a friend, use a physical object to remind you don't go there, this loop leads to ill affects.
On the other had for some who have other disorders, loops and repetitive actions are the comfort that lets them get thru their day and life. They are a good thing.
Now if only there were a real traffic loop around Austin?
Obfuscate (Posted by mandevil )
For many years I was in an environment that valued the appearance of character above actual character. What I mean by that was that in a group everyone looked good on the outside, but didn't talk about their struggles, fears, weaknesses. So their home lives, work lives etc. were often in shambles, but you'd never know it to look at them., This kind of thing is not unique to any specific environment it's everywhere. We put on an air - obfuscate - of who we want people to believe that we are (I'm not talking about confidence, but that mask that we wear to prevent people from knowing the real us). Here's the thing, in most cases the people for whom you are putting on the mask are often also wearing a mask. We try to obfuscate as a way of protection, but it usually is just a signal that there is something else going on. I dare you to take off the mask, be open and honest and I bet you'll find that others begin to take off their masks - relationships will grow and everyone will feel better about themselves. (Keep in mind that it will be uncomfortable at first and of course there will be those that try to take advantage of your vulnerability - be wise)
Obfuscatation is at the heart of some of our pitfalls in technology. It is a vendor that "looks" like the fix a problem, yet when pressed further do not. It is that google post that does the same. It's source is varied and widespread. It is what keeps us up at night, and drives us nuts every day. It is why when we encounter clarity of any kind in technology we are appreciative.
I would say software licensing and cloud computing can be Obfuscate. I find that the more i read about volume licensing and cloud computing etc. the less clear things get. I know i need it, i know i use it, I am just not sure why its better, because it sure doesn't seem to save me any money and or ever seem to end. I am always needing to get more, and i still haven't figured out why.
Bootstrap (Posted by karlap)
None of us got where we are solely by pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. We got here because somebody - a parent, a teacher, an Ivy League crony or a few nuns - bent down and helped us pick up our boots. ............Thurgood Marshall
America always pivots between collective responsibility and the idea that the individual can pull himself up by his bootstraps. ..........Randi Weingarten
I never thought of this word in that way.
Overcoming challenges is often what defines a person. It's not how many times you get knocked down, it's how many times you get up. In IT our jobs demand that we find solutions to matters, sometimes simple sometimes overwhelmingly complex. But IT is binary and even though complex there is a specific answer, if not multiple answers.
In life things are different - the feelings, impressions, emotions, circumstances and a multitude of other things challenge us to not only find a solution, but find one that doesn't harm or ignore others. The idea of bootstrapping your life to overcome and succeed combined with the many challenges often defines not just our personal success, but the success and happiness of those around us.
There are few things better than “punching above your weight” at work, or solving a problem on your own. I’ve always equated bootstrapping as a solitary activity and not a team sport, but I guess you can say a team can pull its self up by the boot straps. The essay that started this discussion was not a solitary effort, rather it was two people working together and I think the lesson here is that sometimes it’s better to ask for help than to go it on your own.
Cookie (Posted by aguidry )
I'm an Oreo person myself. Sit me down with some Oreos and milk, and I'm good to go until the package is empty. I did hear on the radio this morning suggesting dunking in peanut butter or cool whip. Maybe I'll try one of those next. With relation to the theories, I thought Hansel and Gretel left breadcrumbs, not cookies. One must look at cookies (not the yummy kind) from their own point of view. As a "normal" internet user, cookies are scary and dangerous. From the perspective of the organization issuing the cookie, they are useful in tracking internet usage and trends. When used for the right reason, cookies are useful (and delicious).
I like Chocolate chip, oatmeal and no bake cookies. Internet cookies i do not like. I usually set all browsers to remove cookies on exit. I never save them. This causes issues with certain sites but over all I'd rather not have the trail leading anyone back to where I have been. And as bad as that sounds, its not in a bad way, more so for security and company privacy. I log all traffic, mine included in the web filter and it is audited regularly.
My eldest daughter and her husband are seriously into barbeque competitions.... Their sons (my grandson's 8 and 9) have learned to by watch mom and dad. So much so that they now have their own smoker and they made meatloaf for a first dish; in addition they participate in the kids portion of the competitions that their parents attend. When the come to my house they ask my wife to teach them how to bake ("mom's not really good at that" - their quote not mine!) It's important for kids to feel comfortable and try things like cooking, it teaches the importance of math, reading and following directions and improvising when things don't go well. ps. am waiting for this next generation to come up with their own bacon recipies... ( will share them sqlrockstar and rschroeder )
Argument (Posted by designerfx )
Arguments are as well healthy sometimes, I totally agree with you -> on what you have mentioned above, but then it can as well turn out to be positive. For example, a healthy argument leads to a conclusion or provides justification to what you have to prove in a right way (you are standing by what you believe in or what could be achieved).
I am assuming like minded people wouldn't mind having a healthy argument, this indeed would help both of them in understanding the subject (IT) in a better way.
I never really understood why they call additions to a command line executable arguments. I'm just trying to get along with my programs. Sure I may talk loud to them when I leave Caps Lock on, but I'm not arguing.
I'm amazed so many technical people focused on the inter-personal-relationship-conversation path and avoided the technical script argument. Perhaps scripting is more absolute, while people attempting to persuade is more personal. I just saw Star Wars: The Last Jedi for free last night (the Force was with me!), and I won't give away any spoilers. But the arguments presented in the many wonderful sections of the movie were thought-provoking, wry, humorous, or tear-producing. I draw the line between "argument" and "discussion" or even "debate". An argument between people, to me, indicates a large possibility of hurt feelings and frustrations. A discussion, in my mind, does not. Even a debate is something done with considerations and professionalism and kind empathy--again, in my world. An argument indicates a major disagreement, without true dual-winning sides. Compromise may be a path to success and less hurt, or it can mean backed-up anger that may spill over with too much strength in the future when an unintended straw breaks a camel's back.
Compared to this, computer scripts with arguments in them are simple & boring, no matter the power they own.
Again, that's just a sample. Check out the Word-A-Day Challenge 2017 forum to get the full story. Coming up in week 3 of the challenge, we'll hear what our community thinks about the words Backbone, Character, Fragment, Gateway, Inheritance, Noise, & Object!
Christmas is two weeks away. Consider this your warning to get all of your holiday shopping done in time, unlike last year. I know I’ll be browsing Amazon a lot this week.
As always, here are some links from the Intertubz that I hope will hold your interest. Enjoy!
Quick summary for those of you that weren’t aware: Bitcoin is a scam. Avoid.
I avoid posting anything political here, but this article was worth pushing forward. I don’t believe that the media is any worse now than they were 100 years ago when Hearst would print gossip in order to create a story and headline. I just want people to understand that the media is in a constant race to the bottom and we are all suffering as a result.
Because every day I read emails from people that need help in writing emails.
The article focuses on your boss, but they could have written this about developers, too. I’ve seen a lot of extra work done by developers who want to rewrite everything they touch into the latest hipster language.
And they named it Q#, of course. Still, this quantum computing is a thing worth tracking now. IBM already has an offering, Microsoft is on the verge of one. Of course, no one will notice until AWS has a competing service, at which point AWS will claim to have been feeding Schrödinger’s cat for decades.
Reason number 27 why I believe that computers will provide autonomous self-tuning databases in the very near future.
I want Alexa to wake me with bacon in the oven. How soon before we have that skill available?
Took the family to New York City for some holiday fun this past weekend. We made it to Rockefeller Center to see the tree!
By Joe Kim, SolarWinds EVP, Engineering and Global CTO
Government IT professionals have a lot on their plates. Thanks to the increasingly sophisticated threat of cyberattacks, their jobs are not getting any easier. Trends, such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and software-defined networking (SDN), are also making IT pros’ work more complicated.
Hybrid IT promises rich benefits, from cost savings to scalability, so it's no surprise that this trend is being embraced by the public sector. According to the findings from the latest SolarWinds annual IT Trends report, 95 percent of government IT professionals surveyed said their organization has migrated critical applications and IT infrastructure to the cloud over the past year.
Yet, for all its potential, hybrid IT presents a challenge for government IT professionals already straining under the weight of their existing responsibilities. What can government organizations and their IT teams expect when adopting a hybrid IT model, and is it worth the trouble?
Bridge the gap
Government organizations are used to traditional, on-premises infrastructure, and, as a result, they are used to IT professionals knowing the organization’s network environment well.
Government IT professionals are now expected to manage everything both on and off premises. This isn't an easy task, especially given the fact that those applications within the cloud no longer fall under the IT professionals' control. Instead, they are managed by a cloud service provider.
To manage applications across on-premises and the cloud, new skills are required. However, government IT professionals have fewer resources and training available due to budget cuts.
By outsourcing some of the maintenance work to cloud service providers, government IT professionals can place more of a focus on the topic most government IT professionals fear most: security.
Keep it secure
Cybersecurity has received significant attention from government this past year. In the UK, the new National Cyber Security Strategy, which included a £1.9 billion investment to address the growing threat of data breaches, highlighted the desperate need to invest against a threat that is growing, both in terms of financial backing and sophistication.
Migrating infrastructure to the cloud represents a real security risk to many government agencies, which have highly sensitive data. SolarWinds research found that security is one of the key reasons for organizations—including government—to move from the cloud back to on-premises.
Increased complexity for an IT professional is also playing a part in security concerns, with the 2016 SolarWinds Government Cybersecurity Survey finding that 48 percent of respondents said that difficulty supporting their IT environments had resulted in increased security challenges.
IT professionals can do more to simplify their hybrid IT environment. The IT Trends report found that 71 percent of responding government organizations currently use up to three cloud provider environments. By distributing infrastructure across so many environments, complexity becomes inevitable.
Despite the misgivings of some IT professionals, the hybrid IT era is one that is worth embracing, with 49 percent of respondents identifying cost efficiency as one of their top three reasons for selecting particular areas to migrate to the cloud.
As purse strings tighten across government departments, a flexible infrastructure that offers cost savings and scalability should be a no-brainer. Hybrid IT offers this, and by bridging the skills gap and managing security concerns, government IT professionals can reap significant benefits.
Find the full article on PublicTechnology.net.
The 2017 Word-a-Day challenge is off to an amazing start, and I wanted to share just a few of the incredible insights and amazing stories being shared in that space. If you hadn't heard about it until now, you can find all the entries here: Word-A-Day Challenge 2017 .
Meanwhile, a quick reminder about the challenge rules: Each word will appear around midnight US Central time, and you have until midnight the following day to post a *meaningful* comment (you know, something more than "yeah!" or "great job!") for 150 THWACK points. You have until midnight Monday night to make comments on the words that post on Saturday and Sunday, since we here at THWACK would never want to pull you away from your valuable downtime.
So what were people talking about this week?
Identity (Posted by Leon Adato )
I find the Where You Are an interesting addition to authentication. Back in my day when I was teaching class, it was always the first three. I'm wondering how many organizations are taking into account location when authenticating. We have monitoring applications that log IP address, so it can easily be obtained, but I don't know that they are being factored in when the user is logging in (except for those that are blocked by ACL).
A personality, in a loose sense, is the sum of all experiences to date; everything from all our senses builds how we think and act and live. From this also comes the desires and ways we would act, talk and think. I've very recently taken the step to leave a decade career and lifelong ambition to join you in getting Thwack points IT administration. When I took that step, I changed my identity - who I am and who I will become. Sometimes it takes the Earth to make a small change, and sometimes it takes a word to change a life.
An immediate thought that came out of reading the first days challenge, is related to me finding out I had a half brother I did not know existed (as did my Father) 3 years ago. We, along with my brother, Father and Mother became close very quickly after our first meeting, with the relationship very much based on our shared identity. The premise that we are who we are based on our life and the experiences within has also very strongly been proven to be based on nature as well. The similarities in our looks is one thing, but the shared mannerisms, way of speaking and many other traits along has brought much debate and sometimes with our wives consternation as now our sense of humours are spread across three of us.
Access (Posted by Eric CourtesyIT )
Access is a big deal, it shows you where one belongs in a particular place; it is the evidence of belonging.
Access is ones ability to gain entry into a place. For some that place was Studio 54, where it was difficult to gain access. For others access is gain entrance to a place that gives us an ability to do something, like gaining entrance to a group that allows me to change permissions in a virtual world.
At my previous job access seemed to be a daily fight. I can't remember a single day where there wasn't a user testing to see if they could weasel their way into having access to something that they shouldn't have, and didn't need (they all thought they did). The biggest fight was always over WiFi access for personal devices. Our setup was simple, one SSID for company owned devices that only two people knew they password to and a second for guests/personal devices. Enough of the managers complained to the big boss over this that he came to me and told me to change the way we do things. Give all users the password. I argued with him over it and we came to an agreement that we would do an isolated test before allowing everyone access. I would broadcast a new SSID that was a clone of the existing and only hand out the password to a small group. Not even a day had gone by before I start noticing strange activity and unknown devices connecting to this new SSID at all hours. And wouldn't you know it, a select few almost immediately gave the password to just about everyone they knew! I really enjoyed the I told you so after I showed the big boss.
Insecure (Posted by Peter Monaghan, CBCP, SCP, ITIL ver.3 )
I recall a conversation when I was in the Air Force about how fighter jets are very dependent up their thrust to stay in the air, unlike the good old C-130s. It was the fighters' very instability that made them such a dynamic force in air combat. It makes me look at the instability of what I know in IT and feel comfortable with that. While it may make me insecure, if I apply the correct amount of thrust to stay in it, I can keep flying in the very dynamic career of IT professional.
Confidence is silent, insecurities are LOUD
Admittedly, my initial introduction to a lot of SolarWinds MVPs made me feel pretty insecure - "They know so much more than me! Why am I here?". Over time however I have realised that this has pushed me to increase my depth of knowledge and that there are times where I have been able to provide assistance to them. We're better as a whole than the individual parts.
Imposter (Posted by Joshua Biggley )
Good write up. Not what I envisioned when I saw the title, but I assume that is what you were going for. Thinking outside the box. Too many times, people just try to fit in. They are afraid to be themselves as they don't know how they will be perceived by others. Then there are the times when someone pretends to know something they don't for fear to being looked upon negatively. As you said it. Be yourself. If you don't know something, just ask. Everyone had to learn at some point. If someone doesn't like you for how you are, then they don't deserve to know you.
Ah, you think you have imposter syndrome? You merely adopted imposter syndrome. I was born in it, molded by it. I am imposter syndrome.— SwiftOnSecurity (@SwiftOnSecurity) February 5, 2016
At first I wanted to ask if I am Batman, or an imposter. But then I think when the band Kiss replaced their drummer Peter Chris, and Eric Singer then puts on the make up and persona of the original character, is Eric now an imposter? Or is he just playing a roll that was passed on.
Code (Posted by Craig Norborg )
My kid at only 8 years old already took a Minecraft coding class. Man how young they are learning.
When I think back on childhood, a code was more like a cipher, something you needed to de-code to understand. Something you needed the secrete decoder ring or tool for. In later life as I became a magician the code was more about ethics, where we agreed to not frivolously or intentionally give away certain secrets that may be revealed in how something may work. At work we have a code of conduct or a list of rules we must abide by. And in IT I feel here code bandied about as a term referring to programming.
Just looking over all the contexts and definitions and meanings of the work code, leads me to ponder other languages. It is interesting how in English we can have one word that can mean multiple things depending on context, however in other languages, even ancient ones, like Greek, there are multiple words used that making those languages more complex but also more descriptive and precise.
I remember seeing the word code in many places but what first struck me was how the word applies to genetics AND information technology. When you consider the history of the word, it's a simple word with a very generic meaning, now it's use seems restricted to mystical deep uses. that will change however as people learn to question the norm and seek out true meaning....in all things.
FUD (Posted by thegreateebzies )
I first heard about FUD from geeky pursuits. For along time, though, I actually used it far more to describe things political, especially in political campaigns (e.g., negative campaign ads).
The way, in short, that I like to deal with FUD hits each aspect:
Fear - Apprehension is generally OK. It is alright to be concerned, but not to be paralyzed or ruled by fear.Uncertainty - The more I know, the dumber I think I am, since I realize even more of what I don't know. Not being G-D, I cannot know everything, so some uncertainty is understandable.
Doubt - F and U definitely imply D. That doubt, however, can lead you to ask questions to perhaps catch something not foreseen, which is good.
Use FUD to guide you to where your concerns are and put efforts there to research and prove or alleviate them. Turn FUD into a productive force. Just don't let it paralyze you.
"I must not fear! Fear is the mind killer! Fear is the littledeath that brings total obliteration! I will face my fears. I will allow them to pass over me, and over me."
- Paul Atreides, "Dune"
Also, for those who don't already know, F.E.A.R is an acronym for False Evidence Appearing Real!
While not work-related, I've gone through a bout of FUD lately with my first home purchase. We went in with a bit of risk knowing there was some existing damage that needed repairing (uncertainty) but the damage looks to be more than anticipated. I have had doubts about whether I've made the right choice, and fearful of what else would come up. However, I've since overcome most of that (except for a little bit of the fear) and we're pushing ahead with what we have and fixing it up properly for our peace of mind.
Pattern (Posted by kneps)
Better safe than sorry, run from all tigers, real or imagined.
I loved the "Faces In Places" search--thank you for sharing that.
Yes, sometimes the pattern only appears from far away--not being able to see the forest for the trees is a hurdle we don't sometimes don't even know we've encountered.
Other times we are in our own pattern (a.k.a.: "rut") from having recently diagnosed and troubleshot an issue with a particular technology. Our solution, and that recent troubleshooting pattern, can lead a person to easily waste time by digging into that specific issue, when in fact the problem is unrelated.
There's a character in Ursula K. LeGuin's EarthSea saga called "The Master Patterner" who is enigmatic and subtle. http://www.bookrags.com/questions/english-and-literature/The_Other_Wind/who-is-master-patterner-from-the-other-wind-and-… Enjoy her works as I do, and another pattern is made.
I recently listened to an episode of the "You Are Not So Smart" podcast that had interesting comments to make on how artificial intelligence is using patterns it finds in historical input data which create biases that we may not want as a society as we go forward. The ability to recognize patterns and go "Oh, that one is bad, we should change that," is going to an important part of how we code AI.
Virtual Posted by Richard Letts ()
A definition for virtual I learned long ago, is "In essence, but not in fact." An important distinction! And I learned "virtual" has nothing to do with the goodness of "virtue"; the two words are not related except by spelling and sound for my purposes. Knowing this, you can better understand product claims and news reports with a more critical eye when you hear "virtual" or "virtually".
Virtually the only differences between a "real" router or server and equivalent "virtual" models are form factor and management/setup process. We may be accustomed to a hardware box dedicated to routing, or to a pizza box server taking requests for applications or files. We reduce costs and extend flexibility and increase uptime by moving to virtual hardware that performs the same services when our environment and budget scale to the need. But the function of the original hardware server or router is duplicated exactly by the virtual appliance, and more flexibility and options are gained through the virtues virtual routers and servers.
The challenge is trying to get management to virtualize very server. They keep insisting that we need physical boxes and it drives me crazy.
I will always be forever reminded that virtualization (nee virtual) is good, as long as it is *understood*. It's critical that people know what it means to virtualize and what it doesn't mean. Do you have flexibility? Yes. HA? Ideally yes. Do you have redundancy? Hopefully yes. Do you still have physical hosting that virtualization? Yes. Do you have enough hardware and properly allocated hardware so that people can do what they need? Again, hopefully yes. So it's helpful to remember that not everything can or will ever be virtual because we still live in a physical world. That being said, the benefits are immense, but the planning needs to be there from the start. Otherwise it's trying to ask normal people to figure out rocket science and realize they missed something (core) to keep a virtual environment up. Or pushing to go virtual when you don't even have enough resources to do it.
Again, that's just a sample. Check out the Word-a-Day 2017 forum to get the full story. Meanwhile, stay tuned this coming week as we ponder Binary, Footprint, Loop, Obfuscate, Bootstrap, Cookie, and Argument!
Welcome to the final post in my series on DevOps. If you've been following along and reading comments for the previous posts, you know the content generated several questions. In this post, I will consolidate those questions into one place so that I can expand the answers from the original posts. Also, I'll wrap up the series with suggestions for finding DevOps resources, because we've really just scratched the surface with this series. Let's get started by following up on some of the questions.
Isn't This Just Good Development Practices?
Definitely, the most common question about DevOps is, "How is it any different than the good development practices in existence?" Several developers commented that communicating with the operations staff was already part of their everyday operations, and viewed DevOps as just a re-branding of an old concept. I do agree that, like a lot of concepts in IT, DevOps recycles many ideas from the past. Without good development practices as part of your process, a DevOps initiative will end up in the trash very quickly. But DevOps is more than just good development practices.
When most organizations talk about implementing DevOps in their organization they are usually talking about applying those good development practices in new ways. Examples involve automating server maintenance where there previously was no development work, or creating custom applications to interface with your SDN control plane to add functionality that wasn't previously there. For a lot of organizations, DevOps simply applies good development practices to the parts of your business that previously had no development at all.
The Operator Coder
My Now We do DevOps. Do I Need to Learn Coding? post prompted people on the operations side to share various opinions about picking up development skills as an operator. They pointed out a couple of things that I feel were either missed or not thoroughly covered.
But I Don't Want to Code!
If you've already picked up development skills and enjoyed the process, it may be difficult to realize that there are some people who just don't enjoy crunching away on code. Admittedly, when writing that post, I may have glossed over the fact that if you are considering whether or not to learn to code you should first think about whether you want to do it and if it is enjoyable. Learning a new skill can be difficult, but learning a new skill you really don't care about is even more challenging.
When you work in a smaller organization, you likely are responsible for performing a variety of jobs each day. When management decides that they want to do DevOps in a small organization, it may fall on you to pick up development skills, simply because there are no developers on staff. In this case, it's not really a matter of whether or not you want to learn development skills. Like many other things that land on your plate, you learn whatever is required to get the job done.
Yes, you could argue that because there isn't a separate development staff, this isn't technically DevOps. However, every organization determines their own definition of DevOps--usually management personnel--regardless of whether that's right or wrong. Sometimes you just have to roll with it.
Developers and Operators are Never Going to Communicate
I found the stark differences among comments to be really fascinating. Several developers commented that communicating with operators was good development practice and that every developer worth his or her salt should be doing this already. Others commented that this just wasn't possible. Why? Because, based on experience, their developers and operations teams would never reach the point where they could effectively communicate with each other. Since we already talked about the first bit at this at the top of the post, let’s address the comment that developers and operations would never have enough communications to implement DevOps.
If you've got a group of developers or operators who just aren't willing to communicate, what do you do? The easy answer would be to just say, "You all suck," and let everyone go and start from scratch. But if your organization isn't quite ready to initiate a scorched-earth policy, read on. While it's definitely possible, the lack of communication may not be rooted directly in your individual contributors. As we discussed in DevOps Pitfalls, culture gets defined by behavior, which in turn gets defined by process. Does your organization have issues that make communicating between teams particularly difficult? Maybe you have a deeply rooted culture that supports a rivalry between operations and developers. Maybe operations and development have always treated each other with disdain, unfortunately. I'm sure you've seen organizations where the developers think the users are idiots that don't know what they want. This organizational attitude could be at the core of why you don't have communications between teams. It's important to look at both individual contributors and management. Are they helping to shape unhelpful team attitudes? Maybe this is why the teams can't seem to communicate effectively.
I'm Going Somewhere Else
Now that you've read through this blog series, you may be wondering where else to look for information to help move your DevOps initiatives forward. I asked people to share some of their recommendations for implementing DevOps in their organizations and received several suggestions. Some focused specifically on DevOps, while others looked at management practices. I'll list several of them below, but if you have anything else to recommend, please add it in comments!
The Phoenix Project
When you write a novel that attempts to educate readers about a certain thing, there is the potential for that novel to be pretty hokey. When someone recommended The Phoenix Project , that person assured me that this was not the case. With a four-and-a-half star rating on Amazon from nearly 2,000 reviews, this is one that I'm going to have to check out myself.
Time Management for System Administrators
On the topic of making your DevOps work a little faster, sometimes you need to better manage your time. This book may be able to help you get there.
Here, you'll find lots of articles have been written about DevOps and how it is implemented in different organizations. I found the site to be very helpful when I was writing several of the posts for this series.
Another site that has a fair amount of DevOps content, including, "How to Get Started in DevOps" and "DevOps Culture." This might be a good place to pick up more information.
The Toyota Way
Another book focused on the management side of things, including processes that Toyota used to improve communication in their factories.
Team Geek: A Software Developer's Guide to Working Well with Others
Since this series has been focused on the importance of communications in your DevOps efforts, we'll round out this list with a book about working with other people, teams, and users when developing software.
As always, I look forward to reading your comments!