Okay it’s a lie, it was really Config Management Camp, but I was really only there for one purpose. Over the years as a small tech company we have tried a number of automation systems for our server and the honest truth, is that unless you have a dedicated sys admin and people running your infrastructure, it will fail at some point. The urge to do something “manually” is too big a draw and as soon as you do that, your systems are out of sync and it’s hard to come back from that point. Of course with Juju you can do that also, but as the systems are designed at a different level, it removes that “hackable” level and manages my servers and containers for me, which to some extent minimises that urge.
The other thing as well is that all “recommended charms” (the stuff you deploy with Juju) are peer reviewed by Canonical employees, and, as I found out tonight, are automatically tested on a range of cloud services with each commit. One of the bigger problems we found with Puppet over the years was finding Puppet modules that were built in a way that allowed easy deployment on my operating system of choice without hacking to move it out sync with the upstream maintainer. Of course you can still do this with Juju, but the charm developers add sensible properties into their charms in the hope this wont be necessary. You can also extend charms with their new “layers” approach coming in 2.0, if you come from a programming background, think of inheritance, you can extended charms with more code, without writing all the other stuff or copying and pasting.
The other take away from today, is how enthusiastic all the folks at Canonical are about their product. This is from the top down, from Mark Shuttleworth, wanting to do seat of the pants demos with the Ubuntu Orange Box(http://cluster.engineering/ubuntu-orange-box/) and answering questions in detail on the mailing list. To Jorge and his love of ZFS, Antonio and his wanting to demo the Juju Weather Report to me so I understand how the cross cloud testing metrics work and of course Marco Ceppi who thinks(quite rightly) that every question is a really good question and answers it in as detailed way as possible, how he didn’t loose his voice is beyond me.
The whole setup is really slick, whilst most techies may not use the GUI, it is there and readily available for systems engineers to explain platform topology to no techies, but similarly, the command line and its excellent tab complete support is there to support day to day tasks. The ease of adoption and getting up and running is so easy, it makes you want to use the platform for everything, instead of it being an after thought.
I have to be honest with you, when we were asked to write a Saiku charm, I was sceptical, YACMS(yet another content management service), but the whole ecosystem has changed from, “let’s write a charm and hope people consume it”, to, “lets port our systems to Juju because it makes our lives easy and if people use our charm thats a bonus”.
Of course Canonical would like us to get our charm finished and everything in production but from a consumers point of view, Juju is good. Very, very good.
About the author
Tom is the founder and technical director of Meteorite.bi, a consulting company specialising in the Saiku Analytics platform. His weekly duties include BI consulting, Scala & Java programming and tinkering with System Administration frameworks. In his spare time Tom is a regular blogger and open source committer. You can read more about Tom on the Meteorite.bi blog.
Ubuntu offers all the training, software infrastructure, tools, services and support you need for your public and private clouds.