Byzantine Reality

Searching for Byzantine failures in the world around us

PuppetCampLA Writeup

This last Saturday I was off at PuppetCamp LA with Harold and Andrew from Eucalyptus, learning about the latest and greatest developments in the world of Puppet. Puppet aims to simplify tedious sysadmin work and do so in a way that works cross-platform – that is, you don’t have to worry about talking to yum and apt to install packages, but instead just make Puppet take care of it. Here’s a quick breakdown of my thoughts on how it all went:

What went well: * I got to see some use cases of what Puppet does really well – replacing monolithic bash scripts with something that’s much more readable and writable, and (critically) the ability to push out updates to machines connected to Puppet as needed. * The keynote and SpaceX talks in particular were well done. The keynote talked about PuppetLabs’ vision for how a “real open source company” operates, features in the newest release, and planned features for the next release. The SpaceX talk was about how they use Puppet, and everybody always loves a talk about space stuff. * There was some discussion about fpm, which looks like a way simpler way to make deb and rpm packages than what we’re doing for AppScale, so I’ll definitely be checking that out for our own internal stuff. * The food was great :)

What could have used improvement: * The talks were definitely way too technical for my level of expertise with Puppet. I’ve really only seen Puppet once or twice with Harold, so all of the talks that said “this feature needs to be used this way” or “you know that this was a problem so we fixed it with this” just went right over my head. * I really wanted to be able to just download Puppet and hack around with it to see why it was so cool, but even the “getting started” talk turned into talking about really specific problems that 90% of the user community would never run into (which they also admitted). * Couldn’t get the wifi there to work for me. It seemed to work fine for other people, but as it didn’t work for me, that made it hard for me to learn Puppet and Google what everyone was talking about.

Overall, we had a great time, and looking forward to checking it out next time and learning more about Puppet!