Technical Blog

Technical and Product News and Insights from Rackspace

Announcing the launch of OpenStack Train v20

Rackspace is launching OpenStack® Train v20, which is the latest open-source software release as part the OpenStack Ansible project.

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Orchestrate a GCP Cloud SQL instance

This blog post discusses how you can automate the creation of a Google® Cloud Platform (GCP) Cloud SQL instance by using Ansible® and Jenkins®. The blog also includes an example of spinning up a MySQL® Cloud SQL instance, version 5.7, with an Ansible playbook.

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Molecule for existing Ansible roles

Ansible development is fast, and anyone using Ansible extensively has most likely come across an instance where a playbook that used to work does not work on a later Ansible version. Or, a system that wasn’t supported initially is now added and an existing role requires modification to make it work on the new system. See Molecule for Ansible role creation for more details on using and debugging Molecule. Creating a Molecule scenario to test an existing role allows for easy testing and modification of that role with all the benefits that Molecule provides.

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Molecule for Ansible role creation

In our Quality Engineering organization, we create, configure, and destroy a lot of servers via automation. Ansible is a great method for handling the configuration of servers, but the creation of Ansible roles and playbooks can be trial and error for even experienced Operations Engineers. Molecule provides a way to speed up the development and confidence of Ansible roles and playbooks by wrapping a virtualization driver with tools for testing and linting.

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Life Without DevStack: OpenStack Development With OSA

If you are an OpenStack contributor, you likely rely on DevStack for most of your work. DevStack is, and has been for a long time, the de-facto platform that contributors use for development, testing, and reviews. In this article, I want to introduce you to a project I’m a contributor to, called openstack-ansible. For the last few months, I have been using this project as an alternative to DevStack for OpenStack upstream development, and the experience has been very positive.

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Operating your OpenStack Cloud using Ansible

So you have spent months convincing your leadership to go with OpenStack. Finally the keys of the cloud are turned over to you as the Cloud Operator, and you then look over at your co-workers and say “now what”. The next set of phrases normally are something like: Now how do we best administer this cloud? Cloud is suppose to be easier, right?

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OpenStack OSAD and Nagios, against the world

Through the course of technology, infrastructure and application monitoring have changed positions. Not so long ago, monitoring was an afterthought when rolling out your new application or standing up your new rack of servers. More recently, I have observed monitoring to be one of the first considerations, to the point where it is actually in the initial project plan.

This evolution, while late in my mind, is the right direction…not just for the System Admin who gets the 2AM email alert or the application owner who on a monthly basis sadly report to his leadership 97% SLA on his app. Truly knowing how your application is affecting your infrastructure is one of the keys to a successful cloud.

With monitoring now being in an elevated position, that then leaves you to think: what should I use for monitoring? While there are plenty of software solutions in the market, many of which solve for different problems.

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Ansible and Docker

At first glance, Ansible and Docker seem to be redundant. Both offer solutions to the configuration management problem through very different means, enabling you to reliably and repeatably manage complicated software deployments. While you certainly can use either on its own with great success, using both together can result in a fast, clean deployment process.

There are two ways that you can combine them, both useful for different reasons. You can use Ansible to orchestrate the deployment and configuration of your Docker containers on the host, or you can use Ansible to construct your Docker container images based on Ansible playbooks as a more powerful alternative to Dockerfiles.

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Move fast and don’t break things! Testing with Jenkins, Ansible and Docker

One of our highest priorities at is to never break production. Our users depend on it to manage and monitor their servers and we depend on them. At the same time, we need to move fast with development and deliver updates as soon as possible. We want to be able to easily deploy several times per day.

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Rolling deployments with Ansible and Cloud Load Balancers

Recently a fellow Racker wrote a great post about zero downtime deployments. I strongly believe in the principals he described. In his example, he used Node.js to build a deployment script to accomplish the goal, and I want to explore how this could be done with Ansible and the Rackspace Cloud.

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