Author Archives: Anton Weiss

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Jenkins 2.0: With Jenkins Creator – Kohsuke Kawaguchi (KK)

Category : Tools

Hi all!
We really hope you’ve already registered to the Jenkins User Conference Israel which was SOLD OUT yesterday.
But even if you haven’t – there’s still a chance to hang out with Kohsuke Kawaguchi – the father of Jenkins himself – and other Jenkins fans at a meetup the good people at JFrog are organising the day after the conference.
Here is the link:
Right now there are still 22 slots available.
Go grab yours.

Keep delivering!

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Discount tickets to Jenkins User Conference Tel Aviv

Category : Tools

We are happy to announce that @antweiss will be speaking about the future of software delivery at JUC Israel 2016

We have a couple of 100 NIS discount tickets to the conference and ticket sale is closing tomorrow!

The first two folks to comment on this post will get the discount code.

Type them comments!!!

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Openstack CI infrastructure Overview

Openstack is one of the largest OSS projects today with hundreds of commits flowing in daily. This high rate of change requires an advanced CI infrastructure. The purpose of the talk is to provide an overview of this infrastructure, explaining the role of each tool and the pipelines along which changes have to travel before they find their way into the approved Openstack codebase.
Talk delivered by Anton Weiss at Openstack Day Israel 2016 :!agenda/cjg9

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Infrastructure As Code Revisited


One can not talk about modern software delivery without mentioning Infrastructure As Code (IAC). It’s one of the cornerstones of DevOps. It turns ops into part-time coders and devs into part-time ops. IAC is undoubtedly a powerful concept  – it has enabled the shift to giant-scale data centers, clouds and has made a lot of lives easier. Numerous tools (generally referred to as DevOps tools) have appeared in the last decade to allow codified infrastructures. And even tools that originally relied on a user-friendly GUI (and probably owe much of their success to the GUI) are now putting more emphasis on switching to codified flows (I am talking about Jenkins 2.0 of course, with it’s enhanced support of delivery pipeline-as-code).

IAC is easy to explain and has its clear benefits:

  • It allows automation of manual tasks (and thus cost reduction)
  • Brings speed of execution
  • Allows version control for infrastructure configuration
  • Reduces human error
  • Brings devs and ops closer together by giving them a common language


But why am I writing about this now? What made me revisit this already quite widely known and accepted pattern? ( Even many enterprise organizations are now ready to codify their infrastructure )

The reason is that I recently got acquainted with an interesting man who has a mind-stimulating agenda. Peter Muryshkin of has started a somewhat controversial discussion regarding the future of devops in the light of overall business digitalisation. One thing he rightfully notices is that software engineering has been learning a lot from industrial engineering – automating production lines, copying Toyotism and theory of constraints, containerising goods and services, etc. The observation isn’t new  – to quote Fred Brooks as quoted by Peter :

Techniques proven and routine in other engineering disciplines are considered radical innovations in software engineering.”

This is certainly true for labour automation that has existed long before IAC has brought its benefits to software delivery. It’s also true for monitoring and control systems which have been used on factories since the dawn of the 20th century and which computers started being used for in the 1960-ies.

But the progress of software delivery disciplines wasn’t incremental and linear. The cloud and virtualization virtually exploded on us. We didn’t have the time to continue slowly adapting the known engineering patterns when the number of our servers suddenly rocketed from dozens to thousands.

In a way – that’s what brought IAC on. There were (and still are) numerous non-IAC visual infrastructure automation tools in the industry. But their vendors couldn’t quite predict the needed scale and speed of operation caused by the black hole of data gravity. So the quick and smart solution of infrastructure-as-code was born.

And that brings us to what I’ve been recently thinking quite a lot about – missing visualization.  Visibility and transparency (or measurement and sharing) are written all over the DevOps banners. Classic view of IAC actually insists that “Tools that utilize IaC bring visibility to the state and configuration of servers and ultimately provide the visibility to users within the enterprise“ In theory – that is correct. Everybody has access to configuration files, developers can use their existing SCM skills to make some sense of system changes over time… But that’s only in theory.

The practice is that with time the amount of IAC code lines grows in volume and complexity. As with any programming project – ugly hacks get introduced, logic bugs get buried under the pile of object and component interactions. (And just think of the power of a bug that’s been replicated to a thousand servers) Pretty soon only the people who support the infra code are able to really understand why and what configuration gets applied to which machine.

In the past years I’ve talked to enough desperate engineers trying to decipher puppet manifests or chef cookbooks written by their ops colleagues. Which makes me ask if maybe IAC sometimes hinders devops instead of enabling it…

Even the YAML-based configurations like those provided by Ansible or SaltStack become very hard to read and analyze beyond simple models.

As always is the problem with code – it’s written by humans for machines, not for other humans.

But on the other hand  – machines are becoming ever better at visualizing code so humans can understand them. So is that happening in the IAC realm?

In my overview of Weapons of Mass Configuration I specifically looked at the GUI options for each of the 4 ninja turtles of the IAC and sadly found out that not even one of them got any serious praise from the users for their visualization features. Moreover the GUI solutions were disregarded as “just something the OSS vendors are trying to make a buck from”.


I certainly see this as a sign of infrastructure automation still being in its artisanal state. Made by and for the skilled craft workers who prefer to write infra code by hand. But exactly as the artisans had to make way for the factories and labour automation of the industrial revolution – a change is imminent in the current state of IAC. It’s just that the usable visualization is still lacking, the tools still require too much special skills and the artisans of the IAC want to stay in control.


Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying our infra shouldn’t be codified. Creating repeatable, automated infrastructure has been my bread and butter for quite some time and tools like Puppet and Ansible have made this a much easier and cleaner task. I just feel we still have a long way to go. ( Immutable infrastructure and containerisation while being a great pattern and having benefits of its own also relies heavily on manual codification of both the image definitions and the management layers. )

Infrastructure management and automation is still too much of an issue and still requires too much special knowledge to be effectively handled with the existing tools. Ansible is a step in the direction of simplicity, but it’s a baby step. Composing infrastructure shouldn’t be more complicated than assembling an Ikea bookshelf  – and for that new, simpler, ergonomic UIs need to be created.

Large-scale problems need industrial level solutions. Let’s just wait and see which software vendor provides such a solution first – one which will make even the artisans say ‘Wow!’ and let go of their chisel.

And with that said – I’ll go back to play with my newly installed Jenkins 2.0 instance for some artisanal pipeline-as-code goodness. :)

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Microservice Development Toolkits part 1 – Otto


Otomato is happy to announce we’re collaborating with Codefresh on their great continuous delivery for docker containers solution. (If you’re using docker in your development/production or only thinking of doing it – go check out ) Our collaboration is mostly focused on industry analysis and docker development ecosystem research with the goal of identifying pain points and providing effective solutions. With quite a bit of evangelism on top. The linked post is the first fruit of that. ottologo

Microservice Development Workflow with Otto


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Have you heard of Wajig?

We love productivity tools of all kind and believe that software should be making our lives easier. For some reason many software products we have to work with don’t really feel like their creators agree. They may have great architecture, reliability and functionality but it looks like usability is snapped on as an afterthought.
One example of this is apt – the Advanced Packaging Tool used on Debian/Ubuntu Linux. While a great tool in itself, for some reason it provides a number of different user interfaces for different purposes.

To install/remove/upgrade/download a package there's the apt-get tool:

apt-get is a simple command line interface for downloading and
installing packages. The most frequently used commands are update
and install.

   update - Retrieve new lists of packages
   upgrade - Perform an upgrade
   install - Install new packages (pkg is libc6 not libc6.deb)
   remove - Remove packages
   autoremove - Remove automatically all unused packages
   purge - Remove packages and config files
   source - Download source archives
   build-dep - Configure build-dependencies for source packages
   dist-upgrade - Distribution upgrade, see apt-get(8)
   dselect-upgrade - Follow dselect selections
   clean - Erase downloaded archive files
   autoclean - Erase old downloaded archive files
   check - Verify that there are no broken dependencies
   changelog - Download and display the changelog for the given package
   download - Download the binary package into the current directory


But then if you want to search or query for packages you have to remember that a different utility is used – apt-cache:

apt-cache is a low-level tool used to query information
from APT's binary cache files

   gencaches - Build both the package and source cache
   showpkg - Show some general information for a single package
   showsrc - Show source records
   stats - Show some basic statistics
   dump - Show the entire file in a terse form
   dumpavail - Print an available file to stdout
   unmet - Show unmet dependencies
   search - Search the package list for a regex pattern
   show - Show a readable record for the package
   depends - Show raw dependency information for a package
   rdepends - Show reverse dependency information for a package
   pkgnames - List the names of all packages in the system
   dotty - Generate package graphs for GraphViz
   xvcg - Generate package graphs for xvcg
   policy - Show policy settings

And what if we want to list all the files installed by a specific package? Well we’re supposed to remember that there’s a special utility for that – apt-file. And it’s not installed by default…

Figures we weren’t the only ones puzzled by this multitude of interfaces. Wajig is targeted at exactly that – providing a unified interface to all package-related functionality on Debian/Ubuntu. Or as stated on the site:
“Wajig is a simplifed and more unified command-line interface for package management. It adds a more intuitive quality to the user interface.  Wajig commands are entered as the first argument to wajig. For example: “wajig install gnome”. Written in Python, Wajig uses traditional Debian administration and user tools including apt-get, dpkg, apt-cache, wget, and others. It is intended to unify and simplify common administrative tasks. … You will also love the fact that it logs what you do so you have a trail of bread crumbs to back track with if you install something that breaks things.”

Another nice thing – wajig knows when root privileges are needed and takes care of that, so we don’t need to rerun a command each time we forget to prepend it with sudo.

We still need to play with wajig a bit more to decide if it performs on all its promises but it definitely is going into a right direction.

Wishing you all user-friendly software and a good week.

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Jenkins User Conference Israel 2016 Announced

Category : Tools

Reposted from the official event page:

Jenkins User Conference hits Israel fifth year in a row!

Come learn how to optimize Jenkins across the software delivery process!

With more than 100,000 active installations and more than 1,000 plugins Jenkins is no doubt a leader in the CI and CD domain. Our 2015 Jenkins User Conference in Israel drew more than 700 developers, and was so successful that this year we know it will be a blast!

JUC IL 2015

The Jenkins User Conference focuses on the use of Jenkins for continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery (CD) as the fundamental best practice for enterprise software delivery. Our presenters are experienced Jenkins developers, build managers, QA, DevOps practitioners, IT managers/executives, architects and IT operations who are luminaries within the Jenkins community. They represent the many organizations around the world that are leveraging the use of Jenkins within the software delivery lifecycle.

We welcome you and other leading Jenkins developers, QA, DevOps and operations personnel to the Jenkins User Conference World Tour. As the organizing sponsor of the Jenkins User Conferences, CloudBees has helped the community grow the Jenkins User Conferences worldwide over the last four years. In 2015, the community saw a 70% increase in attendance over 2014.

In 2016, the World Tour will bring together the full strength of the Jenkins community—now over 100,000 installations strong—and the ever-expanding Jenkins partner ecosystem, allowing attendees to learn, explore, network face-to-face and to shape the next evolution of Jenkins development. Kohsuke Kawaguchi will kick off the event with a keynote address and lead us into the conference. Come get the knowledge you need to make your current and future Jenkins projects a success.

Call For Papers is Now Open>

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DevConTlv update

Category : Tools

Just went to DevConTLV pre-conf speaker dinner. Had a lot of fun talking about tech, life and business with some of the finest minds in the industry.

Now – it figures I was wrong regarding the conference format. This one isn’t going to have beers and live music… But! It will have great speakers who are going to rock the stage with talks on cutting edge software development tools and metodologies. On my part I will do my best to keep the audience entertained. So if you want to be a ninja – make sure to attend.

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Service-Oriented Collaboration

Category : Tools


This post is yet another take on how we should be creating software together. I’m now working on a book named “Coding Together” that will be reviewing all the challenges of collaborative software delivery and the ways of overcoming them for maximum creativity and efficiency. As I’m gathering materials – my understanding not only deepens but shifts – complex systems viewed holistically definitely cannot be analyzed as a sum of their parts.
Two years ago I gave a few talks and wrote about the importance of enabling self-service principle in a smart and secure way for smooth and effective value delivery in software engineering organisations. I still hold a strong belief in self-service builds, tests, deployments and infrastructure provisioning. All these can greatly enhance the rate of innovation and the quality of produced software.
If done correctly, that is…

But it can be quite disastrous when this self-service concept implementation isn’t designed and delivered with due attention. What’s more annoying and demotivating than being told that you can build, test and deploy with a click of a button but ending up with a failed process and a bunch of cryptic error messages?!
And then opening a ticket to the suporting team and waiting for hours because “they are busy developing the new self-service infrastructure”…

I’ve seen this happening too often in real life and that led me to understand that self-service is really worth nothing when the other most important ingredient is missing. And that is – human service consciousness. Not serving oneself but serving others should be the focus.

That’s easy to say, but how do you practically implement this? How should we structure our software development organization around service consciousness and how is this any different than what we used to have before continuious delivery and automation became common knowledge?

Microservice architectures are becoming the de-facto standard for building modern highly scalable and reliable software systems. In line with Conway’s law – small service teams based on consumer-driven contracts should become the foundation of a highly scalable, flexible and agile IT organisation. And it’s really less about the team size but more about being focused on serving the members of other teams – the consumers of your team’s api, the users of your self-service automation, the implementers of your feature requests or the developers you’re assigning bugs to. It’s about building a decentralized Team of Teams  where each unit takes pride in the level of service it provides and not in its special status in organisational hierarchy.

Advanced communication is what allows us humans to collaborate on massive scale. But communication can also ruin collaboration if what we transmit is a negative, elitist or egocentric attitude.

As Sabine Bendixen rightfully writes – a highly effective agile organization starts with effective communication.

Communication is always the first thing we at Otomato look at when performing a software delivery assessment for our clients. How are changes getting communicated? How is knowledge managed within the organization? How are decisions made? How do the members of different teams see themselves and their role in the value delivery stream?
Whenever there’s hostility, resentment and lack of motivation or transparency – we know we struck a bottleneck. And this is a great place to start. Start building trust and visibility, reviewing and streamlining the processes. But most important – start building collaboration around providing important services among teams. Around treating all the internal interactions as interactions with customers in which customers invariably come first and their experience is the utmost measure of our performance.

I like to call this ‘service-oriented collaboration’ and that’s the only type of collaboration that’s truly sustainable, adaptable and robust. This is the kind of collaboration that will allow your business to quickly change course when needed and keep engineers creative and motivated. And once you have this – self-service infrastructure will take you to the moon!

Now did you notice how this whole post didn’t mention DevOps even once?
Watch our follow-up posts to learn why.

Happy delivering!

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Cloud-aware, provider-agnostic monitoring

Category : Tools

I’ve never had to deal so much with monitoring. I’ve established a few Nagios instances in earlier days, I’ve used Amazon CloudWatch, Pingdom and New Relic lately for cloud setups, but I don’t consider myself a monitoring expert. At Otomato we are currently mainly focused on software delivery processes, on how to get those bits from dev machines and into production in the most effective and agile manner without compromising quality. Monitoring, although an important part of running software and assuring successful value delivery (should I say an important part of DevOps?) , has been largely out of our scope.

But now we are working on a  new project where we had to deal with the full-full cycle – building, deploying and running. Moreover – the requirement was for cloud-provider-agnostic solutions as this is going to be a multicloud setup.

And with that came the most exciting part of any project – the research!

I didn’t want to go back to Nagios as my previous encounters with it left a bad aftertaste. Cumbersome setup, dated WebUI and no real support for ephemeral cloud servers. So I started reading up to understand  what are the newer tools on the market and if #monitoringsucks less now than it used to.

Here are the links to a few articles that really helped me in my research:

A series of posts on Florin’s blog:

All James Turnbull has to say about monitoring and his experience with Riemann:

This comparison of Nagios, Sensu and Icinga2 :

And this great post on Sensu

And there are more…

To sum things up – I really liked what Riemann has to offer, and I’d like to research it more for future project but currently we’ve decided to go with Sensu. Reasons: scalability, cloud-awareness and yes – a good-looking WebUI.

Needless to say – we’ve only touched the tip of the iceberg here – modern monitoring is a world of its own. Metrics collection, event handling, threshold definition, log analysis, anomaly detection – you name it. We promise to revisit all these in more depth but until then – please comment here with links and insights of  your own.

Happy delivering!