Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Why a blog?

I wanted to document the ups and downs of implementing Chef and how we are creating culture change in my IT organization.  I'm hopeful that by recording our experiences (good and bad) it will help others with their own journeys, and through reader comments, help us with ours.

Who am I?

Hey, I'm Jesse.  I've been in the IT industry since 1998 and I've worn hats of many shapes, colors, and sizes.  I've lead a migration from Banyan Vines to a Windows server infrastructure while enlisted in the Marine Corps, worked in an incident response center for the Navy, and managed and supported large classified networks at several bases for the Marine Corps.  At my current gig, I spent a few years as an IT security professional dealing with SOX audits and PCI compliance, and then finally landed in my current team, managing load-balancers, Linux hosts, and application containers.  The most recent shift in my job description has me focused on rolling out Chef, adopting Test-Driven Development principles, and being an evangelist for the DevOps movement.

If you want to learn more about me, you can check out my profile on LinkedIn.

So what am I up to?

My organization has been interested in Chef for a little over a year now, and the task of making our interests an implemented reality has been handed to me.  We've also started actively pursuing an adoption of a DevOps philosophy for about 6 months.  And after years of following waterfall development practices, our IT organization recently decided to invest in Scrum to reduce risk, improve product quality, and accelerate our product enhancement throughput.  We have a lot of change and a long path ahead of us, but we're on our way!

On my team, we're finally starting to make some ground on our roll-out of open source Chef, and I'm finding that when I wake up each morning I can't wait to get to the office.  In fact, I'm actually starting to look forward to my hour-long commute to the office so I can use that time to sort out my ideas for reaching the day's goals.  I'm definitely a fan of Chef so far, and I'm certain it's going to be an indispensable tool in our box going forward.

We've also started to build a testing framework around testing our load-balancer configuration and have started investing resources in continuous integration.  Both of these efforts excite me just as much as Chef because I think they will begin paving the way for a completely new way to manage our infrastructure.  There will definitely be future posts about these two topics in the near future.

What to expect in future posts

  • A collection of links to some of the most helpful information I've come across as it applies to Chef, Continuous Integration/Deployment, and DevOps in general
  • A complete explanation of our cookbook architecture and development process
  • A first look at our F5 iRule testing framework
  • How we are encouraging independent thought and critical thinking to solve problems

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