FLOSS UK DevOps Conference, Day 1 (25th March)

Clifford's Tower, York.

Clifford’s Tower, York.

I recently travelled to York to attend the yearly Spring DevOps conference run by FLOSS UK. Here’s a quick overview of the talks I attended on the first day.

Jon Leach “Docker: Please contain your excitement”

Jon gave us a crash course introduction into Linux namespaces and an overview of the various types of namespace. He then went into Linux cgroups and how the combination of cgroups and namespaces enable lightweight containerisation in Linux. We got a quick introduction into LXC as an example of an early containerisation scheme before moving onto Docker. He then took us through the tools that Docker provide to enable building and sharing of container images and how to create reproducible container builds using dockerfiles.

David Profitt “Enhancing SSH for Security and Utility”

David told us about the various configuration files available to users of OpenSSH that configure behaviour of both client and server sides. He went through useful options for the client-side “.ssh/config” file and provided useful information on generating and distributing user-generated SSH keys as well as an overview of the options that can restrict what SSH keys can do from the server side.

In the server config he gave us an overview of useful options for locking down configurations and how to target specific configuration options using the “Match” keyword. Finally, there was additional information on how to provide a more secure “chrootable” SFTP environment by changing the default sftp-server process in the server configuration.

Julien Pivotto “Shipping your product with Puppet code”

Julien took us through the problems that you can encounter shipping software code in this age of virtualisation, containers and cloud infrastructure. Challenges such as distribution, hardware and software dependencies, upgrades and ongoing maintenance all need to be addressed. By using a configuration management tool such as Puppet you can design a single distribution package that is flexible enough to adapt to any environment and provide a mechanism to support and maintain the software after installation. He then went through some recommendations on how the Puppet modules should be designed to support this function.

Nick Moriarty “Puppet as a legacy system”

Nick talked us through York University’s current project to migrate their Puppet 2.7-based infrastructure to Puppet 3. He talked through the challenges of maintaining their existing Puppet repository (~130 modules) for an infrastructure that included a range of Linux distributions and versions.

They also decided that they wanted to move to a more “common” Puppet infrastructure setup using tools such as Git for the module repository management and Apache+Passenger for the Puppet master. By moving to a more standard platform they increase the amount of community support and resources available to them.

Pieter Baele “Linux centralized identity and authentication interoperability with AD”

Pieter took us through the history of Unix directory services in his organisation and the process they went through for selecting a new directory service that could interoperate with their Active Directory. After evaluating several options they went with OpenDJ as it provided several advantages including easy configuration, native replication and a RESTful interface for making changes. He then took us through recommendations for a basic directory layout (as flat as possible!) and how to configure clients to use the new directory.

Lightning Talks

A typically frantic session covering everything from research into animal behaviour(!), provisioning web hosting platforms on the fly with Jenkins & Ansible to bash shortcuts you never knew you needed.

Day 2 write-up is here.

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