back to article Don't fear the reap... er, automation: Puppet hopes to make IT boring, says that's a good thing

The revolution will not be televised because IT automation is boring. But it will be scripted and play out unseen, because boring is the desired state for computing infrastructure. Businesses just want their systems to work, without drama or excitement. Puppet, a maker of devops software, is trying to broaden the boredom. …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "There's a lot of drama around deployments because they aren't fully tested."

    Not to mention that they might not even have been fully thought-through.

    I have the feeling these days that sysadmins do not have the time to project and plan, they have to put out fires all the time because management pushes things through that always have to be done yesterday.

    The IT department that has a comprehensive list of all applications, servers and functionalities, up to date and with dependencies, probably doesn't exist.

    As such, when it is time to deploy something, the approach is very much "do it and see what breaks". Oh sure, they'll have had meetings and they'll have defined what the end result needs to be, but nobody will have listed everything that can break and what needs to be done beforehand to avoid the issue.

    Just recently I was at a site that had just deployed a new domain for a company that had been acquired. I was called in to help re-stitch the relevant links in their applications. It was a process of check, control, correct. Meaning that I had to go through all the apps I knew of in their existing domain, and check that the configurations and code were properly modified to include the new domain and function with it.

    I was not given a checklist, nor was I aware that they knew what needed to be fixed. Thankfully, I knew what apps I was in charge of there, and I also knew a bit about a few others, so things were under control rather quickly.

    I can't say that things were very well planned, though.

    1. KroSha

      Re: "There's a lot of drama around deployments because they aren't fully tested."

      PHB : "It needs to be deployed tonight. The COO wants it done."

      Me : "Are you sure? It will probably work, but we haven't tested it yet and I'm on holiday for a week from tomorrow."

      A week later....

      PHB : "Where were you?!? I tried to get you for days! It didn't work!"

      Me : "Show me."

      <Demo>

      <clickety>

      Me : "Fixed."

      Something similar happens every quarter or so.

  2. Alistair Silver badge
    Windows

    Automation and enterprise.

    This is one of my major rants having been in enterprise IT as long as I have been.

    Sadly the tools I was given to automate and manage the linux environment where I work (and am no longer the platform admin for linux) have been ripped out and ....... disposed of. Now, they're looking for some way to restore the control and management that were in place. No longer do they have a complete list of assets. No longer do they know what versions of what are installed across the environment. Does not help that there has been a change in outsourced IT support. Hell I had a tool that let the security team do the 'walk to the door' bits that needed to be done. (which got invoked at 2 am a few times). And I know too many things that I should not know about that sort of thing....

    Puppet/Cfengine/Ansible/Chef/etc are tools that we should be making sure that even folks in S/MB's understand and demand to have in place in order to create sane work spaces for IT admins. I don't think it wise to depend on Hardware vendor dependent tools for these things since they very very very rarely play well with other hardware vendor hardware.

    1. HmmmYes

      Re: Automation and enterprise.

      Making sure all binaries and libraries have an accessible version string would help.

  3. Pirate Dave
    Pirate

    "People may be afraid that automation will take away their jobs," said Alanna Brown, director of product marketing at Puppet, in a phone interview with The Register, "but automation has made devops practitioners more valuable to their organizations."

    What about those of us who haven't drank the devops KoolAid? I guess we're less valuable now that the slick DevOps guys are in there, talking up the boardroom, showing all the gee-whizzy stuff that didn't even exist when we started 20+ years ago. We might as well be RPG programmers...

  4. Captain Obvious
    Joke

    Watch out for your

    Puppet Masters :)

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "People may be afraid that automation rebranding will take away their jobs," said Alanna Brown, director of product marketing at Puppet, in a phone interview with The Register, "but automation rebranding has made a configuration management tool like Puppet look like a devops tool practitioners more valuable to their organizations."

    Wikipedia. Puppet page. [CTRL]+[F] devops. Zero hits.

  6. Fan of Mr. Obvious

    Meh

    Shops with well documented dependencies, along with well documented applications do exist, but even then you get the admin that failed to check the dependencies or failed to do something other than make sure the server was up (failed to follow the checklist), or you get the developer that has too much authority in the repository scanning tool and decides that he knows better than the policy. Point is, IT are creative folk and will always find a way, however inconvenient, to turn a deployment into a week of Mondays ever now and again.

    Even if the code, continuous integration testing, and deploy are clean, you will still get the business unit that says someone pooped on their doorstep because the requirements did not take their needs into consideration. I think you either need to automate this last one, or get rid of the human element completely, for this stuff to ever reach the utopia that is claimed. In other words, regardless of the approach disappointment will always follow.

    1. Sampler

      Re: Meh

      With that sense of optimism have you thought of a career in IT?

      1. Pirate Dave
        Pirate

        Re: Meh

        "With that sense of optimism have you thought of a career in IT?"

        If he can keep that inner flame alive, he might make it to full BOFH one day...

  7. FozzyBear Silver badge
    Go

    Snake Oil. Pure and simple

  8. lesession

    How The Register works

    Press release arrives from Puppet

    Press release is roughly hashed into an 'article' about how wonderful DevOps is

    Repeat

  9. Jim 59

    On the subject of making IT boring, this article reads like a Puppet in-house magazine. Did The Register ask any questions in the "phone interview" ? Or just transcribe a statement from the Puppet marketing director ? Come on, man.

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