Thursday, August 15, 2013

[achievement unlocked] installed openstack on a fedora rc1 release

My new workstation finally arrived today, so I got to finally ditch the laptop and move to something with a little less play in the keyboard and a slightly larger screen.  Most of the other devs opted to use their budget on pretty Macs, but I dumped mine into a whitebox with a lot of storage and RAM.  The primary reason was that I need to run a bunch of VMs, and my plan was to try and get OpenStack (grizzly) running on so I could replicate (or maybe just approximate) our production environment.  I went over to the RedHat's RDO project site since they've done a pretty decent job of making deployment easy and bundling everything together.

The weak point in my plan was an insane idea to use Fedora 19rc1 as the host OS.  If you're thinking about doing something similiar, stick with the latest stable release of your distro.  There were a bunch of small gotchas due to bugs/changes in 19 that the openstack stuff just didn't handle (stuff like the fact that packages called "mysql" are gone in Fedora now and are replaced by either "mariadb" or "community-mysql"... which the puppet classes don't know about yet, missing sysconfig files for qemu-kvm, etc).  Getting the install required a bunch of tweaking of config files and re-running the installer, but in the end I got it working.

Worse yet, some kind souls had documented their similar adventures, but some of the problems had been fixed since they wrote it.  Some helpful hints I ran across:

I'd also suggest finding an RPM for openstack-packstack-2013.1.1-0.7 or later and rebuilding that from the SRPM rather than using the one provided by the yum repo (think it was 2013.1.-0.3).  There's a small problem in the switch_keyring code that's fixed in newer versions.  I ended up using 0.24.dev660.

Also, skip the nagios install with --install-nagios=n.  I used mariadb for my database, and ended up having to tell packstack to use localhost for my mysql_host.

Finally, a word about packstack itself.  This is really just a python program (class) that can run on most of the major distros.  I'd suggest looking into it if you're thinking about installing on a Debian/Ubuntu system as it really does ease and automate a lot of the installation process.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

my new job and why I think it's cool

I've been pretty quiet since mid-May, and the reason for that has been that I've started a new job.  I'm working for a start up called True Ability, and the 2 second pitch is "We provide a flight simulator for hiring technical talent."

The "Oh, I got your attention" pitch is that we do technical skills assessment by providing candidates with a series of tasks to complete in a virtual server.  It's basically a break-fix test on a VPS that allows non-technical people to gauge the ability of a potential hire.  Our ultimate goal is to get rid of the process of weeding through resumes and help recruiters narrow their search down to qualified, interested candidates as well as allow qualified and interested candidates to escape from getting weeded out for non-technical reasons.  Right now we're pretty much focusing on Linux administration, but should be moving into other areas in the not too distant future... I'm pretty excited to start expanding our offering.

The company itself is unbelievable.  It's one of those rare times you find awesome people with a truly complimentary mix of skills and expertise with a worthy goal and a clear roadmap to achieve it.  My job title is ostensibly "Linux Engineer", but in reality I'm working on the automation code for breaking the servers and evaluating the candidates' solution.  It's a funky hybrid role doing software development, but requiring a pretty good system administration base... kind of devops but without the drag of on-call duty. \o/

If you'd like to know more, hit us up.  The site's mainly geared for the recruiter types now, but we're planning on doing some cool stuff for the technical folks in the future.

And if you're wondering why I think this is a big deal, read on.