Thomas Martin I/O

Programming, Sysadmin, Open Source

Configuration Management Camp '14


Right after FOSDEM, I moved to cfgmgmtcamp, hosted in the nice medieval city of Gent, Flanders. The arrival in town was difficult due to the language spoken in this region of Belgium. Nothing is indicated in French, and rarely in English !

It was probably one of the first large gathering of people interested by the configuration management topic. And on top of that, the organizers have succeeded to bring the authors of the three (yet) most famous configuration management software : Mark Burgess (CFEngine), Luke Kanies (Puppet) and Adam Jacob (Chef). Their talks were mostly non-technical and quite inspiring.

Then after lunch break, we attended the presentation of David Boucha about the fourth configuration management software, promised to a big future : Salt (yes, now my prefered one, although I don't have deployed it as largely as CFEngine !).

Finally, the last speaker I listened to in the large conference room of Hogent was Pieter Lexis, talking about system administrator concerns. It was question-oriented towards the public. Do you manage everything using configuration management (including databases stuff) ? Do you really monitor all of your services ? Do you gather all your logs in a central location ? (on this last point, I discovered the existence of very interesting software in addition to logstash : fluentd, flume, splunk, kibana).

Until the end of the event, I attended exclusively the Salt workshop. Although I already knew most of the basics, we had a interesting demonstration of Salt Cloud, and unfortunately I missed one of Reactor, a Salt component I plan to implement shortly to manage Git deployments. We also received some advices about writing Salt states, like "please, do not overcomplicate your Jinja templates". Finally, participants of the workshop had the opportunity to pass the Salt certification, but unfortunately I needed to leave before. However, I have a good hope to be able to pass it remotely soon.

To conclude, thanks to the organizers for this great initiative, I'd be happy to come back to Gent next year (or elsewhere) !