I’ll be traveling in the northeastern US from 10/28 through 11/13. Current plans put me in DC from 10/28 – 11/1. Then I’ll be in Boston on Tuesday 11/2 for the Boston Devops Meetup. On Wednesday 11/3, I will be in NYC for the NYC Devops Meetup at drop.io. Following that, I will be stationed back in my hometown in Maine until returning to Seattle on 11/13. If you’d like to catch up with me about operations with Chef while I am in the region, or have me stop by somewhere and give a presentation, send me an email and we can make arrangements.
After a brief respite over the next few weeks, I’ll be joining Opscode in September. Not only am I excited about working with such a great group of people, but also for the incredible opportunity of getting to work on problems whose solutions are already beginning to permanently change how we build systems.
After all, we should be solving life’s more difficult problems, not passing our days as a cog in a machine of repetitious activity. When skilled and respected humans become mere automatons of deployment tasks; we’ve slipped into a dismal place. There is boundless room out there for innovation, but we need a dependable platform on which to build.
I’m joining Opscode to help craft this reality. I want to help you find meaning in these tools; how they will make your life easier. Don’t confuse this end as simply being able to work faster, it’s about working better.
It’s no secret that I think configuration management is epic. I spent yesterday hopping around the office in excitement due to Opscode’s alpha announcement of their new Cookbooks site. This is exactly the next step needed in the CM community. Shortly thereafter, while talking with another developer about how awesome Cookbooks is, he quipped about it being second in awesome to chef itself. I argue that chef exists for cookbooks, not the other way around. It was later said “Chef is the tool, cookbooks are the art”. Cookbooks is all about community.
Chef is a tool, and an open-source one, so it does have a community. A vibrant one at that; a recent ohloh factoid claims “This is one of the largest open-source teams in the world, and is in the top 2% of all project teams on Ohloh.” Cookbooks is the other way around, it is a community first and at tool second. Cookbooks has already been compared to github and launchpad (with PPAs), because like these sites it brings people with a common task together around a tool like git or ubuntu. It has been noted that every configuration management project needs something like Cookbooks, and I agree.
The community that builds around Cookbooks will be a vanguard of agile system administrators looking to reduce their undifferentiated heavy lifting. These include the people who recognized that it is their product that they are selling and no longer their infrastructure, and took up cloud computing as a result. They will soon find that the configuration management community will help them continue to spend less time reinventing the operations wheel, and more time innovating it. Cookbooks will make it easier to share infrastructure-code with like-minded individuals and is the next step beyond github and wikis for this material. These models still required concerted effort to share back with the community when you finished up your recipe, but the Cookbooks site and it’s open API stands to change that. We are now poised to leverage the open source model to increase the rise of infrastructure as code.