Hey Denver folks! Don't forget that tomorrow evening (Tue, Oct 21) I'll be speaking at the Denver DevOps Meetup. It starts at 6:30pm! Hope to see you there!

http://www.meetup.com/DenverDevOps/events/213369602/

Register by Mon, October 20 and take advantage of the early bird pricing.

I'll be teaching tutorials on managing oncall, team-driven sysadmin tools, upgrading live services and more. Please register soon and save!

https://www.usenix.org/conference/lisa14

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in LISA

If you recall, the fine folks at Puppet Labs gave me a free ticket to PuppetConf 2014 to give away to a reader of this blog. Here's a report from our lucky winner!


Conference Report: PuppetConf 2014

by Anastasiia Zhenevskaia

You never know when you will be lucky enough to win a ticket to the PuppetConf, one of the greatest conferences of this year. My "moment" happened just 3 weeks before the conference and let me dive into things I've never thought about.

Being a person who worked mostly with the front-end development, I was always a little bit scared and puzzled by more complicated things. Fortunately, the Conference helped me to understand how important and simple all these processes could be. I was so impressed by personality of all speakers. Their eyes were full of passion, their presentations were clear, informational and breath-taking. Their attitude towards things they're working on - exceptional. Those are people you might want to work with, share ideas and create amazing things.

I'm so glad that I got this opportunity and wish that everybody could get this chance and taste the atmosphere of Puppet!

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in ConferencesPuppet

I'm teaching a tutorial at Usenix LISA called "Evil Genius 101: Subversive Ways to Promote DevOps and Other Big Changes".

Whether you are trying to bring "devops culture" to your workplace, or just get approval to purchase a new machine, convincing and influencing people is a big part of a system administrator's time.

For the last few years I've been teaching this class called "Evil Genius 101" where I reveal my tricks for understanding people and swaying their opinion. None of these are actually evil, nor do I teach negotiating techniques. I simply list 3-4 techniques I've found successful for each of these situations: talking to executives, talking to managers, talking to coworkers, and talking to users.

Seating is limited. Register now!


Evil Genius 101: Subversive Ways to Promote DevOps and Other Big Changes

Who should attend:

Sysadmins and managers looking to influence the technology and culture of your organization.

When/Where

Monday, 10-Nov, 1:30pm-5pm at Usenix LISA

Description:

You want to innovate: deploy new technologies such as configuration management, kanban, a wiki, or standardized configurations. Your coworkers don't want change: they like the way things are. Therefore, they consider you evil. However you aren't evil, you just want to make things better. Learn how to talk your team, managers and executives into adopting DevOps techniques and culture.

Take back to work:

  • Help your coworkers understand and agree with your awesome ideas
  • Convince your manager about anything. Really.
  • Get others to trust you so they are more easily convinced
  • Deciding which projects to do when you have more projects than time
  • Turn the most stubborn user into your biggest fan
  • Make decisions based on data and evidence

Topics include:

  • DevOps "value mapping" exercise: Understand how your work relates to business needs.
  • So much to do! What should you do first?
  • How to sell ideas to executives, management, co-workers, and users.
  • Simple ways to display data to get your point across better.

Register today for Usenix LISA 2014!

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in Usenix

On Tuesday, Oct 21st, I'll be speaking at the Denver DevOps Meetup. It is short notice, but if you happen to be in the area, please come! I'll be talking about the new book and how DevOps principles can make the world a better place. I'll have a copy or two to give away, and special discount codes for everyone.

The meeting is at the Craftsy Offices, 999 18th St., Suite 240, Denver, CO. For more information and to RSVP, please go to http://www.meetup.com/DenverDevOps/events/213369602/

Step 1: turn off your pager. Step 2: disable the monitoring system. Or.... you can run oncall using modern methodologies that constantly improve the reliability of your system.

I'm teaching a tutorial at Usenix LISA called "How To Not Get Paged: Managing Oncall to Reduce Outages".

I'm excited about this class because I'm going to explain a lot of the things I learned at Google about how to turn oncall from a PITA to a productive use of time that improves the reliability of the systems you run. Most of the material is from our new book, The Practice of Cloud System Administration, but the Q&A always leads me to say things I couldn't put in print.

Seating is limited. Register now!


How To Not Get Paged: Managing Oncall to Reduce Outages

Who should attend:

Anyone with an oncall responsibility (or their manager).

When/Where

Tuesday, 11-Nov, 1:30pm-5pm at Usenix LISA

Description:

People think of "oncall" as responding to a pager that beeps because of an outage. In this class you will learn how to use oncall as a vehicle to improve system reliability so that you get paged less often.

Take back to work:

  • How to monitor more accurately so you get paged less
  • How to design an oncall schedule so that it is more fair and less stressful
  • How to assure preventative work and long-term solutions get done between oncall shifts
  • How to conduct "Fire Drills" and "Game Day Exercises" to create antifragile systems
  • How to write a good Post-mortem document that communicates better and prevents future problems

Topics include:

  • Why your monitoring strategy is broken and how to fix it
  • Building a more fair oncall schedule
  • Monitoring to detect outages vs. monitoring to improve reliability
  • Alert review strategies
  • Conducting "Fire Drills" and "Game Day Exercises"
  • "Blameless Post-mortem documents"

Register today for Usenix LISA 2014!

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in Usenix

Holly from SpiceWorks interviewed me while I was in Austin for the SpiceWorld '14 conference. We talked about DevOps from the SMB "IT guy" perspective, Lord of the Rings, Chef vs. Puppet, and my secret desire start a podcast what would be "the Stephen Colbert of DevOps."

The interview has been published on their community website:

Demystifying DevOps: Q&A with Tom Limoncelli

Enjoy!

I'm teaching a tutorial at Usenix LISA called "Live Upgrades on Running Systems: 8 Ways to Upgrade a Running Service With Zero Downtime".

Ever notice that Google, Facebook and other website aren't down periodically for software upgrades? That's because they're upgrading software on their service while it is live. As a result, they can push new features continuously. In this tutorial I'll describe 8 techniques they use... and so can you. Oh, and here's a secret: I'll have a 9th way to upgrade software... but it requires down-time. That said, it might not require down-time that is visible to users!

I'm excited about this tutorial because it covers a lot of the unique topics we cover in The Practice of Cloud System Administration that I haven't talked about publicly before.

Seating is limited. Register now!


Live Upgrades on Running Systems: 8 Ways to Upgrade a Running Service With Zero Downtime

Who should attend:

Sysadmins that run web-based services, or services that involve many machines.

When/Where

Friday, 14-Nov, 9am-10:30am at Usenix LISA

Description:

How do you upgrade your service while it is running? This class covers nine techniques from the new book by Limoncelli/Chalup/Hogan, "The Practice of Cloud System Administration"... eight of which don't require downtime. Learn best practices from Google, Facebook, and other successful companies and apply them to your environment. Techniques include: The Google "Canary" process, Facebook "Dark Launches", proportional shedding, feature toggles, Erlang live-code upgrades, and live SQL and NoSQL schema changes.

Who should attend:

Sysadmins that run web-based services, or services that involve many machines.

Take back to work:

  • 8 ways to upgrade live systems without downtime
  • Techniques for cautious upgrades you may not have thought of
  • How to change SQL schemas without requiring downtime
  • Continuous Integration as a stepping stone to Continuous Deployment

Topics include:

  • Upgrade while the system is down (not viable for live upgrades)
  • Rolling upgrades
  • Google's "canary" upgrade system
  • Proportional Shedding
  • Feature Toggles
  • Facebook's Dark Launch system
  • Upgrades that involve SQL and NoSQL schema changes.
  • Languages that support live code upgrades
  • Continuous Deployment

Register today for Usenix LISA 2014!

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in Usenix

I'm teaching a tutorial at Usenix LISA called "Work Like a Team: Best Practices for Team Coordination and Collaborations So You Aren't Acting Like a Group of Individuals".

I'm excited about this class because I'm going to demo a lot of the Google Apps tricks I've accumulated over the years, and combine them with stories about successes (and failures) related to bringing teams together to work on projects. I also get to explain a lot of DevOps culture in ways that make sense to non-DevOps shops (mostly stuff I've been advocating for since before "devops" was a thing). A lot of the material will overlap with our new book, The Practice of Cloud System Administration.

Seating is limited. Register now!


Work Like a Team: Best Practices for Team Coordination and Collaborations So You Aren't Acting Like a Group of Individuals

Who should attend:

System administrators and managers that work on a team of 3 or more.

When/Where

Sunday, 9-Nov, 9am-12:30pm at Usenix LISA

Description:

System Administration is a team sport. How can we better collaborate and work as a team? Techniques will include many uses of Google Docs, wikis and other shared document systems, as well as strategies and methods that create a culture of cooperation.

Take back to work:

  • Behavior that builds team cohesion
  • 3 uses of Google docs you had not previously considered
  • How to organize team projects to improve teamwork
  • Track projects using Kanban boards.
  • How to divide big projects among team members
  • Collaborating via the "Tom Sawyer Fence Painting" technique
  • How to criticize the work of teammates constructively
  • How to get agreement on big plans

Topics include:

  • Meetings: How to make them more effective, shorter, and more democratic
  • How to create accountability, stop re-visiting past decisions, improve involvement
  • Strategy for leaving "fire-fighting" mode, be more "project focused".
  • Project Work: Using "design docs" to get consensus on big and small designs before they are committed to code.
  • Service Docs: How to document services so any team member can cover for any other.
  • Kanban: How to manage work that needs to be done.
  • Chatroom effectiveness: How to make everyone feel included, not lose important decisions.
  • Playbooks: How to get consistent results across the team, train new-hires, make delegation easier.
  • Send more effective email: How to write email that gets read.

Register today for Usenix LISA 2014!

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in Usenix

Quoting from a community forum post on SpiceWorks:

It doesn't have "DevOps" in the name, but the new The Practice of Cloud System Administration ... covers a lot of the same concepts, more as "here's some things that have emerged as best practices in the modern world of system administration." Textbook-thick but destined to be a classic like his previous The Practice of System and Network Administration.

Thanks to Ernest Mueller for the kind words!

 
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