The Journal Of A Linux Sysadmin

MySQLConf 2011 Best of Ignite

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As my friends know I’m a big fan of Ingite) presentations, and the ones from MySQLConf 2011 last week were just outstanding. If you didn’t had the chance to see them live, here are the links to the best of them.

This was by far my favorite: “Scale Fail” by Josh Berkus; extremely funny on how to build sites that don’t scale. Highly recommended:

The other two were great ignite talks also, and definitely worth the time checking out: “Causes of Downtime in MySQL” by Baron Schwartz and “The Art of Data Visualization” by David Holoboff.

DrupalCon Chicago 2011

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This week is a special week for the Drupal community and I’m very excited to be able to attend DrupalCon 2011 in Chicago. My employer, Promet Solutions, is one of the gold sponsors for DrupalCon and we will have many cool activities for this week prepared for this event. Last year DrupalCon 2010 San Francisco was a great event and I’m sure this one will be even better. So if you are in Chicago and coming to DrupalCon, please come by and say hi; I would love to meet you and talk about cool Drupal projects. I will also try to setup a BOF on automating Drupal installations and configurations with opscode chef, and this will be based on my chef drupal cookbook.

Xen Error: Stdin: Is Not a Tty

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After installing a clean Debian Lenny Xen system using xen-tools, I received this strange error when trying to connect using ssh to the machine:

PTY allocation request failed on channel 0
stdin: is not a tty

It looks like for some reason, xen-tools didn’t install the udev package. So in order to fix this issue, I had to connect (using the virtual console) to the xen machine:

xen console 1

and install udev:

apt-get install udev

strange enough the /dev/pts mount entry was present in /etc/fstab so all I had to do was to remount it with:

mount -a

(if you don’t have this entry make sure to add it in /etc/fstab:

devpts          /dev/pts        devpts  rw,noexec,nosuid,gid=5,mode=620 0  0

and if the folder /dev/pts doesn’t exist create it first and after that mount -a).

This should fix the ssh problem and you should now be able to ssh into the xen machine. Next to see if this is fixed in xen-tools in Squeeze, and if not to file a bug for it.

HowTo Upgrade From Debian Lenny to Squeeze

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This post will show how to upgrade from Debian 5.0.x “Lenny” to the latest stable Debian release 6.0 “Squeeze”. One of the reasons I’ve liked Debian in the first place was the advantage of being able to do a live, in place updates from one major release to another, usually in a safe way. As always, if you do this, please take some time to backup your system if you care of your data, as this is a major upgrade and things can go wrong. Squeeze brings in a few big changes and I will outline some of them, but I would recommend to read the release notes and look for any incompatibilities (hardware or software) or changed things that could affect your particular setup.

1. Update apt sources.list

The first thing we will do (after the backup of course) is to edit the /etc/apt/sources.list file and replace “lenny” with “squeeze“. Originally, this might look like this (for a system using the main US mirrors; your file might use a different local one):

deb lenny main contrib non-free
deb-src lenny main contrib non-free
deb etch/updates lenny contrib non-free

after replacing lenny with squeeze the file will look like this:

deb squeeze main contrib non-free
deb-src squeeze main contrib non-free
deb squeeze/updates main contrib non-free

I’ll Be at LISA10 This Week

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This week I’ll be attending LISA10 in San Jose. I’ve always wanted to go to LISA, and the fact that it was so close to our location here in San Jose made it much easier. This is going to be a full week, but hopefully fun and interesting. I’ll be part of the USENIX blogging team, meaning I’ll have to be extra focused in order to be able to take good notes and prepare at least one blog post per day. These articles will be posted on the USENIX blog, where you can find articles from other colleges in our team (Matt, Ben and Matthew), and I highly recommend to check it out for updates regularly. I will link in this post all the articles I have written during this week in case you want to follow this up.

If you are in the area and want to meetup ping me on twitter or email.

Real-World Configuration Management Workshop: Sunday I’ve attended all day the CM workshop; this was an interesting workshop, where different people shared their experiences and pains in configuration management.

Time Management for System Administrators: Monday I attended  Tom Limoncelli’s tutorial on time management for system administrators. Very educational and inspiring. I will definitely revisit his book as its been a while since I’ve read it. As takeaways, I have at least 2-3 ideas that I’m really looking forward to implement and see how I can use them to improve my productivity.

OpsCamp: Tuesday I went to OpsCamp Silicon Valley - San Jose co-located with LISA10, and even if it was sponsored by LISA this was a standalone event. It was definitely a smaller event than expected (because of this we had only one round of sessions with everyone in the same room), but it was definitely interesting and I’ve met some very smart people with a lot of experience in operations and building high performance infrastructures.

Postfix: Past, Present, and Future: Wednesday started with the opening remarks by the program chair Rudi van Drunen, followed by the opening keynote by Tony Cass from CERN. Amazing stuff; if you have the chance to see the video do that ;). Afterwards, in the afternoon I went to the invited talks by Dinah McNutt, Google: “The 10 Commandments of Release Engineering” and Wietse Venema on “Postfix: Past, Present, and Future”. It was amazing to be able to meet in person and chat with the author of postfix, a program that I’ve been using for many years.

Surge 2010 Impressions

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Last week I was in Baltimore for the inaugural edition of Surge, a conference organized by OmniTI. Ever since I signed up for Surge2010, I sow this as a conference of Velocity quality, only without the frontend track and focusing mostly on backend topics (what I was interested anyway), and in a much more distant location than Santa Clara ;) . This sounded interesting enough to make me want to go, as the first conference I will go in 2010 outside Silicon Valley. Also I could not pass the opportunity to hang out with my friend Andy and sync’up with what we’ve been up to during all this time.

Interview With LISA’10 Program Chair Rudi Van Drunen

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Being part of the LISA’10 Blog Team, I was lucky to be able to interview Rudi van Drunen, this year program chair. This was a great discussion where I got an idea on what goes behind the scenes when putting on such a big event as LISA’10. The article with the full interview is available on the USENIX Blog: “What can we expect from LISA’10?”

Also, my colleges from the LISA’10 blogging team, have done some very interesting interviews with Anne Dickison about marketing LISA’10 (by Ben Cotton) and Alan Clegg about his DNSSEC tutorial (by Matt Simmons).

Chef Intro @ SF Bay Area LSPE Meetup

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Here are the slides from my presentation about Chef at the SF Bay Area Large-Scale Production Engineering meetup group. Accordingly to the organizers from Yahoo, there were 90 people present. If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area and passionate about infrastructure you should definitely join this group. Highly recommended!

Chef Intro @ SF Bay Area LSPE meetup

Debian News: Lenny 5.0.6, Backports, Stats.

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Updated Debian GNU/Linux: 5.0.6 release

This week the Debian project released the 6th update to its stable release Lenny, 5.0.6. All recent security updates have been added, as well as some other fixes. The linux-2.6 package was also updated for increased hardware support.

Backports service is now official

I was very happy to hear that the debian backports project is now an official debian project. I always used (and liked) the repository to easily bring in updated software to the stable release. Now, after it become an official project and not just a fun project of three developers will hopefully be even better and have more software added into backports much faster. Don’t forget to change your apt sources config to point to (old mirror will still work for a while).

deb lenny-backports main contrib non-free

Debian growth over time

Also on some unrelated news Romain Francoise published some interesting stats on the growth of the Debian archive over time:

  • woody (2002): 8273 packages
  • sarge (2005): 15195 packages (+83.7%)
  • etch (2007): 18043 packages (+18.7%)
  • lenny (2009): 22277 packages (+23.5%)
  • squeeze (2010?): 28870 packages (+29.6%)

Wow… now that is really impressive.

MongoDB Is Web Scale

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NoSQL fun… 5 minutes Q&A session covering NoSQL and relational databases; very funny. Check it out: